Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described the recent killings and violence in Plateau State as vicious and horrible.
Professor Osinbajo restated government’s resolve to find permanent solution to the problem when he visited the state on Monday.
He met the leaders and representatives of communities affected by the conflicts, telling them that government would ensure that the perpetrators of the recent attacks be brought to justice.
“We must condemn killings of any kind. It doesn’t matter whether these killings are by herdsmen killing villagers, or whether it is villagers who in one way or the other have killed others, including herdsmen. I think it is important that we condemn these killings, in particular these killings that have taken place where so many people have lost their lives in the last few days. There is no reason at all anyone who commits these offences will escape,” Professor Osinbajo said.
He stated that security has been beefed up by the deployment of more police and military personnel to the affected areas.
“The head of the Operation Safe Haven as well as the DIG (Police) have confirmed to me that some arrests have been made and those persons will face the law, and that more arrests will be made. I think it is important that we ensure that there is justice. I want you to be sure that we will do so…We will make sure that those who have been arrested are duly prosecuted and that others who are engaged in this heinous conduct are also arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
Implementation of suggestions
The Vice President promised that government would look at how to implement several suggestions proffered by the leaders in resolving the herdsmen and farmers conflicts in the state.
He enjoined the community leaders to ensure that cycle of violence was not allowed to continue.
“As I said to the community leaders, issues like these are dealt with and resolved by men and not spirits…It is those of us who are alive and well today, those of us who are leaders, community leaders, leaders of states, local and Nigerian governments, who must resolve these issues,” he explained.
Working for peace
The Vice President stated that resolving the disputes was “a give-and-take issues” and challenged the leaders to be bold enough to work for peace in their communities.
“There is no zero sum here, with so many losses, so many deaths over time. But we must find a solution, and the solution is in the type of sacrifices that leaders are prepared to make,” he said.
Professor Osinbajo expressed government’s condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones and friends in this last spate of killing and prayed God to console them.
Welfare and rehabilitation
He said government would see to the welfare and rehabilitation of displaced persons from the affected communities.
“One of the critical issues that was raised is the fact that people who have been dislocated from their villages and from their homesteads and who have not returned to those villages and home steads and those places have been taken over. I think that this is a serious issue, and an issue that the Nigerian government, in collaboration with the state government, must take up, which we’ll ensure that we will take up,” Professor Osinbajo said.
The Vice President stressed that relief materials would be made available by the National Emergency Management Agency. He promised that the N10 Billion fund approved for rehabilitation of farmers of the affected communities by the President would be made available to Plateau State.
He said government would look at how to implement other suggestions going forward.
These would include the permanent positioning of security agencies in certain communities that are prone to violence.