Security agencies in Nigeria have arrested about 800 suspected violent herdsmen across the country, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Prof. Osinbajo made this disclosure in Houston, Texas, US on Friday at a Townhall event where he interacted with US-based Nigerians who asked questions live at the event and also via the Internet, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson Mr. Laolu Akande in Houston.
A statement by Laolu Akande last night said the Vice President fielded about thirty questions at a well-attended townhall event moderated by Mr. Rudolf Okonkwo of Sahara Reporters and Prof. Nimi Wariboko of Boston University.
Asked about the issue of Fulani Herdsmen attacks in certain states across the country and what the Federal Government was doing to curb the problem, the Vice President said “the President has given firm instructions to the security agencies to arrest, not only herdsmen who are attacking communities anywhere in the country, but anyone of them in possession of firearms.”
He added that: “there are about 800 of suspected violent herdsmen in the country that are currently in custody.” The Vice President however decried the slow pace of the criminal justice system, which is affecting the prompt trial of such suspects.
Answering question on the need for community policing, the Vice President indicated that community policing via State Police is indeed a cardinal program of the ruling APC. However, the party agenda cannot be introduced until there is an amendment to the nation’s constitution.
He gave a scenario where a policeman from Bayelsa State for instance is working in Borno State, where he cannot even speak the language or understand the culture of the people he is policing, noting that such is counterproductive.
The current situation where police activities is controlled at the federal level sure has some limitations, he conceded, adding that the “the Federal Government is currently working to introduce community policing that would be in line with the constitution.”
Commenting on the recent arrest of judges in the country, Prof. Osinbajo told his Nigerian audience in Texas that impunity could be very dangerous in any sector and that the Federal Government is only exercising its executive function in attempting to check excesses.