CAN to FG: Act Decisively against Fulani Herdsmen to Stop Attacks

  • Buhari tells police to tighten security, IGP assures of end to carnage  
  • Catholic Bishops: President’s response to Benue killings inadequate  
  • Miyetti Allah: Slayings unfortunate and condemnable
 Byn Omololu Ogunmade, Senator Iroegbu, Paul Obi and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja   

The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, yesterday urged the federal government to act decisively on the menace of Fulani herdsmen before it turns into a civil war. 

Also yesterday, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) said the response of President Muhammadu Buhari to the massacre of scores of innocent people in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State by Fulani herdsmen on Monday was inadequate. 

On the same day, Buhari ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to tighten security across the country, just as the IGP pledged that the level of wanton destruction of lives and property in Benue State would no longer repeat itself. 

Ayokunle, in a statement by his media aide, Adebayo Oladeji, said the herdsmen had been moving from community to community killing innocent farmers with impunity.

He said: “They (herdsmen) have killed more people than the Boko Haram sect and almost displaced more people than Boko Haram. We are now at a breaking point in our patience and toleration of this impunity.

“While the government has taken the battle to Boko Haram, the Indigenous People of Biafra, the Badoo boys, the Niger Delta Avengers and other groups, the government has not shown any willingness to checkmate the murderous Fulani herdsmen. This to us is a betrayal of the confidence reposed in this government by Nigerians when they voted them into power.”

Ayokunle also wants to know why the intelligence units of all security apparatus in the country had not been able to discover the sources of supply of ammunition to the herdsmen.

He stated: “The Customs and the Immigration services together with the Police have a case to answer. Who are the suppliers of these weapons? If the murderous herdsmen are foreigners, as it is being claimed in some quarters, why did they allow dangerous foreigners into our country to come and kill us? Our government has a case to answer too.

“We are therefore tasking the government of the day; the Executive, the Senate, the House of Representatives and all security agencies to rise up to their responsibilities and we equally call on all stakeholders to come together for a solemn assembly that would address all these things and come out with lasting solution to these senseless attacks.”

In its own reaction, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) said the response of President Buhari to the Benue massacre was inadequate. 

Buhari had ordered security agents to apprehend the herdsmen responsible for the killings but the President of CBCN and Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, told THISDAY that the failure of the President to take proactive measures was responsible for the persistent orgy of violence by the herdsmen. 

“We have intelligence units that should be on the ground sniffing around to prevent crisis of this nature. That this happened again shows that there is negligence somewhere; seemingly, there is little being done.

“Proactive measures are not top priority; we only focus on reactive measures when the harm had been done. We are saying ‘prevent the horse from escaping,’ but this is not being done.

“Proactive and reactive measures must go hand-in-hand. This is where I feel there is inadequacy; we don’t do much of proactive measures,” Kaigama said. 

The CBCN President also expressed sadness over Buhari’s silence on the gruesome murder of a traditional ruler, his wife and two others in Kaduna State on Tuesday.

He said the situation whereby security agencies keep silence while herdsmen continue killing people across the country, portends great danger that might have ripple effects. 

Kaigama said the omission of the menace of herdsmen by President Buhari during his New Year broadcast had made matters worse. 

“As an individual, the President has the capacity and disposition to bring this herdsmen crisis to an end. The church will continue to preach peace and unity among citizens, as peace remains sacrosanct if Nigeria is to develop,” he said.

Buhari Tells Police to Tighten Security, IGP Assures of End to Killings

Meanwhile, President Buhari yesterday in Abuja ordered IGP Ibrahim Idris, to tighten security around the country, just as the IGP pledged that the wanton destruction of lives and property in Benue State would no longer repeat itself. 

After meeting with the President yesterday, the IGP said he had redeployed a Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) to Benue State on Thursday to collaborate with the Police Commissioner and the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in the area with a view to bringing insecurity in the state under control.

Idris said: “As it has always been the President’s tradition, he ordered me to take charge of the security situation in the country and ensure that insecurity is effectively addressed.

“Of course, every time we meet with the President, he gives a charge. He said that we should go and take care and ensure that we tighten our security. Any time we meet Mr. President, you know the area of discussion is how to have effective security of the nation.”

“You know I deployed my DIG there (Benue) yesterday (Thursday) and you know we have different stages of police. You have the AIG in Benue, Commissioner of Police in Benue and all of them are putting their heads together to see how we address this issue of community problems in Benue.”

Confronted with the perception that there is general breakdown of law and order in different parts of the country in view of recent mindless and unwarranted killings in Rivers, Kwara, Benue and Kaduna States on January 1 and 2, Idris disagreed, claiming instead that Nigeria is well secured. “Obviously, I think Nigeria is well secured. You have to be frank with us,” he submitted. 

Further questioned on why police prefer to be reactionary instead of being proactive, the IGP emphasised that he had deployed a senior police officer to Benue State, claiming that the conflict was only the fallout of communal disagreement as against apparent wickedness being exhibited by herdsmen in protest against the implementation of anti-open grazing law recently signed by the state government.

“There are so many measures. For instance, in Benue, we are going to deploy more units to support the efforts the Police are making in the state to ensure we have adequate protection for the communities and members. Of course, we are assuring that this will not repeat itself,” he said.

Probed further if the arrest of an online publisher by men of Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) was not on his orders in view of an unfavourable publication of the medium against him,  ldris said: “Anyway, I don’t need to send anybody but whenever you commit an offence. It is our duty to ensure that we respond.” 

Miyetti Allah Condemns Bloodbath, Wants Perpetrators Arrested

In a rare and bold move, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore has condemned the killings in Benue State, allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen.

The group also called on the security agencies to arrest the perpetrators of the ugly incident and bring them to justice.

The National Publicity Secretary of the association, Alhaji Yusuf Ardo, in a statement yesterday described the killings as unfortunate and condemnable by all.

He emphasised that the association was for peace, love, unity and harmony in the country, stressing that it would have never support violence anywhere in Nigeria.

Ardo stated: “We are peace loving people, we believed in love for one another. Any Fulani pastoralist that doesn’t believe in peace is not part of us.”

The association called on all Fulani pastoralists living in Benue and other part s of the country to remain calm and be law abiding citizen.

It also urged the federal government to look into the causes of the crisis in states like, Adamawa, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau states so as to have a lasting solution in those areas, particularly the issues of anti-grazing laws and others involving Fulani pastoralist in the country.

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