FG Inaugurates Committee on Herdsmen Killings

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Bring killer-herdsmen to book, Dickson tells FG

Deji Elumoye and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

The federal government on Tuesday inaugurated a technical committee on the crisis between pastoralists and farmers to proffer solutions to the unending killings across the country.

This is coming as the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, has condemned the inaction of the federal government to bring to justice the identified killer- herdsmen in the country

The Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Dan Ali (rtd), who inaugurated the panel in Abuja, said “the crisis has assumed a very disturbing proportion where innocent lives as well as property are being lost almost on a daily basis”.

He said, “the ministry of defence under my leadership is very disturbed; hence we deemed it necessary to convene a committee to dispassionately investigate the crisis and give us some fundamental issues surrounding the crisis in order to advise the leadership of our dear countrys on the appropriate steps to take to bring the senseless killings to an end”.

Giving the terms of reference, he said “the members of the committee are to determine the remote and immediate causes of the crisis, determine the triggers as they occur across the country”.

“The committee is also to determine the extent of foreign involvement if any, as well as determine the extent of any economic, political and ethnic linkages to the crisis.

Reacting to the charge that several committees were set up for the same purpose, the minister said, “It is true that there are so many reports and submissions about these attacks and killings. What we are doing with this committee is to get these various submissions articulated.

“It will enable us come up with a durable document and to be able to advise the leadership of our nation on the appropriate steps to take to bring the senseless killings to an end”.

While noting that membership of the committee was still open to people with useful contributions, the minister said the committe would go a long way to achieve its purpose.

“Your selection is based on our belief in your integrity, capacity, and experience of the issues at stake”, he said.

Chairman of the Committee, Brigadier General Umar Ibrahim, who is also the Coordinator of Peace Support Operations at the ministry of defence, in his response said the assignment which has a three-week duration would be completed, with work starting immediately.

Meawhile, Governor, Dickson, has condemned the inaction of the federal government to bring to justice identified the killer-herdsmen in the country.

Dickson who spoke with reporters yesterday after paying a solidarity visit to elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, in Abuja over the recent invasion of his residence by policemen, said known killer herdsmen that wreak havoc in some parts of the country were yet to be prosecuted by the federal government.

He alleged that the suspects were being shielded from prosecution by the federal government.

“The criminals are known. Those who are herdsmen and are killing people are known . They are being protected and not prosecuted as the case should be.

“Those who hide under politics to commit these crimes are known and protected and not harassed by the authorities.”

Dickson added that while criminally-minded people were being protected by the federal government, indigenes of Bayelsa State were being harassed on daily basis by security operatives.

According to him, “homes of our people in Bayelsa are being invaded over frivolous and unsubstantiated allegations of stockpiling arms and hard currency

“In some instances, foundation of houses was dug and at the end of the day nothing incriminating was found in those houses because the security agencies never bothered to ascertain the veracity of the allegations.”

While condemning the police invasion of Clark’s residence, the governor emphasised that “there was no reason under
the sun for the police to associate a 92-year- old with gun running.”

The Ijaw nation, Dickson further said, will not be cowed by the invasion of the home of its leader.