HERDSMEN ATTACKS: PERPETRATORS OF VIOLENCE WILL FACE THE LAW- CDS.
As a result of disturbing activities of Fulani herdsmen across the country, the Defence Headquarters on Wednesday vowed that whoever is involved in the killing of innocent Nigerians must be brought to book and tried in line with the laws of the land.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin who made the declaration at a meeting held at DHQ, between the Committee set up to investigate alleged attacks and killings by herdsmen across the country and the leadership of Miyatti Allah, warned that “the military will no longer tolerate any excuse for armed men to unleash violence on innocent Nigerians whether they are herdsmen, farmers or any other armed group of whatever guise or name”.
Represented by the Director of Administration, Defence Headquarters, Major General Fatai Ali also disclosed that the military in conjunction with other security agencies will do everything possible to restore order in line with the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The law of the land must prevail. Nigeria is an undeveloped country and we can only develop and assure prosperity when there is peace and stability “the CDS said, adding, “I wish to assure that the military will tackle these issues and conduct all operations with professionally best practices and in line with the rules of engagement”.
“We also seek the cooperation of the media to help mitigate these kinds of happenings by ensuring responsible reporting and not whipping up ethnic and religious sentiment.
Speaking further, the CDS said the committee set up to investigate the herdsmen killing is headed by Major General Edward Nze pointing out its task will include visiting all the flash points where alleged herdsmen attacks had taken place as part of its investigation.
It will be recalled that the General Nze committee last week visited Agatu community where it assessed the level of destruction and had first hand briefings from eye witnesses on the alleged Agatu massacre.
Earlier, team leader of Miyati Allah, Senator Alkali Jageri noted that part of the reasons why Fulani herdsmen were flocking to the Southern parts of the country was because of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East and the issue Cattle Rustling in the North West.
According to him, over 20million cattle belonging to Fulani herdsmen were killed by Boko Haram terrorists since the outbreak of the insurgency. They displaced many Fulanis from their original abode.
Disclosing that in Yobe state alone about 3 million cattle were lost while in Borno, about 2. 3million cattle were lost, Senator Jegeri noted that in the past, there were gazetted and mapped out forests for cattle breeding and grazing in the North and there was no problem.
“Recently, the increase in population has wiped out the about 400 grazing and breeding grounds for these cattle which is a business venture where millions of people are engaged.
Expressing support for the military to take action against anyone found wanting in the killing of innocent Nigerians, the team leader urged the military to ensure that no herdsman is unjustly victimized or maltreated insisting that no true Fulani man engages in wanton killing and destruction of properly.
Senator Jageri was accompanied to the meeting by Secretary of Miyatti Allah, Ngale Zarma, Ardon Zuru Baba Othman and Alhaji Mamudu Kirwa.