Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank has said that President Muhammadu Buhari led All Progressives government, APC, is prioritising the interests of Fulani herdsmen over the collective and constitutional interests of other Nigerians.
Frank’s reaction is coming on the heels of the statement made by president Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, wherein Shehu said Fulani herdsmen can’t be ousted from any part of the South West region of Nigeria, despite the criminal elements infiltrating them.
Mr. Shehu had, while countering the ultimatum given by the Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to “bad elements” among the Fulanis “who had turned the forest reserves in the state into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating ransom and carrying out other criminal activities,” said the governor lacked the powers and could not unilaterally oust thousands of herders whom he said “have lived all their lives in the state.”
But Timi Frank, in his statement on Saturday, said the Buhari-led APC government should rather arrest and prosecute killer herdsmen instead of making statements that smack of emboldening them.
According to him, “Buhari must not embolden these killer herdsmen with such statements. Garba Shehu’s statement smacks of giving the herders a go-ahead nod. However, The governor is the chief security officer of his state and has the constitutional right to secure the lives and property of the people whom he swore to protect.”
“Statements such as made by Garba Shehu only shows that the Buhari government prioritises the interests of the Fulanis above those of other Nigerians.
“Is Buhari’s government now telling us that both the governor and the people should fold their hands and watch while intruding, murderous herders kill, kidnap them and destroy their property?
“It is no news that even when these killer herdsmen are arrested and handed over to the security agencies, they are soon allowed to go scot-free.
“Buhari must show that he is the president, not for the Fulanis alone but for all Nigerians. He must also show leadership and sincerity in curbing insecurity in the country by arresting and prosecuting killer herdsmen who go about killing, kidnapping and raping indigenes of their host states and not emboldening them.
“I urge all South West governors to rise to the occasion and perform their constitutional duties of securing the lives and property of their people,” he said.
The ex APC spokesperson who also condemned the use of violence by Sunday Adeyemo, a youth leader popularly known as Sunday Igboho who had issued a quit notice to herdsmen in Oyo state, however, said that a peaceful approach in fishing out the criminal elements among the Fulani group is a more ideal approach.
Recall that Igboho had asked herdsmen in Igangan in Ibarapa north local government area of Oyo state to leave within seven days following reports of the killing of some Oyo citizens by herdsmen.
He had blamed the herders and Fulanis, including Saliu Kadri, the Seriki Fulani, of being behind the rising insecurity in the area.
However, following the quit notice, the IGP, Saturday, issued an order for his arrest and transfer to Abuja.
But Frank, in his reaction, also condemned the IGP for what he described as a biased arrest order which he said further encourages the herders. He questioned the police boss’ “swift and biased” arrest order on Sunday Igboho whom he said has killed nobody but only sought to protect his people. He said such arrest order should first be issued and executed on the killer herdsmen who have been killing innocent citizens across the country for so long now.
According to him, “why has the IGP not issued such arrest warrants on killer herdsmen who have been killing and kidnapping people across Nigeria for many years now? This shows that even the security agencies are encouraging the killer herdsmen on their spree.
“How can the IGP issue an arrest order on Sunday Igboho while showing a blind eye on the herdsmen? Are the killer herdsmen now above the law? Does it mean the IGP is unaware of the killings and heinous crimes perpetrated by these killer herdsmen against their host communities?
“I condemn the IGP’s biased and rather too swift arrest order on Mr Igboho without replicating such on the killer herdsmen. The IGP should not drag the face of the security agencies to the mud by such biased arrest orders. He should entertain equity in executing the stipulations of the constitution by issuing an arrest order on all killer herdsmen, not just in the South West alone but across Nigeria,” Frank said.