Nigeria: Kidnapping in Nigeria Exaggerated, Says VP Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the federal government is not indifferent to the spate of kidnapping and banditry in the country.

Osinbajo quickly added that the kidnapping was not new in Nigeria, adding that it was being exaggerated.

The vice president, who spoke at a town hall meeting in New York on Sunday evening, said that the social media was blowing kidnap cases out of proportion.

His comment was a response to several questions he was asked on the security situation in Nigeria.

Members of the audience had taken turns to express their concern about the reported spate of killings and kidnappings back home and wanted to know what the government was doing to address the situation.

Osinbajo said that "with respect to general kidnapping which we have seen in parts of the country, again, this is not entirely new. In fact, some of the kidnapping stories you read or listen to are simply not true anywhere, some are fuelled by politics.

"There are cases of kidnapping, no question at all about that, but some of the more dramatic stories that you hear are simply not true. Every report of kidnapping we receive, we try to verify, and at the end of the day you find out that people just tell all sorts of stories," he said.

The vice president said that the federal government was working with the states to check kidnapping where it was actually taking place, using technology to track the perpetrators.

He added that the efforts were already yielding results with several arrests made by security agencies in the affected areas.

Osinbajo said that the government was capable of addressing the security challenges and assured Nigerians that the news "will be a lot better very soon".

Turning to banditry and farmers/herders clashes in the North West and North Central zones, the vice president described them as "resource conflicts."

According to him, banditry, especially in Zamfara and Katsina States, was more of a fight over the control of mining sites by armed groups.

He said that the government was taking several measures, including shutting down the mines, to address the problem.

"In the North Central, we have the livestock transformation plan to address the farmers/herders conflict. Ultimately, it is ranching that will solve the problem because you cannot have people wandering across the country with their cattle.

"It is not helpful to them, this they know, because ranching is more convenient and profitable. So, we are building herd dams in the northern states so that people don't necessarily come down south in search for water and green pastures for their herds.

"We are also trying to ensure we provide grazing areas before we come to cattle routes," he added.

Agency report quoted Osinbajo as saying that in fairness to herders, the livestock sector had not enjoyed the kind of government's funding and support accorded farmers over the years.

He said that there was also the need for government's intervention in livestock, and solicited private sector support and investment in that area.

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