‘We Have About 800 Herdsmen Now In Custody’ – Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has disclosed that about 800 suspected herdsmen across the country have been arrested by security agencies for attacking various communities.
Osinbajo made the disclosure in Houston, Texas in the United States at the weekend at a townhall meeting with Nigerians living in the United States.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, told newsmen that Osinbajo fielded questions from the audience as well as via the Internet.
On the issue of attacks by Fulani herdsmen in certain states across the country, and what the Federal Government was doing to curb the menace, Osinbajo said: “The President has given firm instructions to the security agencies to arrest not only herdsmen who are attacking communities anywhere in the country, but anyone of them or anyone at all in possession of firearms.
There are about 800 suspected violent herdsmen in the country that are currently in custody.”
Osinbajo who decried the slow pace of the criminal justice system in the country, said it was affecting the prompt trial of such suspects.
He noted that the issue of Fulani herdsmen being violent and killing people has been a perennial one especially as grazing lands continue to disappear over the years, and the cattle feed on peoples crops on the farmlands, adding that the matter just did not crop up when President Muhammadu Buhari came into office.
The Vice President warned against misinterpreting the herdsmen’s violent crime as a religious issue, stressing that it is important for all Nigerians to refuse such divisive narratives and tendencies.
He reminded the audience that there has always been conflict between herdsmen and communities across the country and that people should disabuse the notion that the problem started because President Buhari, a Fulani, is currently at the helm of affairs in the country.
On the need for community policing, the Vice President stated that community policing via state police was indeed a cardinal programme of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
He noted that the party’s agenda could not be introduced until there was an amendment to the nation’s constitution.
He described as counterproductive, a situation where a policeman from Bayelsa State for instance is working in Borno State where he cannot speak the language or understand the culture of the people he is policing.
He conceded that the current situation where police activities are controlled at the federal level surely has some limitations, adding that the “the federal government is currently working to introduce community policing that would be in line with the constitution.”