By Luminous Jannamike
The Northern Elders Forum, which is an elite association of statesmen in the North, says it is not aware of that thousands of herders were being tried and convicted across the country for illegal activities.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had on Monday said there was no substance to claims that President Muhammadu Buhari took a soft approach to the herdsmen crisis based on ethnic affiliations.
Shehu had said, “I hope that the police will take responsibility and publish the full list of Fulani herders who are undergoing trial in various states, particularly in Benue State.
“Trials are going on, convictions are being made and the President cannot be complicit in the kind of things that are being said about him.”
Speaking with Vanguard on Monday evening, however, NEF’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed maintained that while it would be reassuring to believe the presidential spokesman, the nation does not know of the convictions against the criminal herders.
He said if such court judgements were truly made, it would only be right for the authorities to publish the names of suspects and convicts, even if their trials were in secret.
Responding to a question, he said, “It will be reassuring to believe this (Garba Shehu’s comments). But the nation does not know of these thousands of trials and convictions, unless these are secret trials.
“If Shehu’s revelation is true, the names and other details of suspects and trials should be made public. This is one way that the bandits will know that they can be prosecuted.
“Citizens will also know that government is serious about this problem of insecurity affecting the nation.”