The Nigerian Presidency has been urged to stop defending violent herdsmen, particularly from the Fulani tribe, where President Muhammadu Buhari hails from.
The rise in insecurity across the country has largely been attributed to herdsmen as arrowheads of the criminal activities.
While herders and farmers clashes is yet to end, kidnappings, killings and other crimes have continued unabated with security agencies failing to bring the culprits to book.
The latest crime said to have been committed by the pastoralists is the killing of Funke Olakunrin, a daughter of Reuben Fasoranti who heads Afenifere, a socio-cultural group in the South-West region.
Mrs Olakunrin was reportedly killed on Friday, while journeying back to Lagos State from Ondo State, where she went to see her dad. Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen came out from the bush to attack the vehicle in which the victim was in, an attempt to escape by reversing the said Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep angered the attackers who opened fire on their target killing the lady.
In a statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, herdsmen were exonerated from committing the crime while armed robbers were accused as having carried out the act.
Reacting to the claim of Mr Adesina made before the Ondo State Police Command reiterated same, Nnia Nwodo, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo urged the presidency to stop defending herdsmen whenever they are accused.
“The continuous rampaging, plunder, rape, kidnapping and murder of innocent Nigerians by armed Fulani herdsmen has climbed to a most worrisome crescendo,” the statement read.
“The inability of our security forces to disarm and prosecute these criminals gives credibility to a growing story of collusion.
“Recently, the British high commission in an advisory to British citizens in Nigeria declared 24 of our states unsafe. In the midst of these killings, their parent organisation has the effrontery to give ultimatums to the president of Nigeria to rescind his unpopular suspension, instead of cancellation of his RUGA development policy.
“Such inciting, provocative and treasonable outbursts have only been greeted by an advice that they should respect the Presidency and an unrelenting resolve to force Nigerians to accommodate such murderers in their homes under a policy that violates our constitution and all laws and court judgments relating to land use administration.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo warns that this latest murder is capable of throwing our country into uncontrollable break down of law and order. The hasty conclusion by the federal government that she was killed by armed robbers and not the suspected herdsmen who are known to have laid siege on all parts of the country perpetrating acts of banditry and killings further exacerbates the already tense situation,” it added.
Under the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, herdsmen under their umbrella body, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), has been likened to socio-cultural groups in the southern part of the country.
Another scenario where the presidency has defended violent herdsmen was when it engaged Amnesty International, saying the pastoralists has not killed much under Buhari unlike during other past government.