Buhari should address Nigerians on herdsmen menace –Ogun senator

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Sunday Aborisade

The Senator representing Ogun West Senatorial District, Tolu Odebiyi, has lamented the unfortunate attacks on innocent Nigerians by armed herdsmen and urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to address the nation on the issue.

The senator told our correspondent on Saturday in Abuja that he would have moved his appeal as a motion on the floor of the Senate if the National Assembly was in session.

He also urged influential Nigerians to put pressure on the Federal Government to end the menace.

He said the President, in the national broadcast, should call for the seting up of an investigative panel to unravel the operations of the herders.

He also said Buhari should call for an immediate halt of open grazing and compulsory registration of all herdsmen in the country in order to identify the criminal elements among them.

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Odebiyi stressed the need to institute ward vigilante groups by the Federal Government with the support of the Nigeria Police

The Senator said, “Incessant kidnapping, maiming and harassment of innocent citizens, mainly rural dwellers and farmers, are carried out by bandits and herdsmen in the country.

“On December 12, 2020, a farm owner was reportedly killed by suspected herdsmen near his farm along Apodun village in Oyo State

“Also, on January 23, 2021,  residents of Ketu-speaking villages in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State were brutalised by soldiers who escorted herdsmen to graze in the communities.

“There have been consistent reports of banditry, kidnappings and killings in Kisi, and over 10 other local governments in Oke Ogun and Ibarapa, where farmers and innocent rural dwellers were brutalised or killed in their farms or while even resting peacefully in their communities.”

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Odebiyi said the instances he cited were carried out by criminal elements, who unleashed monumental afflictions on innocent villagers and citizens.

He said, “Chapter II Section 14(2)b of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides inter-alia that, the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

‘‘Also, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (a legislation which is domesticated in Nigeria) provides that the state shall ensure the freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of individuals and citizens.”

The Senator said, “Until the President addresses Nigerians on this unfortunate development, the menace, the killing, maiming and assaults being visited on our people will continue.

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“I am therefore calling on the President to address the nation on the degenerating  security situation and call on security agencies to mobilise to the areas of conflict.

“I am also calling on the Federal Government to come up with an alternative security framework that would engender a smoother herder, farmers and rural dweller relationship.”

Odebiyi said government should perfect necessary efforts  to deploy realtime technology in the management of the country’s vast ungoverned spaces.

He also asked the state governments to support rural dwellers and farmers by protecting them against the activities of armed herdsmen.

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