Presidency in mix-up over killer herdsmen, says Buhari orders arrest, trial of anyone in possession of illegal arms

February 10, 2021
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The Nigerian presidency appears to be in a mix-up over the rising intractable insecurity in the country at the instances of bandits, Fulani herdsmen and others. The insecurity crises have been prolonged to the current magnitude that no part of Nigeria is safe anymore, compelling some state governments and communities to organize for self-defence. The security agencies appeared to have been overwhelmed by the fireworks of the bandits, Fulani herdsmen and others.

Beside other stakeholders in the country, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State had berated President Muhammadu Buhari for his silence on the ravaging Fulani herdsman and bandits. The Benue governor had argued that the silence of the President on the armed herdsmen is reinforcing their violent attacks across the country.

Ortom protested that Buhari is not president of the Fulani nation but president of Nigeria.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had in a media interaction on Tuesday, clarified that President Buhari has not been silent on the killer Fulani herdsmen. He said that the

President’s directive on the killer Fulani herdsmen has been that anyone in possession of illegal arms should be arrested and prosecuted.

Adesina faulted Governor Ortom on his statement that the president had not spoken on the violence triggered by the Fulani herdsmen.

According to Adesina: “If the Governor would say he hasn’t heard the President speak on that matter, that’s what he should make clear; it’s not that the President hasn’t spoken.

“Because the number of times the President has spoken on that issue . . . and his position has always been the same: anybody, whoever he is, that carries arms unlawfully should be arrested and prosecuted. The President has said it countless times.”

Adesina, however, failed to mention the number of arrests that have been made by the government or cases of the killer herdsmen being prosecuted. Many Nigerians have been of the belief that the killer herdsmen are being shielded by the government. in certain instances, there are allegations that they get support from the security operatives. Adesina was not clear on this.  He simply said: “I don’t have that figure at my fingertips . . . but I know that a lot of people are awaiting trial.”

The mutual suspicions or distrust of the federal government in handling the killer Fulani herdsmen menace, compelled some state governments to establish ad hoc security structures to protect their territories within their respective states.

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