The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has accused the government of President Muhammadu Buhari of lying to Nigerians about prosecuting criminal herdsmen.
The group said this in its reaction to the statement by Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu who revealed on Monday that the federal government is prosecuting many criminal herdsmen across the nation.
He also urged the police to release the names of all those criminal herders being prosecuted particularly in Benue State.
“The fact now is having spoken against it, it follows that all security agencies must take their line of action from the president’s remark and do that which is necessary which is to stop the escalation of the violent attacks being witnessed in some parts of the country and ensure that it does not go beyond where it has been recorded.”
“I hope the headquarters of the police will take responsibility and publish the full list of Fulani herders who are undergoing trials in various states, particularly in Benue State.
“Trials are going on, convictions have been made and the president cannot be complicit. It is very uncharitable. The president cannot be complicit in the kinds of things being said of him,” Naija News reports Shehu to have said during an interview on Channels TV.
However, NEF through its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed in a reaction to the submission while speaking with Vanguard on Monday evening, noted that the group and Nigerians by extension are unaware of such prosecution as claimed by the presidential aide.
He added that while it will be a relief to know that the government is taking such action, it will be right for such names to be made public.
He said, “It will be reassuring to believe this (Garba Shehu’s comments). But the nation does not know of these thousands of trials and convictions unless these are secret trials.
“If Shehu’s revelation is true, the names and other details of suspects and trials should be made public. This is one way that the bandits will know that they can be prosecuted.
“Citizens will also know that government is serious about this problem of insecurity affecting the nation.”
Meanwhile, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Monday played host to four of his counterparts from the north at the Agodi Government House, Ibadan.
Naija News reports that the northern governors include: Atiku Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Abubakar Bello (Niger) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara).
Makinde received them at the Agodi Government House around 7 pm alongside top government functionaries. They were led into a closed-door meeting, which lasted about an hour with Governor Makinde.