Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the assertion that President Mouhammadu Buhari ignores the killings perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen because he is Fulani is unfair and untrue.
The Vice President said this Thursday , during a summit on national security organised by the Senate in Abuja, also said in some of the worst cases of killings, the security agencies were simply not there in time.
According to him, the Army has in the last few days scaled up its personnel and equipment in Agatu, Guma, Katsina Alla and Logo LGAs.
“Government fails in that responsibility often, but, I must say, never deliberately. Every killing diminishes us as people; every killing undermines the authority of the state. This is why the saying sometimes that because the President is Fulani he has ignored the killings by herdsmen is both untrue and unfair.
“In any event, the herdsmen and farmer clashes resulting in deaths had been with us for at least two decades and I have been working with him for three years now and I do not know any other issue that has given him more concern or on which he has spent more time than this particular issue?
“What then is being done. The approach of the government has been to deploy more mobile police force to flash points and also, both the Army and Air Force. The Nigeria Army units in Benue State, for example, have consistently maintained Forward Operating Bases at the flash areas in Guma, Logo, Katsina Alla and Agatu LGAs.
“The operation has a genetic name, Operation Zenda . The Army has in the last few days scaled up its personnel and equipment in Agatu, Guma, Katsina Alla and Logo LGAs . The Army has also recently deployed troops to Awe and Tunga LGAs of Nasarawa State in order to monitor and block the gaps in areas believed to have been used as flash points by armed herdsmen to attack communities in Benue State.”
He noted that next week as earlier been announced, the Army will flag off “Exercise Ayan Akpatuma” to checkmate the activities of armed bandits in Benue, Taraba and environs.
In Osinbajo’s view, the security forces have performed creditably – given the resources available to them.
The problem, he noted, is that in some of the worst cases of killings, the security agencies were simply not there in time.
Osinbajo quoted President Buhari to have said over the Benue killings, ”I am a soldier; I have seen death in warfare but the callous killing of innocent people especially women and children is cowardly and despicable in the extreme and it must be prevented or stopped and the perpetrators must be punished.”
He noted that in his statement of commiseration to the Governor of Benue State, President Buhari said: “This is one attack too many, and everything must be done to provide security for the people in our rural communities. I have ordered the security agencies to find and capture the perpetrators, they must face justice.”