Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has spoken out against those he said were looking to benefit politically from the herdsmen killings in Adamawa and Benue states, accusing them of playing “dangerous politics”.
Osinbajo was speaking at the interdenominational church service for this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja on Sunday.
Osinbajo thanked the military for leading efforts to protect the rights of the people threatened by violent forces.
He said, “Yes, we have seen in the past few years how these rights have been challenged by the mindless extremism of the Boko Haram in the North-East, and how again our gallant military, police and civilian populations have risen jointly & gallantly to rout these criminal combatants and restore peace to most communities in that zone”
He however acknowledged growing threats and efforts geared towards tackling them, thus, “We have also seen even recently the killings that have resulted from attacks of herdsmen on farmers and communities and also where farmers and communities have attacked herdsmen, the spate of violence and loss of lives in Rivers State, & the Badoo killings in Lagos and Ogun States.
“The President has ordered the police and the armed forces to deal decisively with these killings and to ensure that the perpetrators are found and punished. The President has also in almost daily meetings, and strategy sessions with relevant security and law enforcement agencies worked to find lasting solutions”.
Osinbajo then spoke about attempts to exploit the tragedies to political ends.
The vice president said, “But we must also not permit the politicization of these tragedies. One of the reasons why for years Boko Haram thrived was because of the politicization of the insurgency. There were those who planning to benefit politically from the tragedies painted opposition as the perpetrators.
“Again we see some today who want to benefit politically from the killing of women and children in Benue and Adamawa, and as such stoking the embers of ethnicity and religion. By their hate speeches they want to fix the criminal acts of a few individuals on whole ethnic groups, they want to create a religious crisis if they are allowed.
“Our obligation is to stop them from playing dangerous politics that could threaten our unity and stability, just as we continue to enforce the peace in troubled areas. As Bishop Benjamin Kwashi said it is the poor and helpless who suffer the most from crisis, and it is they that we have sworn to protect”.
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