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Herdsmen/farmers crisis: Centre writes US, Britain over missing N100bn ranch fund

Herdsmen/farmers crisis: Centre writes US, Britain over missing N100bn ranch fund

- A civil society organisation has called for an immemdiate probe of N100 billion allegedly missing from the cofers of the Nigerian governmnet

- According to the organisation, N100 billion meant for the establishment of ranching was misappropriated by the past administration

- In a recent letter, the organisation asked the US and Britain to help in identifying those individuals that have stashed ill-gotten wealth outside the shores of the country

A group has called for the probe of an alleged missing N100 billion slated for the establishment of ranches for herdsmen across Nigeria. The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has petitioned the United States Embassy and the British High Commission over the continued crisis between herdsmen and farmers across Nigeria.

In a petition written to the countries, the group said the alleged missing fund has led to the killing of many Nigerians and valuables worth millions of naira.

The CESJET said the needless killings of innocent Nigerians as a result of clashes between herders and farmers could have been averted if the N100 billion allegedly approved by the immediate past government was never siphoned by some selfish individuals.

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The executive secretary of the group, Isaac Ikpa, in the letter called on the international bodies to assist the government of Nigeria in identifying those individuals that have stashed ill-gotten wealth outside the shores of the country.

He also appealed appealed to the international community to assist the government of Nigeria in extraditing unpatriotic Nigerians that have caused untold human and economic losses through their actions and inaction.

The petition read: "We are by this letter seeking the urgent intervention of the United Nations, the Ambassador of the United States of America, and the British High Commissioner in the frequent herdsmen and farmers conflict that has engulfed some parts of country in recent times.

"The increasing clashes between farmers and pastoralists have recently become worrisome, especially in wetland areas of the Middle Belt, and North Central Nigeria. The ongoing conflict is costing Nigeria at least $16 billion in potential revenues annually.

"Farmers have accused the Fulani herdsmen of failing to control their cattle and of damaging crops. In turn, the Fulani accuse farmers of stealing their cattle. With an estimated death toll of approximately 2,000 to 3000 between 2016 to date, the clashes are becoming as potentially dangerous as the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast.

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According to the group, he present conflict is an economic and environmental problem. It said some politicians and unpatriotic Nigerians have turned it to a political game of chess with the sole aim of scoring political gains at the detriment of peace and economic stability in the country.

CESJET added that politicians, especially those belonging to the opposition have turned the herdsmen/farmers conflict into an easy to ‘sell’ and ‘buy’ commodity for their campaigns as the 2019 general elections approaches.

"Sometime in 2014, a massive amount of money was released for the construction of mini ranches across the country as a preventive step towards curbing the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country. But this monies were embezzled by those saddled with the positions of authorities as no single ranch was ever constructed anywhere and this has made the conflict to fester thereby resulting in both human and economic losses.

"It is succinct to state that, the previous administration created the monster that the country is experiencing now, as available reports indicates so.

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"Those saddled with political positions of authority in the last administration of former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, were reckless in the abuse of office, mismanagement of public funds meant for critical government projects and general mismanagement of the affairs of the country, thereby leaving the country divided along ethnic and religious lines.

"Of particular mention is the case of N100 billion that was approved and released for the construction of mini ranches. Till date, not a single ranch was constructed and all of the monies spirited away and stashed in foreign bank accounts at the detriment of the peace and stability in Nigeria.

"Political detractors of the current administration have hijacked the conflict and sponsored attacks to discredit the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari because the opposition in any democracy intends to weaken the incumbent as much as possible and the opposition members in Nigeria has identified security as one of the strong points of this present administration," the group added.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that that the presidency had urged all those against ranching and colony programmes for herdsmen across Nigeria to have a rethink.

The special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, said Nigerians are better off living with the ranches and colonies than the consistent conflicts among herdsmen and farmers.

Adesina also decried connotations in many quarters that the ongoing crisis between farmers and herders is religious.

Nigerian herdsmen vs Nigerian farmers - on Legit.ng TV

Source: Legit.ng

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