President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on the issue of killer herdsmen is that anyone caught with illegal arms should be arrested and tried, spokesman Femi Adesina said on Tuesday.
Mr. Adesina, who made an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today, was reacting to recent comments made by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
Mr. Ortom had said the President was silent over the issue of armed herdsmen causing havoc across the country.
“If the Governor would say he hasn’t heard the President speak on that matter, that’s what he should make clear; it’s not that the President hasn’t spoken,” Mr. Adesina said.
“Because the number of times the President has spoken on that issue . . . and his position has always been the same: anybody, whoever he is, that carries arms unlawfully should be arrested and prosecuted. The President has said it countless times.”
However, when asked how many herdsmen have been arrested in recent times, Mr. Adesina said “I don’t have that figure at my fingertips . . . but I know that a lot of people are awaiting trial.”
Ranching as solution?
Clashes between farmers and herdsmen have escalated this year, especially in the southwest where quit notices were delivered to people of Fulani extraction, who are mostly herders.
Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje, recently suggested that ranching was the solution to the phenomenon of herdsmen moving across the country with cattle.
Reacting to the Governor’s suggestion, Mr Adesina said all suggestions should be discussed.
He also pointed to the Federal Government’s Ruga program, which was rejected by some states.
“Nigeria is a peculiar country where the federal government has no land,” he said. And if states say they have no land for ranches, then another solution has to be found.
“So we need to discuss these things and appraise them critically until we can get to what we can call ‘the’ solution.”