Security agencies in Nigeria have arrested about 800 suspected violent herdsmen across the country, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN). Prof. Osinbajo made this disclosure in Houston, Texas in the US on Friday at a Town Hall event where he interacted with US-based Nigerians who asked questions live at the event and also via the Internet, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson Mr. Laolu Akande in Houston.
The Vice President fielded about 30 questions at a wellattended Town Hall event moderated by Mr. Rudolf Okonkwo of Sahara Reporters and Prof. Nimi Wariboko of Boston University. Asked about the issue of Fulani Herdsmen attacks in certain states across the country and what the Federal Government was doing to curb the problem, the Vice President said: “The President has given firm instructions to the security agencies to arrest not only herdsmen who are attacking communities anywhere in the country but anyone of them or anyone at all in possession of firearms.”
He added that: “There are about 800 of suspected violent herdsmen in the country that are currently in custody.” The Vice President, however, decried the slow pace of the criminal justice system which is affecting the prompt trial of such suspects. Prof. Osinbajo reminded the audience, however, that the issue of killings by such violent herdsmen has been a perennial issue especially as grazing lands continue to disappear over the years and the cattle feed on peoples’ crops on the farmlands.
He clarified that the matter just did not crop up when President Buhari assumed office. Vice President Osinbajo then urged against the tendency of interpreting the herdsmen issue as a religious issue, stressing that it is important for all Nigerians to refuse such divisive narratives and tendencies.
He reminded his audience that there has always been conflict between herdsmen and communities across the country and that people should disabuse the notion that the problem has just started because Buhari, a Fulani, is currently at the helm of affairs in the country.
Commenting on the recent arrest of judges in the country, Prof. Osinbajo told his Nigerian audience in Texas that impunity could be very dangerous in any sector and that the federal government is only exercising its executive function in attempting to check excesses.
The Vice President also responded to a question on the state of the nation’s economy and attributed the current recession to the loss of about 60 percent of government revenue due to pipeline vandalisation and endemic corruption in the system.
He, however, stated that getting back oil production is a sure way to get out of the recession and the Federal Government is working to sort it out. Answering question from the internet on when former President Goodluck Jonathan would be arrested, Osinbajo pointed out that the Buhari administration is not in the business of arresting just anyone anyhow. He said all the Buhari administration does is to empower the security agencies and the anti-corruption agencies to do their jobs, without the administration trying to teleguide the