Some killer herdsmen have stated that the President, Muhammadu Buhari cannot completely tackle the insecurity situation in the country except he seeks international intervention.
The bandits, who spoke with Daily Trust, lamented neglect by the government, stating that their inability to access quality education is responsible for their atrocities.
One of them, who seemed to be the leader of the group, said the bandits desire quality education, employment opportunities in government parastatals, and to enjoy the ‘wealth’ of the country.
He said the bandits have also been victims of insecurity in the past with no jobs nor families.
According to him, the bandits who have now taken up arms will constitute a menace as long as they have no other engagements.
He said, “This issue is beyond any governor; even the president himself, if he knows the true situation in the forest and the condition people find themselves, there’s no way he would have left this responsibility to the governors or any individual.
“The problem cannot be surmounted by a governor; even the president would have to seek help from other countries to tackle the problem. Just look around, these are people bearing arms and they have nothing to do. Many have lost their loved ones. The parents of some of them have been killed.”
He further added, “What we want is that our pastoralists should be employed just like the way their own children are employed. Our children should be enrolled in schools so that we can also become knowledgeable. In this country, there is oil, there are gold and many other natural resources but we don’t know how any of those things are being managed.”
He alleged that members of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad and officers of the Nigerian Army have taken their cattle from them, leaving them poorer.
“We know nothing other than spending time under trees. There is no difference between us and the animals we herd. We are also deprived of keeping cattle because of the lack of grazing areas. They’ve taken over the grazing areas; even the grazing routes are no longer there. Soldiers will take over our cattle, vigilantes will confiscate and gunmen would rustle. We have been rendered poor.
“What more cattle do we have now? Soldiers and SARS personnel have carted away all the cattle.”
When asked if any of them is qualified to take government jobs peradventure they are given one, he said, “This whole agitation is caused by lack of education. None of us here is educated. Only in isolated cases do you have someone who would go and settle in another place and go to school, they are very few.
“Anyone you see that has gone to school, it is possible it was because a minister or someone important is married to his sister and brought him close. The rest of us herders in the bushes are not educated but there is also adult education and other training for traders. The law says they should empower the citizens and protect them and their property, none of that happens. We are not being protected. We don’t have anything we depend on; it’s only us and the trees that are here and the gun we are wielding.”
Speaking on the survival tactics employed by the bandits in the forest, he said the bandits feed on the proceeds from selling the few cows they have left. He also alleged that they get money from some governors and lawmakers who pay off the bandits after they must have raided such person’s domain.
“The way we survive is, some of us with two or three cows, sell one and bring the money here which we share and buy some food items.
“Sometimes, some governors or lawmakers, if our people are disturbing their domain, they would send N100, 000 or N200, 000. That’s how it’s been,” he said.