Chief Olu Falae, secretary to the military government of Ibrahim Babangida, has blamed the states in the north for the crisis caused by herdsmen in Nigeria.
The 79-year-old National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), explained that state governments in the region abandoned the policy introduced by former leaders to take care of herders.
He spoke in an interview on Channels Television’s Roadmap 2019, a political programme that would be aired on Monday.
“The problem of the herdsmen has been exacerbated by the failure of many of the state governments in the North to take care of the needs of the herdsmen.’’
According to him, the needs of the herdsmen were thoroughly met during the days of late Sir Ahmadu Bello – the then premier of the Northern region and Sardauna of Sokoto.
The former minister of finance recalled that during the period, there were grazing reserves while all kinds of facilities were provided for the herdsmen and their cattle.
He highlighted some of the factors responsible for the crisis to include the reduction in size of the Lake Chad.
Falae, a victim of the crisis, was kidnapped for days by by herdsmen in September 2015 in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The police had confirmed that the abductors demanded a N100 million as ransom before they would release the elder statesman.
The former SGF suffered another loss in January 2018 when his farm was razed in the South-western state.
While the police have yet to identify the perpetrators of the attack, Falae blamed the incident on malice and hatred by some individuals.
In further reaction to the herdsmen crisis, he repeatedly called on the Federal Government to take proactive steps in addressing the matter.
The elder statesman asked the government to tackle the depletion of the Lake Chad, erosion, as well as the Boko Haram insurgency among other challenges.
“Over one million people are herdsmen who earn their livelihood from the lake can no longer do so.
“Added to that, are those uprooted by Boko Haram and then, desertification has been continuously eroding the arable land in Nigeria.
“When you put all these factors together, you find a tremendous pressure on herdsmen and their cattle and the response should have come from the state governments and the Federal Government to take care of their needs because they are Nigerians who are entitled to their livelihood,” Falae added.
Falae was Secretary to Government of the Federation from January 1986 to December 1990.
He was briefly the Finance Minister in 1990 and he ran for president in Nigeria’s Third and Fourth republics.