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2 Feb 2018

Criminals Have Hijacked Herders' Killings to Make Money - Osinbajo Committee Reveals

Following new reports that criminals have taken advantage of the herdsmen/farmers crisis to make money, government has been told to find another way to bring the matter under control.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
The Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee set up by the National Economic Council (NEC) to look into the protracted killings by herdsmen has raised alarm saying that criminals have taken advantage of the crisis to make money, ThisDay has reported.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Thursday at the end of a meeting of the Osinbajo committee at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Speaking at the State House, Abuja, Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said the committee had constituted a sub-committee chaired by the governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, to interface with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Dealers’ Association with a view to bringing the crisis under control.

He said since the committee could not guarantee an immediate complete end to the menace, its commitment at the moment is to bring the matter under control.

He also named Governors Simon Lalong and Bindow Jubrilla of Plateau and Adamawa States, respectively, as members of the committee, adding that governors of affected states such as Benue, Taraba and Zamfara will also be brought into the committee later.

According to him, some criminals have exploited the crisis to unleash mayhem because it has become an avenue for them to make money, insisting that setting up the committee to bring the matter under control had become critical.

“At the end of a meeting with the vice-president on the herdsmen-farmers’ clashes, there is progress. One, this committee is a NEC committee established by the vice-president so that this issue of herdsmen-farmers’ clashes will be put to rest.

“Though it has been a long standing problem since 2007 in some states, particularly in my own state, we have been battling with it. Now, the states and federal government under the leadership of the vice-president, we agreed to have a small committee at NEC so that the situation will not get out of hand, and so that it won’t be looked at as an ethnic or religious crisis.

“So, in our discussion today, we have set up a committee headed by the governor of Ebonyi State, while the Plateau and Adamawa State governors are members. Other people will be brought to join the committee from hotspot states – Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and Zamfara – where there are conflicts, so that they can interface with the Miyetti Allah and other groups to see how we can reduce this to the barest minimum.

“Why we cannot say we can put this matter to rest completely is because some of them have taken this as a money making venture. Some are criminals who hide under this to perpetrate this act.

“And as government, we have to take all the measures despite the fact that the army, police and all the security agents are on the field in the respective places.

“Still, we have to form this committee to interface with the actors so that this matter can be reduced to the barest minimum and possibly wipe it out,” Yari stated.

The meeting of the Osinbajo-led committee came just as reports indicated that armed gunmen suspected to be herdsmen on Wednesday invaded Kaguru village in Chukun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing seven people in the process.

Several others were also said to have sustained injuries from gunshots.

However, police sources said four people were killed while six others sustained injuries in the incident. A resident of the village, who pleaded anonymity, said the attack took place on Wednesday by 7 p.m.

He said the attackers were herdsmen who stormed the village in large numbers and started shooting and setting houses ablaze as soon as they arrived.

“The came around 7 p.m. on Wednesday and started shooting and setting houses ablaze. Seven people were killed on the spot, some people were wounded.

“We had to run to the bushes for safety. Right now we are living in fear of the unknown,” he said.

The spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Aliyu Mukhtar, could not be reached when THISDAY phoned him to confirm the incident.

But a senior police officer, who pleaded anonymity because it is not his duty to speak with the media, confirmed the incident.

He, however, said four people were killed while six others were injured.

“We received reports about the attack in Kaguru village and the report showed that four people were killed and six others were injured.

“I believe the PPRO (police public relations officer) will issue a press statement on the issue today or tomorrow, so you can wait for the it,” the police officer said.

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