The latest comment made by the presidency over the recent killings by herdsmen in Benue State calls for concern.
The Presidency had said on Wednesday in Abuja that over 756 people were killed by herdsmen in two years under PDP-led government of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Though the presidency was debunking the insinuation that the recent killings happened because President Muhammadu Buhari is a Fulani man, it’s however not an excuse to allow senseless killing of innocent people to continue under a political party that has been receiving kudos over his achievement in curbing the excesses of a deadly terrorist group, Boko Haram.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, made the controversial comparison in a video he posted on his Facebook Page. He insisted that the recent spate of killings by herdsmen in parts of the country had nothing to do with Buhari being Fulani.
“Something that is disturbing that I have heard about it is linking those developments to the fact that a Fulani man is President and so, he is brooking such kind of evil acts.
“I think that is very unkind. And I will try to back my position with statistics.
“In 2013, particularly, there were nine cases of herdsmen invading communities in Benue state alone and more than 190 people were killed.
“In 2014, there were about 16 of such tragic developments with more than 231 people killed. And then there was a change of government in May 2015.
“But between January and May 2015, there were six attacks which left about 335 people dead.
“Now, the question is, during that period, did we have a Fulani president?”
He accepted that it is the responsibility of the government to protect lives and properties, but the recent killing isn’t justifiable by comparing it with the past government.
“It is the duty of government to preserve the lives of the citizenry. It is the responsibility of government to maintain law and order and that this government is determined to do.
“Therefore, let nobody say that all this is happening because we have a Fulani president.
“We have had many Fulani presidents in the past and this issue of herders and local communities at loggerheads has predated this government.
“But I will just like to appeal to Nigerians that the Muhammadu Buhari government is determined to crack this issue, is determined to get to the bottom of it and it will get done,” Adesina said.
Security is one of the programmes of the APC-led government, which it promised to tackle headlong, and it has showed a commendable commitment in dealing with Boko Haram in the North East of Nigeria.
But much still needs to be done in other parts of the country. Benue State isn’t the only state affected by the deadly act of herdsmen. It’s been happening in some other states, even in the south west, but not in such an alarming rate.
This generally means that state governors have roles to play in terms of security in their respective state. The president can’t be everywhere the same time. State governors should also maintain peace in their domain.
State governors should take action instead of reporting stealing of goats to the president; they should take responsibility in their respective state.
The killings must stop NOW. The comparison of casualties is unnecessary so that we don’t find ourselves in Boko Haram part two.