Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
The Department of State Services says it is probing the source of weapons being carried by herdsmen with which they attack their victims.
Apart from the DSS, it was also gathered that other security agencies were being dragged into the investigation.
It was learnt that the security agencies had been carrying out the investigations discreetly without the knowledge of the public.
A top security officer with the DSS, who disclosed this to our correspondent in Abuja on Friday, said that the recent call by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, in which he advised the Federal Government to probe the sources of weapons used by herdsmen accused of attacking Nigerian communities, was just “a reminder.”
Abubakar had in his Eid-el Fitr message delivered last Sunday in Sokoto said that “real herdsmen do not carry guns; they only move with their cows and sticks.”
He added that there could be bad eggs among the Fulanis, but maintained that those carrying arms and “perpetrating heinous killings are not herdsmen.”
He had tasked the Federal Government to probe the sources of the weapons and take appropriate action so as to minimise the attacks.
But, the top DSS source who spoke to our correspondent said that information reaching the security agency showed that some of the herdsmen migrated from other African countries into Nigeria.
He said that the herdsmen capitalised on Nigeria’s porous borders and also made use of the free movement agreement with members of the Economic Community of West African States.
Apart from these two reasons, which he said had been identified, he also said that some of the herdsmen “came into the country with weapons they acquired from war-torn countries like Libya and Sudan.”
He said the arrest of some herdsmen and terror suspects had alluded to these facts.
The source said, “We have been carrying out our investigation long before now. We have found out that some of these herdsmen are not actually from Nigeria.
“Some of them are from Niger Republic, Somalia and even from far countries like Sudan and Libya. They came into the country through the porous borders we have and also because of the free movement agreement among members of ECOWAS.
“We all know how many hundreds of guns have been seized at the ports. What about those that were not detected, especially those that were smuggled through the land borders?
“We are getting to the root of the matter. We are also getting to know that even terrorists get their guns almost from the same sources with the criminal herdsmen.”
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Source: The Punch