The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has said the comments of President Muhammadu Buhari on the farmer-herder crisis is not important.
Mohammed made this known during a programme on Television Continental on Friday.
The minister noted that the steps the government is taking to resolve the conflicts are more crucial than President Buhari’s comments on the crises.
Mohammed advised all leaders and stakeholders not to fan the embers of disunity and reduce the tension in finding a solution to the farmer-herder crises.
He said: “I think we should lower the tension. Nigeria is a big country, diverse, we must continue to live together, recognising each other’s rights.
“We are not going to score any advantage by heating up the polity. I think the governors, traditional rulers, religious leaders are all doing their best that all issues are resolved.
“Comments are not of importance; it is the steps the government is taking, and I can assure you there are a lot of back-channel approaches being taken to ensure that all these crises are tamed.
“We are rising stoutly to the challenges of insecurity. This government is alive to its responsibility. We are not only rising but we are making a success of it.”
Reacting to the meeting between a prominent Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, and some bandits in Zamfara state, Mohammed said insurgents and bandits are interested in dialogue with the Islamic cleric than the government.
Naija News had reported the Gumi met with some bandits in Zamfara forests in a bid to stop the incessant attacks on residents and embrace peace.
The minister said bandits and insurgents are more willing to listen to religious leaders than the government because they believe in them.
Mohammed added that the government employs the services of religious leaders as mediators when resolving issues or crises. He noted that government employs back-channel approaches in resolving conflicts.
The minister stressed that religious leaders act as a bridge between the government and bandits, saying that there was nothing unusual about Gumi meeting with the bandits in Zamfara.
Mohammed said: “Like I explained that when we want to resolve issues like this we use a lot of back-channels.
“Again it is not unusual to use a respected cleric to have the confidence of outlaws or bandits. As a matter of fact, they are probably ready to listen to him more than they are ready to listen to the government.
“They are probably ready to believe in them, so it is not unusual for him to act as a bridge between government and outlaws to find solutions.”