Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has dismissed claims that killings by Fulani herdsmen in the country are rampant because President Muhammadu Buhari is Fulani and was therefore condoning the acts.
Adesina, who described the claims as disturbing in a video message he posted on his personal Facebook account on Wednesday, said killings by herdsmen predated the Buhari administration.
He reiterated that ensuring the security of lives and property of citizens was the responsibility of government, noting that the present administration was determined to fulfill this obligation.
“Something that is disturbing that I have heard about is linking those developments to the fact that a Fulani man is president, and so he is brooking such kind of evil acts,” Adesina said in the video.
“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.
“In 2014, there were about 16 of such tragic developments with with more that 231 people killed. And then 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.
“But I will just like to appeal to Nigerians that the Muhammadu Buhari government is determined to crack this issue, is determined to get to the bottom of it and it will get done.”