Leaders from the Southern and Middle Belt parts of the country under the aegis of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum have demanded the sack of Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, according to The Independent.
The demand is coming over a statement credited to him that those opposed to ranching have the choice to choose between their lives and land.
Reacting in a statement jointly signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-West), Senator Bassey (South South ), Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South East) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo for the Middle Belt, the forum said Adesina’s statement is akin to the Presidency passing a death sentence to those opposed to ranching.
While condemning the statement, the group said Adesina’s statements in the last couple of days especially comparing the figures of those killed under the Buhari Presidency to those killed under PDP clearly shows that the killings by herdsmen are state-sponsored terrorism.
“The attention of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has been drawn to the scandalous, reckless, insensitive and vexatious statement credited to Mr. Femi Adesina, SA Media to the President that all communities opposed to Federal Cattle Territories (FCT) misnamed ranches should choose between their lands and their lives.
“Ancestral attachment? You can only have ancestral attachment when you are alive. If you are talking about ancestral attachment, If you are dead, how does the attachment matter?” said Adesina.
“We take this ludicrous declaration as a death sentence on all those who oppose the imperialist agenda of the Federal Government to grab lands from communities in Nigeria and hand over to herdsmen for their private business,” Southern leaders said.
They added, “Adesina is close to the heart of presidency to know why it has treated killer Fulani herdsmen with kid gloves in the last three years and the arrogance with which he spoke showed they now assume their foot soldiers have terrorised us into submission.
“This death threat is coming after the President told the Governor of Benue in January to learn how to live with murderers; the IGP saying killers are Nigerians’ the Defence Minister claiming that blockage of cattle routes is the reason why herdsmen are killing and the same Adesina telling us the killings done under Buhari in three years have not equaled the number of deaths that occurred under PDP.
“This goes to confirm our earlier charge that the role of the President of Nigeria and the duty the President owes to the terror herdsmen is greater allegiance to the “cowtry” above the country.
“If Mr. Adesina keeps his job in the next 24 hours, all doubt would be removed over the statement Gen T.Y. Danjuma made that there is a working relationship between the killers and the security forces.
“There would be no reason to look for the killer herdsmen again. Nigerians would have to proceed to the International Criminal Court with the charge that what we are facing is state sponsored terrorism.”