The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamiala, on Wednesday said federal lawmakers would come up with legislation to address the current unhealthy relationship between herdsmen and their host communities, especially in the South-West.
Gbajabiamila disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting he had with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Tension is currently rising in the South-West with Sunday Adeyemo popularly called Sunday Igboho asking Fulani herdsmen to leave the zone following cases of kidnapping allegedly traced to some of them.
In Ondo State, the state government recently asked herdsmen to vacate the state forest reserves within seven days.
When asked for his view on the building tension, Gbajabiamila said all those concerned needed to embrace dialogue.
He warned against any ethnic group lording it over others.
He said, “Everybody just has to come to the table and discuss and come to an amicable resolution which I am sure we will.
“I don’t think any ethnic group should lord it over any ethnic group. The South-West should not lord it over the North; the North should not lord it over the South.
“We should respect each other’s trade, geographical space, history, culture and more importantly the issue of crime, murder all those things should be completely jettisoned.
“But more importantly, we all have to sit at the table and discuss this matter and look for the way forward. I think everybody is willing to do that.
“From the National Assembly, solutions will come from talking. I believe that now that we are about to start work on Tuesday, I know these issues will come up and adequate and proper legislation that will address the issue frontally and in the best interest of the country, and all nations that make up the nation will be put in place.”
Gbajabiamila said his discussion with the President was on the state of the nation and that they had a fruitful discussion.
He said the recent change of service chiefs was a welcome development and that the National Assembly will provide enabling environment for them to deliver.
He said, “The appointment of new service chiefs is what everybody has been clamouring for – the House, Senate, the public -and the President took his time and he studied the situation very well and did it at the right time that he thought he should do it and we are in support of what he has done.
“The National Assembly will not in any way put hurdles before the service chiefs.
“We will provide a working environment suitable for them to be able to discharge their responsibilities very efficiently.”
On the ongoing registration membership registration and revalidation of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Gbajabiamilia urged all Nigerians who are of voting age to join the party so that they can pick leaders of their choice in 2023.
He said he has not seen any alternative to the APC in the country for now.
He added, “Show me an alternative with cogent reasons, then we can talk. For now, I have not seen any alternative.
“The APC has done a lot and I want us to be very objective. But unfortunately, in life that is just how it is, if you have done 100 things and one thing probably you met on ground is not quite right yet, it has the tendency of muddling the waters and discrediting the 100 good things you have done.
“That is the situation we have found ourselves but we will continue to educate the public on the things we have done.
“The APC never really enjoyed propagating itself, we thought our work will speak for us. But for me, I have since learnt that you need to propagate yourself. Because, often when I sit down with some of the biggest critics of the government and I say the party did this, this and this, they are in shock.”