Minister of defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has identified the blockage of existing cattle routes, enactment of anti-open razing laws by some states, as well as proliferation by armed militias for the frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.
He also urged Nigerians to learn to accommodate foreigners within their domain.
The minister made the assertion while speaking with newsmen after the closed door meeting held by the nation’s security chiefs with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dan-Ali said, “Yes we did. First I mentioned about this commission on proliferation of arms into the country. You see, whatever crisis that happens at any time, there are remote and immediate causes.
“Look at this issue (killings in Benue and Taraba), what is the remote causes of this crisis? Since the nation’s independence, we know there used to be a route whereby the cattle rearers would take because they are all over the nation. If those routes are blocked what do you expect will happen?
“These people are Nigerians. Is just like one going to block shoreline, does that make sense? These are the remote causes of the crisis. But the immediate cause is the grazing law.
“These people are Nigerians and we must learn to live together with each other. Communities and other people must learn how to accept foreigners within their enclave. Finish!”
The minister said when asked if he was justifying the killings because of the alleged blocking of grazing routes;
“You are going away from what I came here to do. However, this is internal security, I can provide some answers. I have told you that the remote cause is part of the grazing law. Since independence there are clear routes where these people pass.
“On the issue of arms, they are all over. In that killings you are talking about they are also militias that also did the killings. Some people were caught with arms and they call themselves Forest Guards or whatever with AK47.
“There is nowhere in this country where arms are allowed to be carried apart of legitimate security forces. Anybody carrying any arm is doing so illegally.
“Militias were caught in the same land doing the same killings, so the killings are not done by any particular group, is a communal issue.”