Those who claim that no suspect has been held for the killings in the land are wrong, the Federal Government said yesterday. It tendered facts and figures to back its claim. In all, 947 suspects have been arrested in connection with the farmers-herders clashes. Of the lot, 841 are being prosecuted. In fact, 68 of the accused persons have been convicted.
The suspects were arrested in 11 states – Taraba, Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Niger, Zamfara, Adamawa, Yobe, Borno and Katsina.
Amnesty International (AI), which alleged that the government’s failure to investigate and bring to justice killers, fuelled the farmers-herders clashes, also got a reply – you are not right, the government said.
Atiku was quoted as saying: “It is now very clear, like Amnesty International said in its report, that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari has displayed gross incompetence and has failed in its duty to protect the lives of its population, which has witnessed many preventable deaths and lost many good hands.”
It accused Atiku of bad politicking and desperation for power.
Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed, who made the government’s position known at a briefing in Abuja, said there had been drastic reduction in killings resulting from the farmers-herders clashes.
He said: ”Let me say that I have gone through the statement by the Amnesty International on this. One thing they got right in their report is the cause of the killings. Amnesty said the root cause of this conflict has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity; and that it is largely about land and access to grazing.
“That is correct and confirms what we have been saying that the clashes are a result of environmental factors that have made the contest for resources, especially land and water, very keen; demographic factors and, sometimes, sheer criminality.
“But they are wrong, very wrong to suggest that the government has done nothing to stem the killings. I think their report is largely outdated.
“Everyone knows that the killings resulting from the farmers-herders clashes, and indeed killings from cattle rustling and other causes, have gone down drastically. This didn’t happen by accident, but by a concerted and determined efforts by the Buhari Administration. Let me list some of the actions that led to the drastic reduction in the killings:
Also, establishment of a new Area Command and two additional Divisional Police Headquarters in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.