FG mishandling farmers-herders conflicts—ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the Federal Government is not handling the lingering farmers-pastoralists crisis properly.

ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who briefed newsmen in Abuja, said that the Federal Government had not lived up to it constitutional responsibility of protecting Nigerians.

He said that Nigeria’s rulers from all ethnic wings were making maximum political use of the crisis for which their class was responsible.

“The ruling class is busy calculating political gains to be made from the crisis. The Nigerian people – workers, farmers, students, the unemployed, all victims of the crisis, are now being fed with crude religious and ethnic interpretations of the conflict.

“ The Federal Government must take responsibility for failure to anticipate, manage and control the crisis.

“Government’s handling of the issue has fallen far short of protecting certain constitutional provisions on fundamental human rights.

“ In particular, the Government has failed in enforcing Section 17 (2b) of the Nigerian Constitution which states that: “the sanctity of the human person shall be recognised and human dignity shall be maintained and enhanced.

“The people of Nigeria should not be misled. As usual, the chieftains of religious and ethnic sectarianism – the ruling class weapons for pursuing their sectarian interests, have been busy trying to cover, blur, disguise and deceive people of Nigeria about the real, socio-economic sources of the conflict.’’

The ASUU president said that the ruling class had been selling to the Nigerian people divisive, parochial, religious and false ethnic explanations.

He said that ASUU condemned unreservedly and unequivocally the unjustified and unjustifiable loss of lives and property arising from the unwarranted conflicts.

While consoling with the families and victims of the conflicts, Ogunyemi said that the Federal Government must deal, in accordance with the law, with all those who are established to have sponsored or committed such heinous crimes against fellow citizens.

He said that the rehabilitation of the affected communities must be a matter of priority for the Federal Government.

On restructuring, he said that that preoccupation of Nigeria’s ruling class on restructuring was not about how the downtrodden, exploited and suffering people of Nigeria will free themselves from economic and political domination.

“As Nigeria’s ruling class treats it, the issue of restructuring is essentially about the redistribution of power – economic and political, within the dominant factions of the class.

“It is not about how the impoverished, exploited classes could take significant control of their lives or move close to achieving political and economic well-being through the exercise of their political power.

“This is not surprising in Nigeria. Ruling class projects and internal problems, and competition for power and wealth acquisition and crisis within it, are usually presented by the ruling class itself, falsely, as national projects and problems.

“Competition for power and wealth within the ruling class is usually sold to the people as defense of the interests of ‘’the people’’ (ethnic compatriots) when, in fact, the real issue is the competition for accumulation of wealth and power.

“The people of Nigeria from all ethnic groups, in every state, usually watch in awe and shock as their ‘leaders’ acquire huge wealth and property while those they claim to lead suffer poverty, disease, misery and premature death,’’ he said.

According to him, time has come for Nigerians to take their fate into their own hands and find a new path for liberating the country.