President Buhari accuses politicians of taking advantage of herders-farmers crisis - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

President Buhari accuses politicians of taking advantage of herders-farmers crisis

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has accused politicians of taking advantage of the violent clashes between cattle herders and farmers and escalating the conflict for political gain.
President Muhammadu Buhari
Buhari made the allegation in the wake of the gruesome massacre of up to 100 people in Plateau State on Saturday, June 23, 2018, when herdsmen allegedly attacked people in 11 communities in the state.
Even though eyewitnesses have reported a death toll of well above 120, the Plateau State Police Command said on Sunday, June 24, that about 86 people were reported killed in the wave of violence with up to 50 houses burnt down.

The attacks reportedly took place in Xland, Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nghar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk in Gashish District, as well as Rakok, Kok and Razat in the Ropp District, leading to subsequent retaliation by locals who reportedly targeted Muslims in some communities.

Garba Shehu

In a statement released by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Buhari, Garba Shehu, on Monday, June 25, the President is quoted as remarking that politicians are using the conflict for political gain.

He decried how increasingly cheap human life has become in the country while alleging that "desperate people" are pursuing their quest for instability and chaos in the hopes that it would give them an advantage in the upcoming elections.

According to Garba Shehu, "We know that a number of geographical and economic factors are contributing to the longstanding herdsmen/farmers clashes. But we also know that politicians are taking advantage of the situation. This is incredibly unfortunate.

"Nigerians affected by the herdsmen/farmer clashes must always allow the due process of the law to take its course rather than taking matters into their own hands."

Shehu stated that information available to the Presidency indicated that about one hundred cattle had been rustled by a community in Plateau State, and some herdsmen were killed in the process.
In response, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, invited the aggrieved groups to plead against further action while the law enforcement agents looked into the matter. He said violence broke out less than 24 hours later.

Shehu further alleged that local thugs hijacked the situation and turned it into an opportunity to extort the public, and to attack people from rival political parties.

Continuing, Garba Shehu alleged that there were reports of vehicles being stopped along the roads in the state, with people being dragged out of their cars and attacked if they stated that they supported certain politicians or political party.

Shehu also said Governor Lalong had to dismantle a number of illegal road blocks set up by the thugs on his way back to Jos after attending the National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.

Recent herders and farmers clashes over the battle for resources have become a disturbing development as roaming herdsmen tend to graze their cattle on farmlands, leading to tension and sometimes violence that leads to deaths of people on both sides.

Recall that the herdsmen were also blamed for the death of 73 people in attacks launched in Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State in the opening days of January 2018. Hundreds of people have reportedly been killed in similar attacks with Taraba and Benue having the most attacks.

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