Kidnapping, robbery, herdsmen/farmers’ clashes: Our security solutions‘ll stand test of time — Buhari
•We lost four persons —Bambado, S’West Fulani leader
•We’re not aware of any crisis —Police
•Govs back Presidency on state, community police
By Dapo Akinrefon, Ola Ajayi & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—Following killings by herdsmen across the country since the beginning of the year, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said his government has grasp of the security challenges in the country and is determined to implement solutions that would stand the test of time.
The President’s declaration came after he emerged from a three-hour meeting with security agencies, including service chiefs, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari’s statement came at a time Agbekoya Farmers Association, AFA, vowed to deal with herdsmen, following last Saturday’s beheading of a 70-year-old farmer and injuring of his son in their farm at Iseyin, Oyo State.
They also issued an ultimatum to all herdsmen in their land to leave immediately or face their wrath.
Although there was no usual briefing of State House correspondents after the meeting, President Buhari, on his Twitter handle, said the government would implement solutions that would be acceptable anywhere.
The President’s post on his Twitter handle read thus: “Today (yesterday), I presided over a meeting of the security council. We fully understand the seriousness & urgency of Nigeria’s security issues, and are determined to implement carefully considered solutions that will not only earn the confidence of Nigerians, but also stand the test of time.
“Our law enforcement agencies must at all times stay ahead of bandits and criminals, wherever they are across the country, by efficiently gathering, sharing and acting on credible intelligence. I am assuring that we will give them all the support needed to succeed.
“Let me also assure that all persons arrested so far, including those arrested for illegally possessing arms, will be duly prosecuted. I urge judicial officers to be alive to responsibilities in this regard, to enable the speedy dispensation of justice.”
The meeting, which was an enlarged one with heads of Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Prisons Service, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, lasted about three hours at the State House, Abuja.
At the meeting were the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and National Security Adviser, Majjor General Babagana Monguno, retd.
Also in attendance were Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS; Lawal Daura; Director of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ahmed Abubakar, and Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
The service chiefs at the meeting included Chief of Defence Staff; Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff; Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, and Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar.
We’ll deal with herdsmen our own way — Agbekoya
Meanwhile, following the beheading of a 70-year-old farmer in Iseyin, Oyo State, the Agbekoya Farmers Association, AFA, has vowed to deal with herdsmen in their own way, if the federal and state governments failed to curb herdsmen’s activities. They also issued an ultimatum to all herdsmen in their lands to leave immediately.
This came as the leader of Fulani in the South West, Alhaji Mohammed Bambado, and his counterpart at Oke-Ogun, Alhaji Bello, claimed that they had lost four of their men.
Recall that a 70-year old farmer, identified as Mustapha, alias Baba Jeje, was beheaded on his farm by herdsmen, while his son, who was with him on the farm, was also said to have been injured by the herdsmen who destroyed crops in the farm.
The farmer had since been buried according to Islamic injunctions.
Speaking with Vanguard, President-General of Agbekoyas Worldwide, Kamoru Okiki Aremu, said the deceased was a gentle man who was very popular at Iseyin.
Aremu warned that unless the Federal Government and Governor Abiola Ajimobi arrest and prosecute the culprits, the Agbekoyas would declare war on herdsmen all over Oyo State.
Aremu said: “They killed a farmer at Iseyin three days ago. They slaughtered him and then beheaded him. What was his offence? He complained that their cattle ate his dried cassava tubers. It was his child who narrowly escaped that raised alarm. We cannot take this any longer.
“As a result of the killing, some of my members called me to get permission if they could go in search of the assailants. We can’t wait for the Police again. Police can’t guarantee us safety again. We have severally complained to the Police, the state government and the Federal Government and we have found out they cannot handle the issue.”
Asked if it would be easy to get the alleged killer, he replied saying he knew that majority of the herdsmen were stubborn.
“If they don’t release the killer, we won’t take this lightly. We can no longer fold our arms while they have field day mowing down our people. We are ready for whatever happens. Enough is enough. We thought we could live together in peace, but these ones don’t understand the language of peace.”
Similarly, the leader of Agbekoya in Oyo State, Alhaji Shehu said: “We have been given the mandate not to sit by and watch these lawless herdsmen. Our people are already in the bush looking for them.
“We know that the real culprit is not easy to find. What we are saying is that they should leave our lands and anyone who fails to heed the warning should have himself to blame.
“You need to see the inhuman manner they killed the farmer. His children had to be picking his body parts that had been decapitated. Just some days ago, they killed a SARS commander at Saki. We have had enough of these killings and we are tired of it. They have inflicted so much pain on us in this Oke Ogun area and we have been driven to the wall. We can’t tolerate this any longer,” he added.
We’ve lost 4 men, many cows—-Fulani leaders
When Vanguard called the Sarkin Fulani in Oke Ogun area, Alhaji Bello, he said four herdsmen and many cows had been killed.
Bello said: “As you are talking to me now, they have killed four Fulani men and many cows. They have gone to bring three corpses of our men they killed. The Policemen are already here.”
On ways of resolving the crisis, he said: “The only way is for the government to summon a meeting of stakeholders where we will iron things out.”
Also, Chairman, Association of Fulani Chiefs, South-West Nigeria, Alhaji Mohammed Bambado, said: “With what I gathered, they said the Police are investigating the matter. At present, our people have gone into the bush because with what I gathered, they have killed four Fulani but it has not been confirmed yet. They are not sure whether it was the Fulani that committed that crime because they said it was a family issue. There is no grazing route along that area that would make a Fulani man to go through that area. The Police are there carrying out their investigation. Honestly, that is all I can say about this.”
We’re not aware of any crisis —Police
Reacting to the incident, Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Adekunle Ajisebutu, said he would call his men in the area to verify.
But he said he was not aware of any crisis between the Agbekoya and the herdsmen.
He promised to call back after he had been properly briefed about the incident but at press time last night, he had yet to do that.
Insecurity: Govs back Presidency on State Police
Governors of the 36 states of the federation, under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, yesterday threw their weight behind the Presidency on the decentralisation of the police force in the country.
Addressing journalists at the end of the two-day National Security Summit organized by the Senate to review the current security infrastructure in Nigeria in Abuja, yesterday, Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, said the Forum had endorsed the idea of state police since 2015 but that the division within, at that time made it difficult to marshal further action on it.
According to him, the governors met in August 2017 and reached a common ground on state police which they have now put on the table at the security summit.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while declaring open the Summit, had presented the position of the Presidency which stressed the need for state and community policing if the present security challenges in the country must be nipped in the bud.
The position of the governors yesterday tallies with the resolution of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, on restructuring.
Yari, who dismissed fears that state police would become a weapon of coercion if left in the hands of governors, however, argued that if governors were not doing same with state court; he doubted if they would do that with state police.
He said: “You know the issue of security is not something that the nation can play with because the primary responsibility of government anywhere in the world is to ensure that the life and property of citizens are protected.”
On the position by some governors that they cannot afford state policing, Yari said: “That is why we are saying that it is not all the states that are supposed to have state police. Those that can, should have it.
“For instance, Lagos State, as rich as they are, can have state police. The federal police in Lagos, they can reduce the number to Osun, Ogun and other states that cannot do it. If Rivers State can afford it, the number of federal police can be redeployed to Cross River and other neighbouring states like Enugu that cannot do it.
“If Kano State can do it, they can take to my state that is not all that rich. It is something that we can’t take up at the same time and land at the same time.”
Nigeria security chiefs and other critical stakeholders have been brainstorming on Nigeria’s security challenges hoping to identify the lapses within the entire security architecture and to come up with solutions.
Healing process needed — Senate
Meanwhile, some senators at the end of the summit have stressed the urgent need for Nigeria to begin what they described as healing process, in view of the need to address the security challenges confronting the country.
In his comments, Senator Victor Umeh (APGA, Anambra Central), who expressed optimism that the summit would give Nigerians the required results in terms of security, however said practical and verifiable options were crucial in tackling insecurity.
“Contributors continue to highlight the need for government to tackle the root causes of insecurity in the country.
“It is not enough when these things escalate we begin to adopt fire brigade approach and to ask why are these things happening. Things start gradually and snowball into a big problem and if you don’t tackle it from the beginning it will continue to pose serious challenges to the country.
‘’There is need for the country to start a healing process by going back to those things that agitate the minds of the people, things that make people to protest.
Also speaking with journalists, Senator Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi North), who noted that the issue of security requires collaborative efforts by all, said everybody was in danger, adding that this must not be left in the hands of the executive alone.
He said: “As an arm of government we have to contribute our quota by trying to find out means to avert the serious dangers we find ourselves as a country.”