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Farmers-Herders Clashes: Politicians Using Criminals To Carry Out Killings, Presidency Insists



The Presidency insisted yesterday that some unscrupulous politicians are the ones using criminals and bandits to perpetuate killings in the country.

It appealed to Nigerians and members of the international community to refrain from spreading false stories and inflammatory statements about the recent killings in the country.

Senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who made the presidency’s position known reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s remark that there is evidence of involvement of some politicians using criminals to perpetuate the killings.

Shehu said the Nigerian government is working closely with state governments and the Security Services, as well as international partners, in order to resolve the issue of killings.

In a statement he issued yesterday, the presidential spokesman noted that the clashes between herders and farmers are historical, even as he said the causes of these confrontations are varied and complex.

He stated: “Climate change, specifically the drying up of the Chad Basin, has led to more pressure on the population in the North of Nigeria, which further compounded the problem.

“As President Buhari indicated lately, there is evidence of involvement of some politicians using criminals to perpetuate the killings.

“Climate change is an issue of global significance and the Nigerian Government is determined to continue working closely with its neighbours in order to ensure that a long-term solution can be implemented.

“The federal government makes no distinction amongst the population and works tirelessly to protect all Nigerian people. We are strongest as a nation when we are united and it is through unity that we will overcome this challenge”.

No Land In South East For Ranching – Govs

Meanwhile, the South East Governors’ Forum said yesterday that they will not concede any land in the geopolitical zone for ranching purposes.

Rising from a one-day meeting held at Government House, Enugu, the chairman of the forum and governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahia, stated that the zone is highly disadvantage in land.

He also dispelled the rumour that some portions of land had been donated for ranching, just as he declared that no state in the South East is ready to donate any land for ranching.

“Ranching is not approved by South East Governors. We have not been asked to donate; no land in the South East has been donated for ranching”, he stated

While commiserating with the people and government of Plateau State for the recent killings, the forum condemned the killings and joined other regions to demand for justice for Plateau people.

The governors further said they noticed increased challenges in the movement of herdsmen from one state and region to another with resultant effect of massive destruction of farmlands and attendant clashes with farmers.

He said, “South East Governors have been spending huge funds in paying compensations to farmers whose farms and crops were destroyed.

“We therefore request for emergency meeting in South East with Federal Security Chiefs, farmers and herdsmen leadership in Nigeria to stop the movement and prevent the clashes.”

Umahi further hinted that the forum was presented with restructuring as the stand of Ndigbo by the president-general of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo, based on the resolutions arising from the Awka enlarged Igbo meeting, adding that he also laid down the template to South East governors forum.

“The forum also decided that the governors should take a studied look at the restructuring and make its final stance clear by the next meeting of the forum”.

NBA Calls For Caution Over State Police

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has called on politicians in the country to be cautious in their clamour for the adoption of state police.

Professor Adele Jinadu, lead speaker at a conference organised by a session on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL), an arm of the NBA, made this call in Abuja.

Prof Jinadu said Nigeria must be careful to avoid a situation where state police would be abused by state governors on the pretext of ensuring security in their domains.

According to him, there is the possibility of abuse by state officials, especially to harass their political opponents.

“We need to be careful to avoid the possibility for abuse. We are coming from a past experience equivalent to what we can call state police and they were used to harass political opponents.

“We may not have adequate provision for them now – just as we have for the federal police; it is important we keep this in mind before the adoption. If we must adopt that, mechanism to check abuses must be put in place,’’ Jinadu cautioned.

Earlier, Mr Akaraiwe Ikeazor, one of the panelists, noted that Nigeria was too large to have a central police as it is being run presently.

Ikeazor, who cited the case of Chibok and Dapchi girls’ abduction, said that if state police were on ground, the abductors would find it difficult to take those girls away.

“We call ourselves Federal Republic of Nigeria; we are running a unitary system, doing the opposite of what we call ourselves. Nigeria is too large and populous to have a central police; it is not that we are not aware of the likely abuse by the state governors, but we must work to avoid that.

“What we need is to borrow a leaf from the third schedule of the Constitution that set up the National Judicial Council (NJC) to oversee some aspects of the judicial system.

“Let the Nigeria Police Commission become the equivalent of the NJC to oversee the administration of the state police; the governors cannot appoint or sack the state police commissioner and deputy police commissioner without going through the commission,’’ he said.

Police Confirm Fresh Skirmishes In Plateau

The Plateau Sate Police Command has confirmed fresh attacks in some Fulani communities around Kuru behind Police Staff College in Jos South local government area of the state.

LEADERSHIP gathered that two people were injured in the attack, which occurred at about 8:00am on Saturday night.

Confirming the development yesterday to our correspondent on phone, the Police Public Relations Officer, Plateau state command, SP Matthias Terna Tyopev, said there was a misunderstanding between the natives and the Fulanis, which was quickly resolved by stakeholders.

The Police spokesman who noted that normalcy has since been restored to the area urges people of the state to report any suspicious movement to the law enforcement agency for prompt intervention.

“There is no cause for alarm as the situation was quickly brought under control. As I am talking to you right now, normalcy has been restored and no life was lost”, he said.