President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday stated that the rustling of about a hundred cattle belonging to herdsmen was largely responsible for the killings Plateau state over the weekend.
Buhari’s reaction was followed by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), which attributed the killings to “revenge”.
Although the President admitted that human life was becoming cheap in Nigeria, he blamed the politicians whom he accused of fuelling the crises in order to see if they could benefit from such instability ahead of the 2019 general elections.
In a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President was quoted to have said that “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”.
He asked those affected by the crises to always allow due process of the law to take its course rather than resorting to self-help.
Shehu has stated: “According to information available to the Presidency, about one hundred cattle had been rustled by a community in Plateau State, and some herdsmen were killed in the process.
“The state governor, Simon Lalong, had invited the aggrieved groups and pleaded against further action, while the law enforcement agents looked into the matter. Less than 24 hours later, violence broke out.
“Some local thugs then took advantage of the situation, turning it into an opportunity to extort the public, and to attack people from rival political parties.
“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.
On his way back to Jos after attending the All Progressives Congress (APC) convention in Abuja, the state governor had to dismantle a number of illegal road blocks set up by these thugs. There were also a number of dead bodies the thugs had killed, lying along the road.”