Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is not happy over what he said not fair to blame President Muhammadu Buhari for the crimes of herders simply because he is Fulani.
He noted that herdsmen/farmers clashes had been in existence for more than two decades noting that the issue had given Buhari more concern than any other security challenge.
He told a National Security Summit organized by the National Assembly in Abuja that the government had deployed mobile police to the troubled areas.
He added that the military had also maintained operative bases in the flash areas of the country
Osinbajo said the security apparatus had performed creditably given their resource constraints and observed that in spite of that they were not prompt in responding to attacks.
“Whenever that happens the failure to protect the lives of the innocent is inexcusable and we cannot rationalise or diminish the failure of the security apparatus of government.
Osinbajo solicited the cooperation of the judiciary in ensuring speedy trial of any one arrested for security problems.
He noted the proliferation of light arms and weapons in recent years worsened by the porous nature of the nation’s borders.
He said the customs and immigrations services were being strengthened to tackle the border issues adding that as signatory to the ECOWAS protocol on free movements the government might not restrict the entry of foreign herders.
He said the country would continue to keep records of immigrants and as it developed modern breeding techniques ensure that the foreigners complied with the laws of the country.
Osinbajo said government had collaborated with states and communities to quell the crisis as dialogue was a major way of bringing various groups together.
He said that the federal government fully endorsed the peace building efforts in various states and would continue to support them.
He said that stakeholders were devising better means of cattle rearing adding that making herdsmen and cattle sedentary would not only reduce the tension but also increase the productivity of the cattle.
Osinbajo also stated that the federal government would not dictate to states what to do with their land.
He noted the depletion of grazing reserves and routes in some parts of the country adding that for effective grazing ranching was the right option.
The Vice President said that about 13 states had pledged land for commercial ranching purposes noting that stakeholders must stay together to work out solutions that would benefit all.
“Let me reiterate that on no account will any land be ceased of forcefully taken to create any of the ranches or grazing areas; all insinuations to that effect should be disregarded.
“Instead it is our view that states that are willing and have set aside land and gazzetted grazing reserves should collaborate with investors.’’
He described the summit as important part of on- going engagements with stakeholders on the security challenges of the nation.
He recalled that the country entered into the new year on a tragic and bloody note with the murder of no fewer than 73 persons in Benue by persons suspected to be herdsmen.
He noted that a traditional ruler and his pregnant wife were also murdered in their home in Kaduna, while a cult murdered 20 persons returning from a church vigil in Rivers.
He said that the incidents served as reminder that there was no room for complacency in the task of securing Nigeria.
“Boko Haram was by no means the only security challenge we inherited’’ he said adding that cattle rustling, clashes between farmers and herdsmen, militancy in the Niger Delta, seeming ethnic agitation, and kidnapping were among.
He also mentioned the Islamic movement in the North West as other challenge noting that the scale and breath of the security challenges profoundly tasked the nation’s security architecture.
The Vice President noted that the security personnel had been deliberate and determined in their responses.
He noted the successes recorded in killing some terror masterminds in the past three years but said the country could not rest on its oars in seeking a final end to the crises. (NAN)