Buhari Is Having Sleepless Nights Over Herdsmen Attacks – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari is having sleepless nights over the continued clashes by farmers and herdsmen in some parts of the country.
Osinbajo revealed at a security summit in Abuja that Buhari is so concerned that he is spending more time with security chiefs to curb the attacks.
The Vice President also disclosed that the Federal Government will not dictate to states on the Land Use.
”No one is giving land to anyone, as is being falsely alleged. Instead, it is our view that States that are willing and which have set aside land for development should cooperate with willing investors in commercially viable, government-supported ranches or livestock production centres for commercial use,” Osinbajo stated.
Part of Osinbajo’s speech reads: “Nigeria entered the New Year on a tragic and bloody note; 73 persons were murdered in Benue State by persons who were suspected to be herdsmen. To the North, in southern Kaduna, Kaduna State, a traditional ruler and his pregnant wife were murdered in their home. Down south, in Rivers, a cult murdered more than 20 innocent persons returning from a church vigil. On the 3rd of January, 14 worshippers were killed in a mosque at Gamboru, and on the 17th of January, a suicide bombing attack in Maiduguri claimed 10 lives.
“These incidents immediately served as a reminder that there is no room for complacency in the task of securing Nigeria, even against the backdrop of the remarkable progress we’ve recorded in the most critical of our security challenges at a time: the fight against Boko Haram.
“Indeed, Boko Haram is a good starting point for a conversation about security in Nigeria as we go on to the more current and contemporary concerns we have. How a small band of religious proselytizers evolved into the biggest threat to the sovereignty of Nigeria in five decades is a question that has occupied and perhaps, even defied researchers and law enforcement agencies for years.
“In 2015, when the Buhari administration took office, much of Northern Eastern Nigeria lay beneath the palpable shadow of the terrorist group. In the two and half years since then, our military has done a remarkable job, reclaiming Nigerian territory, rescuing tens of thousands of civilians, and routing Boko Haram. Today the group is a shadow of itself, forced to resort to cowardly suicide bombings and other attacks on soft targets in a desperate bid at attention-seeking.
“Boko Haram was by no means the only security challenge we inherited when we took office in 2015. Cattle rustling, pronounced in the Northwest; clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the North Central region in particular and spreading out to other regions of Nigeria, militant activity in the South-south and parts of the Southwest, simmering ethnic agitation in the Southeast, and kidnapping across the entire country. There was also the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in the Northwest, increasingly emboldened to challenge the authority of the State.
“The scale and breadth of these security challenges, especially because they occurred in far flung locations in the country, profoundly tasked the nation’s security architecture. I want to say that because of the spread and diversity of these threats, the nation’s security architecture was stretched, engaging in several parts of the country and with the numbers that we have, that in itself posed a problem for tackling as robustly as possible, many of the challenges that we faced.
“But we must say on behalf of the security agencies that they have been deliberate and determined in their responses. For obvious reasons, we have since assuming office, prioritized the anti-terrorism campaign in the Northeast.
“Understandably, as Boko Haram has receded in the public consciousness – in the 2017 Global Terrorism Index reported that deaths from terrorism dropped 80 percent in Nigeria in 2016; the biggest decrease worldwide – other security challenges have shuffled forward to take the place of Boko Haram threats.
“This does not mean that these challenges are newly-emergent. What is new, is our approach and determination to contain these threats and protect the lives and property of all Nigerians. This determination can mostly be seen in the way our security agents in particular have dealt with Boko Haram and several of the threats in parts of the country.
“Over the last three years, some of Nigeria’s deadliest criminal kingpins have been arrested or killed. I think credit must go to the security agencies for this. Khalid al-Barnawi, head of the al-Qaeda linked Ansaru terror group, and one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, arrested in Kogi State in April 2016; kidnap kingpin Evans (arrested in Lagos State), Dracula (arrested in Delta), Vampire (arrested in Imo last year). One of the more recent ones is Don Waney, cultist and mastermind of the New Year’s Day attack in Rivers State, killed during a joint operation by the Military and the DSS at the end of 2017. We will not relent in our efforts to bring all of these criminals and others to justice.
“Since the beginning of the year, following the massacre in Guma and Logo local governments in Benue, the issue of violence by suspected herdsmen has dominated national attention. And rightly so, as Mr. President himself said, “I am a soldier, I have seen death in warfare but the callous killing of innocent people especially women and children is cowardly and despicable in the extreme and it must prevented or stopped and the perpetrators must be punished”.
“In his statement of commiseration to the Governor of Benue State Mr. President said and I quote “This is one attack too many, and everything must be done to provide security for the people in our rural communities, I have ordered the security agencies to find and capture the perpetrators, they must face justice.”
“Anyone who has seen the viciousness of the killings, and the wantonness of the damage to property, is bound to be stupefied by the horror. I was in in Dong village in Adamawa, where herdsmen had attacked the village and killed many. But the vicious killing of Fulani women and children in the same local government in Adamawa State is worthy of mention.
“Let me preface this by saying that every Nigerian is entitled to adequate security from government for their lives and livelihoods, government may slip in that responsibility often but I must say never deliberately. Every killing demeans us as a people. Every killing undermines the authority of the State.
“This is why the suggestion sometimes, that because President Buhari is Fulani he has ignored the killings by herdsmen is both untrue and unfair. In any event, herdsmen and farmer clashes resulting in deaths have been with us for at least two decades. And I have worked with him for three years now, and I do not know of any one issue that has given him more concern or on which he has spent more time with Security Chiefs as this particular issue.
“What then is being done about security? The approach of the government has been to deploy mobile police forces to troubled areas and also both the army and airforce, the Nigerian Army formations and units in Benue State for example, especially 72 Special Forces Battalion, have consistently maintained Forward Operating Bases at the flash areas covering Guma, Logo, Katsina-Ala and Agatu Local Government Areas.
“The operation has the generic name Operation MESA, but it is nicknamed Operation ZENDA in Benue State. The Army had within the last few days scaled up the size of troops and equipment in Agatu, Guma, Katsina-Ala and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State.
“The Army also recently deployed troops at Awe and Tunga Local Government Areas of Nasarawa State, in order to monitor and block the gaps that were presumed to be used as staging points by armed herdsmen to attack communities in Benue State.
“Additionally, troops of 93 Battalion, Takum in Taraba State, also occupy blocking positions as well as maintain constant liaison with troops in Benue State.
“Furthermore, the command and control structure of the Army formations and units in Benue and contiguous states have been reorganised.”

Author: News Editor

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