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Mixed reactions trail Buhari’s directive on armed herdsmen


Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo: Reuters

Some prominent Nigerians, including National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Yinusa Tanko, a delegate to the 2014 National Conference, Col. Tony Nyiam (rtd.) and Human Rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Aborisade, have expressed mixed feelings over the directives by President Muhammadu Buhari to security operatives to arrest and prosecute anyone found with illegal arms in the country.

Buhari had during a working visit to Nasarawa State on Tuesday said attacks by suspected herdsmen would no longer be tolerated in Nigeria.

Reacting to the President’s directives, Tanko told The Guardian yesterday that with the order, the nation’s security chiefs could now be held responsible if there are any other attacks in any parts of the country.

While he agreed that order might have been belated, Tanko said it was better late than never, saying the onus is now on the Security Council to carry out the directives.    He also commended the position of the Senate in rejecting the report of the Ad-hoc committee on Security’s visit to Benue State on the herdsmen attacks saying the state governor, Samuel Ortom, was not given fair hearing.

Aborisade on his part said, “The fact that Mr. President gave the order shows that there has been a regime of impunity in which the violence and murder perpetrated by armed herdsmen were tolerated. In a society free of impunity, the President does not need to make such an order before the law takes its due course.”

Aborisade said the making of such a statement is an acknowledgment of an existing reign of uncontrolled terror by armed individuals, signifying a failed regime, which has been unable to provide basic security.

He said given the statements made by some heads of security agencies, who justified mass killings in Benue and elsewhere on the basis of anti grazing law and without such heads of security agencies being removed from office, it is difficult to envisage a change in the body language of this regime.

Meanwhile, Nyiam while commending Buhari for the directives urged him to recompose the Security Council, which comprise people from a particular section of the country.

Nyiam also praised the senate for its decision but cautioned the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, saying, “He should be careful in his regime of too much sycophantic reports to President Buhari.”

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