- Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu has reacted to the insinuations that President Buhari is not doing enough to address the herdsmen crisis in the country
- Shehu said the insinuations are untrue, noting that many criminal herdsmen are being tried and convicted
- The presidential spokesman also wants the Nigerian police to publish the names of the convicted criminal herders to back up his statement
The presidency has dismissed the insinuations that President Muhammadu Buhari is taking a soft approach to the herdsmen crisis in the country based on ethnic affiliations.
Most herdsmen in the country are Fulani, the same ethnicity as President Buhari.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said on Channels TV on Monday, February 15, that there is no substance to such insinuations.
According to Shehu, “thousands" of criminal herdsmen are being tried and convicted across the country for illegal activities.
He expressed hope that the Nigerian police will publish the names of the criminal herders being prosecuted to validate his statement.
“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 of him.”
Shehu added that President Buhari is fully aware of the country’s security situation and is working to ensure the safety of lives and properties.
He noted that community leaders need to work with the president to effectively address the security crisis.
Amid the rising security challenges, Shehu said the Nigerian military is currently overstretched because they are active in at least 34 of the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT.
He added that the Air Force, the police, and others are recruiting "day and night" while people are being trained in special operations.
Bishop Onyeka commented on Facebook:
"Are they being tried and convicted in secret? Because this first time I will be hearing this news."
Reynolds OS said:
"A word from the presidency asking all foreign herdsmen not registered with their local communities and illegally in the country to vacate immediately would end these crisis. They do not have cattles of their own, they only came to rustle and kidnap. As for herders and the famers conflicts; that can be easily resolved."
Heartman T Kwaya said:
"The effort of the presidency in handling criminal Herders across the country not enough comparing to the devastating killings across the country perpetrated by blood thirsting Herders. Perhaps the President should come out publicly and condemn it."
Oyinkro Timbuodo said:
"The only way this nonsense can be put to an end is for the entire Southern Governors to come out with a strong stand and call for restructuring."
Kalu Kenny Ogochukwu said:
"Assuming it is true that thousands of herdsmen are being tried and convicted across the country, then the country is finished. Thousands are a formidable force. It equally means that other thousands of them are outside. The country is finished."
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari warned Nigerians to avoid stoking violence through ethnic hatred.
The Nigerian leader gave the warning in a statement issued by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, via Facebook on Sunday, February 14.
According to the statement, the president’s warning was in reaction to reports of the breakout of violence in some parts of the country by some ethnic and sectional groups.
Nurudeen Lawal is a Legit.ng journalist passionate about fact-checking/verification journalism. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature-in-English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. As Politics Editor, Nurudeen mostly writes on Nigeria’s political and socio-economic developments. He has attended different workshops, conferences and training on fact-checking and digital reporting, among others. Learn more about him on Twitter, @Nurudeen Lawal_