The outgoing French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Denys Gauer, has said, contrary to the claims of President Muhammadu Buhari, that foreigners were not involved in the killings across the North in the struggle for land, identifying impunity and injustice as the factors driving the bloodshed in Plateau, Benue, Kaduna and other parts of the country.
Mr. Guaer stated this while addressing journalists in commemoration of the 2018 French National Day in Abuja on Saturday.
The diplomat, who disclosed he would be rounding off his tour of duty at the end of the month, said Nigerians deserved to enjoy effective security and better governance than the government was currently providing.
He called on the Federal Government to punish those behind the killings.
Gauer said, “The reason for the killings is demography; some people are fighting for land, so there must be direct policy to develop agriculture and animal husbandry. I think impunity is encouraging the killings and those responsible must be punished. I don’t believe foreigners are involved in the killings,” he said in response to a question about the claims by the Federal Government that Libyan mercenaries were responsible for the bloodshed.
“The second is justice. When there is that kind of killing, there must be proper prosecution and perpetrators must be properly sentenced. If that does not happen, then, it cannot end.”
According to the ambassador, the killings are repelling foreign investors and partners from the affected areas due to the security challenges there.
He added that he enjoyed Nigeria, saying that he had visited Sokoto, Kano, Enugu, Abeokuta, Osogbo, Lagos and other cities, but regretted that insecurity and bad roads remained a challenge.
Recall that on April 30th, President Buhari had again blamed fighters trained by late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi for the killings across Nigeria as he was received at the White House by US President, Donald Trump on Monday at the Oval Office.
Earlier in the same month, Mr. Buhari had told the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby that the arms Mr. Gaddafi provided to his supporters had filtered into Nigeria where they are now being used to fuel killings across the north-central.
He had said, “The problem is even older than us,” Mr. Buhari said of killings.
“It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region.
“These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram.
“Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons.”
The president dismissed claims that the attacks have tribal or religious undertone because they largely occurred at Christian-dominated and minority tribes areas, saying those propagating the assertion are doing so for political gains.