Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, says President Muhammadu Buhari has not been silent on the clashes between farmers and herders as alleged by some people.
Speaking on Tuesday, when he featured on a TV programme, Adesina said the president has spoken a number of times on the issue, and had made his position known that anyone who carries arms unlawfully should be arrested and prosecuted.
He said the president does not need to release a specific statement to show that he is not in support of suspected killer herdsmen, since he had addressed that previously.
Asked about Buhari’s reaction to the call by Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, that the movement of cattle from the north to south be banned, Adesina said it is one out of the several solutions that need to be appraised.
“It is not that the president hasn’t spoken, because a number of times, the president has spoken on the issue and his position has always been the same. Anybody, whoever he is, that carries arms unlawfully should be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
“The president has said it countless times. No matter who he is, where he comes from, criminality is criminality; anybody bearing arms unlawfully must be arrested and prosecuted.
“Every statement is categorical. Anything the president says is categorical, so you don’t need to ask for categorical statements again. Many times, he has spoken about this.
“Remember that some few days before the Ondo saga, there had been the Sokoto one that some people gave an ultimatum to Bishop Kukah to leave town. The presidency was against it.
“Would we say the president also spoke because bishop Kukah was Fulani? Not at all. The president is the president of the whole country, and peace and security devolve in him and he must do everything fairly and impartially at all times.
“When you have knotty issues like this, many solutions will be proffered; the president does not need to speak on each and every one of them. He does not have to. It was just an idea being proffered. It should be looked into, and then if it is a consensus, it should be adopted.
“But it is not as one idea comes, the president speaks on it; another idea comes, the president speaks on it; such must be a talkative president. Ideas will need to be discussed and critically assessed.”
The presidential spokesman said with the several solutions that have so far been proffered and discarded, Nigerians should be asked if they are interested in settling the issues to the advantage of all sides.
“There was a time the country seemed to have agreed that ranching was the solution to the problem, and when the federal government embraced it, some states said ‘we don’t have lands; we’ll not give our lands for ranches.’ And before then, it had been generally agreed that ranching is the solution,” Adesina said.
“Well, the federal government has no land for instance, and if states say we don’t have lands for ranches, then another solution has to be found. We need to discuss all these, appraise, until we come to a solution.”