Killer herdsmen: ‘Nigeria needs community policing now’
Community participation must be factored into any effort towards containing the frequent clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers. This was the submission of some Nigerians, who spoke to our correspondents, following ultimatum by some states in the South West to Fulani herders to vacate their forest reserve or face consequences. Excerpts:
DUNG-GWOM DUNG: Several advocacies have been made for government to find the best way to let communities participate in the security of the state, but to no avail. I think we should approach communities to identify their security potentials to make up a community policing team that would work with security agencies to ensure that criminals are flushed out of their communities.
The truth is that communities understand their environment better than security agents deployed to secure their places, and when they work together, they would achieve more successes. Those who are within the community and are known to compromise the security of the community for the benefit of the terrorists would be identified by the community and security agents can arrest them.
The killings in the country have to be dealt with consciously by government and its agencies to make sure that people continue to go about their daily activities without being harassed by criminals who think they can get away with crimes because of the security system that is yet to attain its full potentials.
ADUKE BOLANLE: Ogun state is strategically positioned in the South West as an emerging economic hub because of its proximity to Lagos. The need for sustainable security cannot be overemphasized, to make sure that the state meets its target of hosting several industries and business interests.
Government should collaborate with traditional rulers to know those who are in their communities, and identify those with questionable characters for questioning by the police or other security agents, as the case may be.
That would send a signal to would-be residents that they should not associate with criminals or people with questionable characters to avoid being invited by security personnel.
Frankly, the growing rate of insecurity in the country calls for concerted efforts by stakeholders to make sure that their communities and their children are not infiltrated by the dreaded Boko Haram sect, because it would make their case more difficult to resolve.
ODUMAKIN JOSIAH: The famers and herders' clash has caused a lot of disunity among Nigerians. Why is the government playing politics with everything? Yes, I agree that every Nigerian has the right to reside in any part of the country as guaranteed in our constitution, but the same constitution also defines the procedure of living outside your land. If for instance, you violated that law, it then means that appropriate sanctions will be meted to you.
It does not augur well for us as a heterogeneous society with diverse cultures, traditions and religious beliefs to play politics with our corporate existence. We all know how fragile our country is. So there is need for government to come out with a workable solution to the herders/farmers crisis. You cannot just come to my land in the name of pasturing your cattle and destroy my farm crops.
That is not acceptable. Even the ranching they talked about, it is not something government will just apply fire brigade approach to put in place. A lot of consultations need to be carried out. If government create ranches for cattle across the country, are they also provide free land for farmers who live in other part of Nigeria?
FABIAN OSUJI: For me, I do not think it is hard for government to solve the problem. The ultimatum that was given to Fulani herders in the Southwest is long overdue. Government does not show any seriousness to solve the problem.
Look at the recent killings in Edo State, where a whole community was razed down by Fulani herdsmen. Not just Edo alone, the killings continue unabated in other parts of the country.
When people raise alarms, the presidency would say the perpetrators of this dastardly act are not Nigerian Fulani. If they are not Nigerian Fulani what is the government doing to stop this illegal migrants? We are really in a big trouble. A Fulani man is not afraid of killing. They threaten farmers, and scared them away from their ancestral land. After the killings, no investigation will be carried out to bring the perpetrators to justice.
FADEKE OGUNTUASE: The crises in the south western region are a sad development. To contain it, government should involve community leaders. It is a known fact that communities know where and when to give out information about what is happening in their environment. Communities understand their challenges and can proffer solutions to the crises.
Security agencies should not be left out. Government should involve them more in the affected area to restore calm. Also, information given to the security personnel must be kept a secret. Such information garnered should be properly harnessed by government to curtail the raging crises.
More importantly, government should liaise with traditional and community leaders on the best approach to restore calm. These leaders are models most people look up to.
MIKE ASOGBA: Government should properly institute community policing where members of the community will be responsible for their security. With this in place, curtailing any crises that may arise would be easy.
An organised neighbourhood watch should be in place where members of a community would report any new or suspected individual in their community to appropriate quarter. Such watch would help curb crises that may arise in the area.
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