Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has told Nigerians in the Diaspora that the spate of kidnapping in Nigeria is exaggerated and not entirely new.
Speaking at a town hall meeting in New York on Sunday evening, Osinbajo said the social media “tends to be hysterical about practically everything”.
The vice-president spoke in response to several questions and comments on the security situation back home.
Many members of the audience had taken turns to express concern about the reported spate of killings and kidnapping back home, and wanted to know what the government is doing to address the situation.
He said, “With respect to general kidnapping which we have seen in parts of the country, again, this is not entirely new. In fact, some of the kidnapping stories you read or listen to are simply not true anywhere, some are fuelled by politics.
“There are cases of kidnapping, no question at all about that, but some of the more dramatic stories that you hear are simply not true.
“Every report of kidnapping we receive, we try to verify, and at the end of the day you find out that people just tell all sorts of stories,” he said.
The vice president said the federal government was working with the states to check kidnapping where it was actually taking place, using technology to track the perpetrators.
He said the efforts were already yielding results with several arrests made by security agencies in affected areas.
Osinbajo said the government was capable of addressing the security challenges, assuring Nigerians that the news “will be a lot better very soon”.
Turning to banditry and farmers/herders clashes in the North-west and central, the vice president described them as “resource conflicts”.
According to him, banditry, especially in Zamfara and Katsina, was more of a fight over the control of mining sites by armed groups.
He said the government was taking several measures, including shutting down the mines, to address the problem.
“In the north central, we have the livestock transformation plan to address the farmers/herders conflict.
“Ultimately, it is ranching that will solve the problem because you cannot have people wandering across the country with their cattle.
“It is not helpful to them, this they know, because ranching is more convenient and profitable.
“So, we are building herd dams in the northern states so that people don’t necessarily come down south in search for water and green pastures for their herds.
“We are also trying to ensure we provide grazing areas before we come to cattle routes,” he added.
Osinbajo said in fairness to herders, the livestock sector had not enjoyed the kind of government’s funding and support accorded farmers over the years.
He stated that there was also, the need for government’s intervention in livestock, and solicited private sector support and investment in that area, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Senate to convene security summit
The gruesome murder of the daughter of Afenifere leader, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, was hotly debated in the Senate Tuesday. Senators took turns to point a way out of increasing insecurity in parts of the country. At the end of the debate, the upper chamber resolved to hold a national security conference to address security challenges facing the country.
The resolution followed a Point of Order on the murder of Mrs. Olakunrin on Friday by gunmen in Ondo State along Ore-Benin Expressway.
Senator Ayo Akinyelure (Ondo central) who raised the Point of Order expressed regret over the death of Mrs. Olakunrin.
The Ondo Central senator feared that with the mounting security challenges, foreign investors would be scared of the country.
The proposed security summit is coming about 17 months after the Senate held a similar conference to address security challenges.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said that the security conference would be held in conjunction with the Executive arm of Government.
Deputy Senate leader, Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice, in his contribution to the Point of Order, said:
“It is unfortunate that her life was taken abruptly at her prime. I use this opportunity to express my condolence to the family.
“What has happened is not a targeted killing; it is a chance occurrence that could happen to any of us. All this has done is to heighten the insecurity.
“We all have a role to play to ensure this abnormality is restored. What I will not like to subscribe to is that this has been perpetrated by a certain group.
“From the various reports we have received in this chamber, Ibos have been killed, Yorubas have been killed, Hausas have been killed and Fulanis have been killed.
“So we must not succumb to the insinuation that what is happening is being perpetrated by a particular ethnic group. About two weeks ago there was a kidnapping in the creeks of the riverine area of Ondo State.
“The perpetrators were arrested and were found to be an indigene of the state. So I want to plead that we approach this with maturity.
“We should urge the security agencies to find a lasting solution to this problem. The vice president when he visited Ondo State suggested the establishment of community policing which I think would help in minimizing the menace of kidnapping, and these killings.
“I am sure we would all agree that those who are involved if they have good jobs if they have meaningful means of employment they may not be involved in these nefarious activities.
“Government also has to address the problem of employment which is a major issue.”
On his own, Senator Tolu Odebiyi (Ogun West) said: “I am angry because we have come here several times to deliberate on how Nigerians are being killed left and right.
“I grief over these killings because the family that lost their daughter is close to me.
“More importantly, we cannot just sit and watch how Nigerians who go about their lawful businesses are being killed left and right be it by hoodlums, be it by bandits, whoever they are.
“We have to demand action by security forces, we have to demand action from the presidency, we need to stand up and find a solution to this problem.
“There is nothing that we do here that tells if we don’t get our security situation right in this country.
“Only last week we discussed here the issue of the Continental Free Trade Agreement and all to my surprise Ghana has now been made as headquarters of this continental free trade Agreement.
“This is a major loss for this country, economically it has a major impact and these are the implications that happen when you don’t get your security situation right.
Jonathan wants technology used in fighting insecurity
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called for the deployment of new technology to confront the insecurity in the country.
He called for the establishment of a special unit similar to that of anti-graft agencies – Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) – to manage kidnapping and terrorism-related issues.
Dr. Jonathan spoke in Akure, the Ondo State capital, where he condoled with elder statesmen Chief Reuben Fasoranti on the death of his daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakunri.
The former president described Mrs. Olakunri’s death as “painful”.
Dr. Jonathan said: “We know we will all die and it does not respect age. But the circumstances of death matters so much. Particularly in this particular case, it is quite a painful incident.
“Every generation of human beings faces problems and that generation must find ways of solving that problem. Every government faces some unique problems.
“Insecurity has been with us immediately after the civil war. That was the first time we experienced armed robbery in Lagos. From armed robbery, it graduated to kidnapping.
“The first major kidnapping I describe as commercial kidnapping because some money exchanged hands which happened in 2006 when I was also a governor of Bayelsa State.
“From commercial kidnapping, it moved to terrorism in the North and now, some kind of terrorist attacks all over the country, when people just jump into the road and spray bullets on innocent people; that is a terror attack. You have no reason to attack somebody you don’t even know; that is terrorism.
“It is now a major problem to the country and my belief is that the Federal Government working with the state government must design a different approach.
“I was there as a president for some time; security challenges were there with me. I also inherited some. But it is getting worse every day. And we cannot continue to use the same old method.
“As security operatives, the police, the SSS, the armed forces, we must deploy technology and I believe if the Federal Government will need to set up a special unit, just like we set up EFCC and ICPC to handle specific issues of corruption, they will know that their total responsibility is to manage this issue of kidnapping and terrorist attacks on people going on the road or going to the farm.
Herdsmen kill daughter of Afenifere leader
The daughter of 93 year old Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the national leader of the Pan Yoruba Socio- Political group, Afenifere.
Mrs Funke Olakunrin was yesterday shot dead by suspected Fulani herdsmen along Benin/Ore expressway.
She was said to be traveling along Benin/Ore expressway when she, along with others, ran into the barricade mounted by the suspected Fulani herdsmen. The herdsmen have been terrorizing motorists along the Benin/ Ore highway in recent times.
Report has it that an eyewitness said that the 58-year-old died of gunshot wounds. According to the eyewitness, Olakunrin was suspectedly shot by Fulani herdsmen at Ore junction in Ondo State earlier on Friday.
The assailants wanted to kidnap her alongside other occupants of the vehicle. Reports had it that the suspected herdsmen abducted one of the occupants of the vehicle. The deceased however was unlucky as she was shot dead by the suspects.
Meanwhile, a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, has reacted to the killing. “This is the final straw. The Yoruba MUST act NOW. We must defend our people!”
Osinbajo charges armed forces
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has urged military officers to take pride in defending the country as they take pride in adorning their beautiful uniform. He said the military career, which is meant to defend the territorial integrity of the country, is the most civic service to the nation.
The Vice-President noted that it is beyond just earning a salary and getting a chance to wear the coveted uniform.
Osinbajo said it is about putting their lives on the line for the safety and welfare of millions of Nigerians.
The Vice-President stated this as the Reviewing Officer at the passing out parade of 187 new officers who were commissioned at this year’s Direct Short Service Course 28 at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base in Kaduna.
He told the new military officers that Nigeria was still grappling with several security challenges.
He said: “As you already know, this profession you have chosen requires absolute discipline, loyalty, and hard work. It is much more than just securing a job or earning a salary. It is more than just getting the chance to wear a coveted uniform or wield coveted weapons.
“This is the ultimate form of civic service to defend the territorial integrity of your country and to put your life on the line for the safety and welfare of millions of your countrymen and women. There is no nobler occupation than this one you have chosen.”
“You are passing out at a time our nation is grappling with an insurgency in the Northeast and the challenges of kidnapping and armed banditry in other parts of the country. You will, therefore, have come to terms with the fact that the days and weeks and months ahead of you will be extremely busy as you fulfil your responsibilities to the military and the nation.
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