By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
Senate has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to employ all the arsenal within his office as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to end the incessant killing of innocent Nigerians by suspected herders.
This plea by the Senate was in response to the fresh attacks by suspected herdsmen on the people of Dekina and Omala local government areas of Kogi State on Wednesday which was reported to have claimed 32 lives.
This according to the upper legislative chamber, would make the oath of office he took on the 29th May 2015 as protection of lives and property of Nigerians meaningful.
It specifically urged the President to direct the police and the military to move in and bring the situation under control, just as it called on the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to apprehend the perpetuators of the attacks.
The senate further charged the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to send relief materials to the displaced victims in the state.
These resolutions were sequel to a motion by Senator Atai Ali Aidoko (PDP Kogi East) on alleged killings carried out in the said communities by Fulani herdsmen.
In the motion, the senator claimed that 20 and 12 people each were killed in Dekina and Omala local government area, 12 in Omala while another five were maimed in the two areas allegedly by Fulani herdsmen.
He said: “This is a violent attack on the people of Oganenugo in Dekina Local Government and Omala Local Government of Kogi state by Fulani herdsmen.
“According to him, on Wednesday 14th March 2018, no fewer than 20 people were killed in a violent attack on the people of Dekina Local Government and 12 people gruesomely killed in Omala local government of Kogi state by Fulani herdsmen”.
He added that despite the widespread condemnation of the killings going on in other parts of the country, the perpetrators of the crimes have not been arrested and persecuted by the Nigerian Police Force, saying this has led to the continuation of the killings in the country.
However, Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, cautioned Aidoko Ali against tagging the killers ‘Fulani herdsmen.’
“I want to give a perspective just for the guidance of this Senate.
Before we went to Zamfara the impression I had, and possibly all of those of us on the team, was that Fulanis were fighting the Hausas. Or to say in a different way, that the farmers were fighting with the herders. It was totally different.
“Armed bandits were killing both farmers and Fulanis. We must not allow ourselves to play into the hands of these criminals if we continue to use certain names or nomenclatures, we may be getting some people to sympathise with criminals.
“I will advise that we henceforth look at this people as armed bandits and criminals, if we say Fulani, the most innocent Fulani man will start to think this is against him and he would sympathise with them and not cooperate with us. Armed bandits can be anybody whether is Fulani, Igbo.”
He added that Nigerian security operatives are overstretched hence, their incapability of securing vulnerable areas.
Dino Melaye, (APC Kogi West), charged the federal and state governments to take swift action on the development.
“Kogi is in the news again for the very wrong reason. The responsibility for the protection of lives and properties is the primary prerogative of government at the state and federal level.
Enough of the excuse that our security agencies are over stretched.
“When governors, president, senators took oath of office, we promised to defend the constitution and lives and properties of those who voted for us. There has been gross display and incompetence at the federal and state level. Let us for once call Mr. President.”
He also blamed the killings on Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello, who is his political foe.
He said an invitation by the governor that Fulani herdsmen “should come and reside in the state allowed the killers the freedom of movement”.
“What we have in Kogi is not news and we expected it when my own governor told the world that anywhere they chase Fulani man away, that Kogi state is open for them to come. He was the first to say that Kogi should be used as for colony. If today, we have these criminals capitalising on the verbal diarrhoea of an individual, then automatically we invited those crises.
“Finally, on these killings, Kogi State Government has not made any official statement. Killings of this magnitude, no statement, no sympathy, no visit to the site of the incidence, nothing. This type of insensitivity to the people of Kogi state is appalling.”
Adamu Aliero (PDP Kebbi-PDP) moved that the resolutions of the security summit recently organised by the National Assembly be implemented.
James Manager (PDP Delta South) urged the federal government to facilitate the arrest and prosecution of offenders in order to nip the killings in the bud.