Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Senate Minority Leader, has said President Muhammadu Buhari must publicly condemn the illegal and violent activities purportedly condemned by Fulani herdsmen as part of measures to resolve the insecurity situation in the country.
Speaking in an interview on Monday, Abaribe, who represents Abia South Senatorial District, insisted that the president has not been categorical about denouncing the illegal activities of herdsmen.
According to the federal lawmaker, the president’s posture appeared to give fuel to the activities of the herdsmen.
“The President needs to come out and say I do not support these types of actions, these criminal elements. He has to come out and everybody sees that he is owning this problem,” Abaribe said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“We have never heard it. Where did the President ever say that these criminal herdsmen will never be tolerated in this country? What we’ve heard from 2016 all the way down is ‘live in peace with your neighbour’ and ‘try to accommodate your countrymen’ and stuff of that nature.
“And that now enables those who are committing these crimes, that there is no punishment.
“And when you see the rest of the country, eruptions here and there, all targetted at a particular segment of people, you should be very worried. And why you should be very worried is, what is it that gives these people the impetus to continue to commit these crimes?”
Responding on the same programme, the Presidency insisted that the president, through his spokespersons, has condemned such violent activities.
Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, described Abaribe’s comments as “uncharitable”.
“Senator Abaribe dwelt a lot, attacking President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that he has not, even at a rhetorical level, spoken against this kind of violence. That is most uncharitable.
“When Femi Adesina or myself speak for the President, people should accept that it is the President that is speaking.
“For this President, it is the actions that should speak for him. He is not a showman. He doesn’t have to be there,” Shehu said.