By Ismaila Chafe
In the wake of outrage forced by the killings in Benue, Taraba and Adamawa States by herdsmen, a Presidential spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, has frowned at those accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of condoning the massacres occasioned by farmers/herdsmen conflicts across the country.
Adesina, who is the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a video message he posted on his personal Facebook account on Wednesday in Abuja, dismissed the insinuations that the President was condoning the killing because he is a Fulani man.
According to him, such killings by herdsmen predated the Buhari administration.
He said: “Something that is disturbing that I have heard about it is linking those developments to the fact that a Fulani man is president and so, he is brooking such kind of evil acts.
“I think that is very unkind. And I will try to back my position with statistics.
“In 2013, particularly, there were nine cases of herdsmen invading communities in Benue state alone and more than 190 people were killed.’’
The presidential aide also noted that in 2014, there were about 16 of such tragic developments with more than 231 people killed.
He further explained that there was a change of government in May 2015, but between January and May 2015, there were six attacks which left about 335 people dead.
“Now, the question is, during that period, did we have a Fulani president? This is showing us that the issue of herdsmen attacking settlements, attacking farmers, attacking communities is pure criminality and it is something that government must deal with.
“It is the duty of government to preserve the lives of the citizenry. It is the responsibility of government to maintain law and order and that this government is determined to do.
“Therefore, let nobody say that all this is happening because we have a Fulani president.
“We have had many Fulani presidents in the past and this issue of herders and local communities at loggerheads has predated this government,’’ he added.
Adesina, therefore, appealed to all citizens to continue to support and cooperate with the Buhari administration as the government was poised to find lasting solutions to the conflicts.
According to him, the government is determined to get to the bottom of it and it will get done.