Buhari meets Ugwuanyi, orders probe of herdsmen’s violence
• President tells military, police to arrest killers
• Rights groups plan protest to Aso Rock
In an apparent move to douse nationwide anger and mounting criticism of his government’s alleged indifference to the menace, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday ordered the Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Abayomi Olonishakin and the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Ehigiator Arase, to arrest and prosecute all those involved in the killing of innocent people and destruction of villages across the country by heavily armed herdsmen.
Buhari also met last night with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to receive further briefing on the invasion of some communities in Enugu State by suspected Fulani herdsmen that led to the massacre of about 50 people and destruction of property including churches.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President urged all Nigerians to remain calm and assured of his administration’s readiness to deploy all required personnel and resources to remove this new threat to the collective security of the nation.
According to the statement: “Following continuing reports of attacks by ‘herdsmen’ on communities across the country, particularly Monday’s attack on Ukpabi Nimbo in Enugu State, President Muhammadu Buhari assures all Nigerians, once again, of his administration’s continued commitment to ensuring the safety of lives and property in all parts of the country.
“Acting on the President’s directive, the Inspector-General of Police and heads of the nation’s other security agencies are already taking urgent steps to fully investigate the attacks, apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
“Ending the recent upsurge of attacks on communities by herdsmen reportedly armed with sophisticated weapons is now a priority on the Buhari Administration’s agenda for enhanced national security and the Armed Forces and Police have clear instructions to take all necessary action to stop the carnage.
“In keeping with the President’s directive, the Inspector-General of Police, the General Officer Commanding the 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army and the Director of the Department of State Security in Enugu State have visited Ukpabi Nimbo to personally oversee investigations into the attack on the community and ongoing efforts to apprehend the culprits.”
Buhari , represented by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, also reiterated the order yesterday at a public presentation of a book Who will Love my Country, authored by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu,.
The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, had on Tuesday at a meeting in Akure condemned Lai Muhammed, for his alleged recent statement that the Federal Government was silently finding lasting solutions to the herdsmen’s carnage, accusing the Buhari- administration of indifference to the pains and agonies of the citizens.
This position was reiterated yesterday by the Publicity Secretary of the group, Yinka Odumakin while addressing journalists after a meeting at the residence of its leader, Pa. Reuben Fasoranti alongside other Yoruba leaders in the Ondo State capital.
Afenifere reminded the Federal Government that it has a duty to
protect the lives and properties of every citizen of Nigeria, accusing the Directorate of State Security Services of partisan roles in the crises rocking the peace of the nation.
Also a coalition of human rights groups has vowed to storm the Aso Rock in large numbers to show their grievances against the massacres and alleged insincerity of Buhari on the protection lives and property as stipulated in the
They urged President Buhari to resign if he could not end the killings and called on the governments at all levels to come to the aid of the affected people and families in order to ameliorate their suffering.
The coalition, led by Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman, comprises the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ), Centre for Constitutional Rights and
Counter Corruption Crusader, Save Lagos Group (SLG), The Conscience
Mainstream (TCM), African Masses Voices for Survival (AMVS), Christian Youths for the Peoples’ Rights and Development (CYPRD), Islamic Movement for Muslims’ Rights (IMMR) and Divine Nigerians Liberators for Peoples’ Fundamental Rights (DNLPFR), among others.
And from Taraba State, came another solution that installation of paramount chiefs to oversee the affairs of the communities, which experienced such attacks, would go a long way in addressing the problem.
A petition written to Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, through the commissioner of Police, Shaba Alkali, by the affected communities, under the auspices of Ndola of Gola Area Development Association (NGADA), expressed optimism that normalcy would return to the areas as soon as a monarch was installed.
Signed by the coordinator of the communities, Rev. Joseph Nagombe and its chairman, Rev. David A. Gadda, they admonished the state government and the security agencies to urgently establish police outpost in the communities.
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has also expressed “strong worry that going by the seeming conspiratorial silence and clear case of orchestrated ineptitude and inaction by the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to the dare-devil activities and blood-cuddling violence of armed Fulani herdsmen, Nigeria may be dangerously nearing the precipice of civil war.”
The group also warned “law enforcement agencies and the Armed Forces to rein in their errant commanders and management level officers to stop deploying armed security operatives to work in cohort with suspected armed Fulani herdsmen to create anarchy and civil unrest across Nigeria.”
HURIWA recalled that “some top commanders within the Division One of the Nigeria Army without any express permission or authorisation from and by the office of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Buratai, had allegedly illegally deployed armed soldiers that invaded Awgu, an Enugu State community whereby 76 indigenous Igbo farmland owners were arrested and hauled into the Umuahia prison for allegedly resisting the plots and activities of some armed Fulani herdsmen to annex some of their ancestral farmlands for the purposes of illegal grazing of cattle.”
According to HURIWA, “the Nigerian armed security operatives acting in the most efficiently professional manners, should immediately dismantle and arrest the well-coordinated armed Fulani terrorists who are currently engaging in the criminal kidnap of prominent Nigerians for the purposes of extorting heavy ransoms.”
HURIWA particularly condemned as the “heights of provocation” the abduction in Ezeagu Local Council of Enugu State of a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Aniako Celestine, priest in charge of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Ukana, Udi Local CouncilArea who was kidnapped by suspected Fulani herdsmen on his way from his home town, Ezeagu.
The group added: “The further aggravating news that Fulani herdsmen had also killed two sisters in Abbi, Uzo Uwani Local Government Area last month leaving 17 houses burnt is reprehensible and abominable. The President should implement transparent measures to disarm these armed Fulani marauders who are currently rampaging all across the rest of the Nigerian communities. The Federal Government of Nigeria headed by the Fulani indigene of Katsina State Muhammadu Buhari must act now to prevent civil war which may be occasioned by the unwarranted levels of destruction by armed Fulani herdsmen. “