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Formal President Goodluck Jonathan speaks on ‘756 Nigerians dying under his watch’

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has
reacted to the claims by the presidency that
756 Nigerians were killed under his
administration.
Jonathan in a statement issued by his
media office to DAILY POST on Thursday,
described the statement as mischievous and
false.
He blasted the special adviser on media and
publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari,
Femi Adesina for trivalizing such heinous
crime.
He further condoled with victims of Benue,
Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa and Nasarawa
states, over the recent spate of killings by
Fulani herdsmen.
The statement reads “Former President
Jonathan wishes to express his condolences
to the government and people of Benue,
Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa and Nasarawa
states, over the recent spate of killings
occasioned by herdsmen/farmers clashes.
“His heart bleeds for the sufferings of
Nigerians and he calls on the authorities to
do everything in their power to put an end to
these needless killings.
“Having said that, 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 trivialized.
“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.
“The military immediately obeyed the then
President’s orders and sent troops and
helicopters to Barkin Ladi Local Government
Area. They ordered all residents to leave
their residence for temporary
accommodation provided for them so they
could conduct a joint air and ground
operation to flush out the armed herdsmen
who had been suspected of killing innocent
Nigerians.
“The residents complied and the soldiers
went in and not only did they clear the area,
they made arrests which led to trials and
convictions.
“We wish to remind Nigerians that when this
episode was being carried out, it was
precisely members of the opposition who
later became the All Progressive Congress
that heavily criticized then President
Jonathan’s orders.
“In fact, a prominent member of the APC
and now the Governor of Kaduna State and a
known confidante of the President, Malam
Nasir El-Rufai tweeted his now infamous
tweet on the 15th of July 2012 threatening
that “We will write this for all to read.
Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani
takes a loan repayable one day no matter
how long it takes.” (his exact words).
“So the question Nigerians need to ask
instead of allowing themselves to be
distracted by the statement from the
Presidency is this: Are Nigerians now
repaying the ‘loan’ that El-Rufai threatened
to make Nigeria repay?
“If the then President was not active in
decisively sending the military after
herdsmen, why would El-Rufai have been so
pained to have made such a statement? Let
it be known that the former President views
herdsmen who kill unprovoked and with the
intention of advancing their own economic
and other interests as terrorists, pure and
simple. Not only did he treat them as
terrorists, he also put the military on high
alert to protect Nigerian lives.”

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