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Why Abdulsalami Abubakar’s security parley didn’t excite Southern, Middle Belt leaders

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Abdulsalami Abubakar

Former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar has remained visible since he left government in 1998, after midwifing the current democratic dispensation. When it seemed the 2015 general elections had the potential to threaten peace and security in the land, he stepped in, together with other eminent Nigerians, to pursue peace. And there was peace.

The last four years of the Buhari administration have been traumatic for Nigeria, as the peace brokered has been in tatters. The central government appears to be distracted and has been unable to deliver on its most important mandate – securing life and property of citizens. From herdsmen turned killers ravaging communities in the Middle Belt and all over the country, to bandits terrorising the Northwest, all leading to ethnic groups getting set to apply self-help, it was time Gen. Abubakar stepped in again. And he did, but his intervention was largely rebuffed.

Last week, Abubakar called a peace parley of ‘stakeholders’ in the Nigerian State to discuss pressing national issues, prime among which was security. Novel as the initiative was, it suffered a setback as some key stakeholders dissented and boycotted the gathering.

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Representatives of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), who had reportedly signified their intention to partake in the peace talks, were compelled to reject participation in a last-minute decision on discovering the inclusion of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) among those invited.

The leaders, and other stakeholder groups, expressed displeasure at the inclusion of MACBAN, which they considered a mere trade association for cattle herders and whose members have been accused of various violations of human rights, including the right to life, across the country.


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