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Terrorists masquerading as herdsmen - Jonathan

24 June 2014, 08:34

Kaduna - President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians to join hands with the Federal Government to address the challenge of terrorists masquerading as pastoralists to cause mayhem in the country.

Jonathan made the call in Kaduna on Monday while declaring open an international conference on: “Security and Development Challenges of Pastoralism in West and Central Africa.”

The President, represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said the insurgents were exploiting the conflict between pastoralists and farmers to perpetrate terror.

He said the intensity and dimension of the conflict over the last few years had reached an alarming proportion with attendant and unfortunate loss of lives and property.

“This conflict, unfortunately, has been predominant in Plateau, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba States. Some other states in Northern Nigeria are also exposed to such challenges.”

“Such challenges had also been reported in the southern part of the country.”

“The state of conflict continues to pose serious threat to the nation's security, stability and economic development, we are all aware of the threats posed to the nation by the activities of insurgents.”

According to him, terrorists are capitalising on the lingering pastoralists-farmers’ conflict to form a hybrid type of insurgency whereby they masquerade as pastoralists to wage war against the state.

The president expressed happiness that the objective of the terrorists had not been fully realised owing to the resilience of the pastoralists.

“Such a development, should it materialise, will be at a great cost to our country.”

Jonathan called on stakeholders, community and religious leaders and youth groups, to continue to promote the cause of peace rather than resort to conflict and violence, which served no useful purpose.

“It is, therefore, pertinent to state that issues affecting pastoralists, especially pertaining to the current clashes with farmers, is holistically being addressed.”

Jonathan said the Federal Government would continue to encourage the transformation of pastoralists into a more vibrant and better production system that would benefit pastoralists, farmers and the country in general.

He said this could not be achieved without the cooperation of all stakeholders.

-    NAN

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