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Ndigbo knock president over “passive remark” on herdsmen attacks

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OWERRI—Angry reactions have started trailing President Muhammadu Buhari’s Democracy Day broadcast, especially as most respondents said he failed woefully in several regards, particularly as it concerned insecurity and killings by herdsmen in various parts of the country.

The president had in the speech said: “the unfortunate incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and farmers’ clashes in several communities, which had led to high number of fatalities and loss of properties across the country is being addressed and the identified culprits and their sponsors shall be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the guests during the Democracy Day Lecture held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja Tackling the president on the issue of insecurity, the Anglican Bishop of Okigwe South, Rt. Rev. David Onuoha, opined that far greater percentage of Nigerians are living in palpable fear of the direction the country is moving. “The fears are heightened every day by news coming from the print, electronic and the social media, as well as what the eyes can see about the growing level of insecurity in the land,” Onuoha said. While expressing happiness that Boko Haram has, according to the Federal Government, “been decimated and degraded to the point that they no longer occupy territories in Nigeria,” the Bishop was however disturbed that the terrorists and armed herdsmen are still wasting precious human lives and properties in the land. “The menace of killer herdsmen and their manifest proclivity for killing people in scores, destroying farmland and sacking communities are unprecedented. That they carry sophisticated weapons, operate freely, openly and escape prosecution, is as disturbing as it is intriguing,” Bishop Onuoha fumed. The fiery cleric further expressed serious concern that while the scope of operation of these killer herdsmen was expanding, “the government of the land’s incapability to arrest the situation remains a puzzle.” Bishop Onuoha was also of the view that “all these are happening at a time when the entire security architecture of the country are in the hands of people from a particular tribe and religion, and this makes it very interesting.” Reacting also, Imo State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Charles Babatunde Ezekwem said the president failed in securing lives and property. “Insecurity, like we have it now, does not respect political party lines. What is most intriguing is that each time the president talks about it, he plays it down so much that one wonders why he even delved into it”, Ezekwem said. Passive remark on herdsmen killings Reacting on the speech in Awka, some respondents said the president’s passive remark on the issue was an indication of lack of concern about the atrocities of the killer-herdsmen across the country. A businessman, Mr. Johnson Nwokike said Nigerians specifically expected the president to declare armed herdsmen terrorists, arguing that merely preaching for peaceful coexistence among Nigerians showed his support for the killings by the herdsmen. He said: “The president has the power to make a pronouncement that can end the attacks by herdsmen, but he decided not to do that. This shows that he is protecting his people, who have become merchants of death in many states of the federation. “One would have thought that he would use the coming election, which he wants to contest, to correct some of the anomalies in the policies of the present administration, but he appears not to care. This is very unfortunate.” A clergy man, Rev Charles Nwadike said he expected the president to use his last democracy day speech in his first tenure to win the hearts of most Nigerians, regretting that it would appear that he does not care about the daily loss of lives and property in many states through the activities of herdsmen. According to him, the issue of herdsmen is capable of causing the president his second term, adding however that it is possible the president may not care if he will win the election or not. Also, a trader at Awka Main Market, Mr. Chijioke Nwosu said: “The whole world is condemning the killings by herdsmen and the proper thing is for the Nigerian government to declare them as terrorists. We really find it difficult to understand why government is protecting these people who have caused pain to many families and communities,” Nwosu said.

Chidi Nkwopara & Vincent Ujumadu

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