Prof. Yusuf Usman, a former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), stated that deploying a million Tucano jets or militarising banditry cannot resolve the situation.
This was stated on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria, during the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Sociocultural Association’s interactive policy discourse and cultural festival, which aimed to address the difficulties facing the Fulani ethnic group in Nigeria.
Usman, who delivered the keynote lecture at the summit titled “The Future of Fulani Pastoralists in Nigeria,” criticised what he termed the militarization of the federal government.
Usman, apparently referring to the 12 Tucano jets recently acquired by the federal government, stated that banditry is a social problem that a million of these jets cannot cure.
“Banditry is a social issue, and Nigeria is militarising it more and more. There is a role for the military, but there will be no military solution to banditry in the United States.”
“Only if we all work together can we solve this problem, and now is not the time to point fingers; we are all in this mess together, and someone told me that we all carried this “pregnancy” and gave birth to the monster known as banditry. The soldiers are then tasked with cleaning up the mess. I warned them, “You cannot accomplish this on your own,” Usman remarked.
He further stated that the danger is fueled by the supply of narcotics from southern Nigeria and weaponry from the core-North and neighbouring nations such as Niger Republic.
He recounted his forest excursions with Sheikh Gumi and others, stating that clerics have a crucial part in resolving the situation.
“One of the bandit leaders, Turji, waited two hours for us. He stated that he waited because he heard it was a minister. Also, we were in the state of Niger, which hosted a summit of six war leaders from various northern states. They waited for us, and their reverence for clergy was evident.
“Clerics and traditional rulers, not troops, are there to reach the hearts of these children. We must take a moment to reflect on our errors.
“From Zamfara, we travelled south to Ilesha-Baruten, which is closer to the border with Benin or Kogi States. The further we travelled, the more lovely Fulani with sticks we encountered. “Up North, the sticks have been replaced with AK47s and AK49s, and you can see children living on these weapons,” he claimed.
Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, a prominent Muslim cleric, echoed his sentiments, expressing concern about the apparent infiltration of herdsmen by Boko Haram terrorists.
Gumi reiterated his prior stance that Nigeria has driven the bandits to the wall and decried the growing enmity towards the Fulani, stating that while over 99 percent of Fulani are wonderful people, only a small fraction of herdsmen have turned to criminal activity.