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"If the president likes, he should buy one million Tucano Jets, banditry will not end"

 A former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Yusuf Usman, has said the deployment of a million of Tuc...

 A former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Yusuf Usman, has said the deployment of a million of Tucano jets or militarisation of the banditry cannot solve the crisis.

He said this on Thursday in Abuja at the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Sociocultural Association interactive policy dialogue and cultural festival aimed at addressing challenges confronting the Fulani ethnic stock in Nigeria.

Usman, who delivered the keynote address of the summit with the theme, ‘The future of Fulani Pastoralists in Nigeria’, lamented what he called the federal government’s militarisation.

Apparently referring to the 12 Tucano jets recently purchased by the federal government, Usman said banditry is a social issue that cannot be solved by a million of such jets.

“Banditry is a social problem and Nigeria is increasing militarising it. There is a role for the military but there is not going to be a military solution to banditry anywhere in this country.”

“Only if we all come in to solve this problem, and it is not time to blame anybody, we are all in this mess together and somebody told me we all bore this ‘pregnancy’ and gave birth to this monster called banditry. And the soldiers are called to clean up the mess. I told them, military, you cannot do this alone,” Usman said.

He also said that the menace is fueled by two ingredients of drugs supplied from Southern Nigeria and arms supplied from the core-North and neighbouring countries like Niger Republic.

He recalled his visits to the forests alongside Sheikh Gumi and others, saying clerics have a great role to play in resolving the issue.

“Turji (one of the bandit leaders) waited for us for two hours. He said he waited because he heard it was a cleric. So also, we were in Niger State; the meeting in Niger was a meeting of six war commanders from different northern states. They waited for us and you could see the respect they had for clerics.

“The clerics and traditional rulers are there to get to the heart of these kids not soldiers. We must sit down and realize where we have gone wrong.

“From Zamfara we went south down to Ilesha-Baruten, closer to the border with Benin Republic or Kogi State. The further down we went, the more we saw the beautiful Fulani we were used to with sticks. Up North, the sticks have been replaced with AK47 and AK49, you see kids living on AK47 and AK49,” he said.

His views were also echoed by notable Muslim cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, who expressed fears about the seeming infiltration of herdsmen by elements of the Boko Haram terrorists.

Gumi restated his earlier position that Nigeria has pushed the bandits to the wall and bemoaned the growing animosity towards the Fulani, saying while over 99 percent of them are good people, it is only an insignificant number of herdsmen who have taken to crimes.

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