Nigeria

Killings in Nigeria: Shun propaganda, work with Buhari – Presidency to UK lawmakers

The Nigerian presidency has reacted to the letter from UK lawmakers, legal experts and campaigners.

The lawmakers recently reported President Muhammadu Buhari to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth over the spate of violence and killings in Nigeria.

A statement on Thursday by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, told them to work with Buhari and not fall for propaganda.

“We ask our British colleagues to visit Nigeria, whether formally or informally to discuss all the points raised in their letter. Our government is made equally of Christian and Muslim cabinet members; our Vice President is an Evangelical Pastor. We have everything to gain as a country through international cooperation with concerned, senior British parliamentarians and policymakers.

“The threat to civilians and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic and religious groups from Boko Haram, banditry and land disputes is of serious concern to the President and the government. It is incorrect, however, to assert that the government has or is doing nothing to address these intertwined threats.

“Firstly, there are on-going efforts for the establishment of cattle ranches to prevent or curtail open grazing, the practice that brings herders and farmers into conflict. This is an age-old problem facing Nigerian Governments since the colonial days. However, matters of land distribution are dealt with at state level. This means willingness has to be shown by state governors to drive the process forward.

“Secondly, with regards to the long and determined battle waged against Boko Haram, Nigerians are aware of the efforts made by this Government. When the government came to power, the terrorist group held and administered an area the size of Belgium. Now they hold none. The terrorists are hiding out amongst remote forests and across borders.

“Thirdly, in the face of rising crime and insecurity, the government’s new community policing initiative was launched this month. 10,000 new constables are being recruited from the areas they will safeguard – as opposed to past practice. The government hopes this will bring policing closer to local communities. N13 billion has been earmarked for this initiative”, he said.

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