Reno Omokri, a former aide of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, says herdsmen were decisively dealt with under his former principal.
He said this in reaction to the statement of Femi Adesina, spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari, that 756 people were killed during the period Jonathan was in office.
Describing Adesina’s comment as “mischevious”, Omokri said Jonathan was not inactive in the face of the herdsmen killings.
“Let it be known that we find the statement by the presidency stating that 756 Nigerians were killed by Fulani herdsmen in two years under the government of former president Jonathan as a mischievous assertion by a callous presidential spokesman who thinks that death is something to be trivialised,” the statement read.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let it be known that the figure of 756 is wrong. But the issue is not that it is a false figure, the issue is that former president Jonathan was not inactive in the face of Fulani herdsmen killings during his presidency.
“While in office, the former president knew that the capacity of the Nigerian police would be challenged by the sophistication of arms available to the herdsmen and so after he was elected president and sworn in on May 29, 2011, former president Jonathan summoned a National Security Council meeting and ordered that Fulani herdsmen attack must be decisively dealt with.
“In July 2012, the Plateau state government reported that herdsmen killings had reached a head in Barkin Ladi local government area leading to tens of deaths of Nigerian citizens by Fulani herdsmen, many of whom were not even Nigerian citizens.
“Then President Jonathan, when briefed about the situation insisted that there would not be such impunity under his leadership and immediately ordered the army and the air force to go to the affected communities and fish out the perpetrators and bring them to book.
“Not only did he treat them as terrorists, he also put the military on high alert to protect Nigerian lives.
“In conclusion, we state that any group who kills to advance their agenda is a terror group and failure to address them as such is a disservice to the Nigerian people.”