Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has warned Nigerians against politicizing herdsmen killings across the country in recent times, saying such interpretation could inflame passion from certain quarters thus cause unpredicted crisis in the country.
Osinbajo, who said his warning was against the backdrop of rise in Boko Haram following politicization of the insurgents at the early stage of their heinous activities, asked Nigerians to be wary and not make similar mistake.
He spoke Sunday, during an inter-denominational church service for the 2018 Armed Forces Rememberance Day Celebration at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
Even as he noted that the killings were not heartless, the nation’s number two citizens insisted that Nigerians must not politicize the development so according to him, such could degenerate the country’s fragile peace.
“We must recognise that as dangerous and as deadly and heartless as these killings are, there is also the danger of our allowing politics to play a part as this could lead to what we sometimes say “pour petrol into an already burning fire”.
Herdsmen killings, “We must not permit the politicisation of this tragedy. One of the reasons why for years Boko Haram thrive, was because of the politicisation of the insurgency.
“There were those who are planning to benefit politically from the tragedy and they painted the opposition then as the perpetrator.
“Again, we see some today who wants to benefit politically from the killing of women and children in Adamawa, Benue, Jos and several other places stoking the embers of ethnicity and religion. ”
By their hate speeches, they want to fix the criminal acts of the few individuals on who thrives and hold people and they would want to create a religious crisis if they are allowed, “he said.
He said:” Our obligations is to stop them from playing dangerous politics that could threaten our unity and stability just as we continue to enforce the peace in the troubled areas.”
He eulogised military personnel, especially fallen heroes, saying but for their efforts, Nigerians would not have been enjoying its current peace.
Hear him:” I am especially honoured to be here today to join family and friends of our departed heroes to mark this day when we remember the incredible sacrifices that they made to fill the vacuum. ”
Everyone of the men and women of our armed forces was killed in battle took the decision that they were prepared to lay down their lives for flag and country.
“An incredibly awful decision indeed, this promises was tested and found to have been faithfully made.
“Many died in circumstances so terrified, many have left behind so much but the greatest love is of the family that they left behind wives, husbands, children, siblings and parents.
” We have seen in the past few years how this rights have been challenged by the mindless extremism of the Boko Haram in the North East and how again our gallant military, the police and even the civilian population have risen jointly to rout these criminal combatants and restore peace to most communities in that zone.
“We have also seen even recently the killings that have resulted from the attacks of herdsmen and farmers and communities and also where farmers and communities have attacked herdsmen.”
Osinbajo said the President Muhammadu Buhari, due to the state of violence and loss of lives in Rivers state, the Badoo killings in Lagos and Ogun, has ordered the police and the Armed Forces to deal decisively with this killings and to ensure that the perpetrators were found and punished.
“The president has also in almost daily meetings and strategic sessions with relevant security and law enforcement agencies work to find lasting and enduring solution to this issues,” he added.
In his sermon at the occasion, Bishop of Jos Province of Anglican Communion, Bishop Benjamin Kwashi, said the country was still yearning for rightful leadership that would take it to paradise.
Kwashi, who represented Archbishop Nicholas Oko, the Primate of Anglican Communion,regretted the rate of hunger, hardship and killings in the country and asked the authorities to immediately rise up to the occasion and halt the ugly trends.
The clergy, who applauded the roles the military has played to keep the country one, asked Nigerians to always pray for them to succeed.
“We gathered here to say to those of you who are still serving Nigeria in the Armed Forces that we appreciate you, we are very proud of you and we celebrate you. Thank you for the work you do for this nation.
“The Armed Forces remains one institution of hope of Nigerians. They are serving and laying down their lives against Boko Haram, against Fulani insurgency, against kidnappers, against men and perhaps women who do not wish this country well, many of them have died, some needlessly.
“Sometimes, when I look at the kinds of people that these people of the evil world are killing and I wonder how our political leaders sleep, I don’t know because I have conducted far more funerals in Jos than naming ceremonies and weddings.
“Children are being killed, the poor and what pains me is the poor that are been killed, the poor who will never see N200, 000 till they die. People who cannot do anything, they won’t even harm anybody those are the ones being killed.
“It’s being made by some of the colourations we give hiding the truth instead of facing the truth. The institution of the Armed Forces still gives us hope and we are trusting God that somehow solutions would be found.
“We gathered here also to remember those who have died in the line of duty, their families are grieving and will grief for a long time but they love this country so much and they die for it.
“We also gathered to say to the families of those who are serving and those who gave their lives believe me you are not forgotten.
“The only religion the Armed Forces have is to keep Nigeria one, it’s a task that must be done for at least that was the doctrine I got in my time.
” I will never forget as a soldier boy when the war ended in 1970. We knew only Nigeria and I believe that doctrine needs to be brought more than ever before even if there will be a restructuring, Nigeria must be kept together.” (Herdsmen Killings)