President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said the crisis on the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba State had claimed more lives than that of the herdsmen killings in Benue and Zamfara states.
The President stated this during a stakeholders’ meeting with representatives of ethnic groups and the Taraba State Government at the Taraba Government House in Jalingo.
Buhari arrived at the Danbaba Suntai Airport about 3.38pm accompanied by the Ministers of Women Affairs, Defence, Information and Culture, some members of the National Assembly from the state and Service Chiefs. He was received by the state Governor, Darius Ishaku.
He said he was in the state to condole with the people and government of Taraba State over the killings in the state, and called on the people to tolerate one another.
In the meeting, which lasted for almost two hours, Buhari called on the traditional rulers to find ways of resolving the crisis in the state.
“Governor Darius Ishaku and I are here temporarily. We will go at the end of our tenure, but you are permanent with the people at the grass roots.
“So, I charge you to go back and find ways of resolving the crises in your domains. Go and give your people justice for peace to reign.
“When I was campaigning, I came here and promised to provide security, boost the economy and fight corruption.
“Today, even our worst enemy can attest to the fact that the APC-led Federal Government has done well in the area of security. We have decimated Boko Haram, while the fight against corruption is going on well.
“I can only appeal to the conscience of the people for them to embrace peace and live with one another in harmony so that there could be development and not destruction.
“As a President, I have sources of getting intelligence on happening across the country and so I should not be expected to always go out to the field to make noise and insult the sensibility of Nigerians before it would be known that I am taking actions against the killings.
“There were more killings in Mambilla than Benue and Zamfara states. I chose to visit Taraba first, but I will be going to Benue and Zamfara after I return from Ghana to also condole with the people,” he said.
While urging Nigerians to live in peace with one another, the President called for the arrest and prosecution of any herdsman caught with arms.
In his remarks, Ishaku thanked the President for the visit and for approving the construction of the 3,050 Mega Watt Mambilla Hydroelectric power project in the state.
The governor said the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law in the state was part of the solutions to ending herdsmen and farmers clashes, as well as cattle rustling.
“Mr. President, I want to thank you for coming to sympathise with us, but I want to appeal to you to deploy more security operatives, especially the police, in Taraba State to provide security for my people.
“When the crisis started in Nguroje on Thursday, there were only six policemen in the area and they could not do much. So, I appeal to you to deploy more security men here to solve some of our challenges,” he said.
Ambassador Emmanuel Njiwah, who spoke on behalf of the Mambilla people; Alhaji Mafindi Danburam, who spoke on behalf of Miyetti Allah; and Dr. Afraid Kobiba, who spoke on behalf of the people of Lau, called for justice as a solution to ending insecurity in the country.
The chairman, Taraba State Council of Chiefs and the Aku Uka of Wukari, Dr Shekarau Angyu Massa Ibbi, who spoke on behalf of the traditional rulers, advocated constitutional roles to enable them to help in dealing with the security situation in their domains.