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Anger, Uproar Over Proposed Cattle Ranches In 10 States |RN

Fulani-Herdsmen3

•Igbo, Middle Belt, Yoruba groups reject FG’s plan

Chinelo Obogo

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has rejected the Federal Government’s N70 billion plan to establish pilot cattle ranches in 10 states.

The group, which comprises Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Middle Belt Forum, said in a statement jointly signed by Senator Bassey Henshaw, Yinka Odumakin, Prof Chigozie Ogbu and Dr. Isuwa Dogo, that SMBLF objects to government’s decision to spend public funds to build ranches.

On Tuesday, the federal government, announced plans to establish pilot ranches in Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara states and said it would shop for N70 billion to commence the project which it said would permanently solve farmers-herders crises.

But, the SMBLF has rejected the plans and advised the government to adopt recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

Although the group commended the government for embracing ranching, it, nevertheless, said cattle rearing is the private business where individuals make money.

“We commend the coming to terms with modernisation by the Federal Government, in embracing ranching for cattle rearers, against the erstwhile insistence on archaic open grazing and old century cattle routes.

“The 2014 National Conference had reasoned out this matter and recommended ranching as it is done in all civilized societies.

“The decision to ignore this sensible recommendation has led to a situation where untold terror has been unleashed on farming communities with needless loss of hundreds of lives in the last three years with not a soul under prosecution and top functionaries of the administration making excuses for the killers.

“We, however, object to the federal government’s decision to spend N179 billion of public funds to build these ranches over 10 years starting with N70 billion under this administration.

“Cattle-rearing is private business in which individuals make billions of naira with no record of what they pay as taxes and, it is unfortunate that the federal government is making this vexatious declaration while receiving the Chief Executive Officer of Friesland Campina of Netherlands without bothering to find out that that it was put together by cooperatives, with roots going back to 1879 and is one of the world’s top five dairy companies with annual revenue of 11 billion Euro.

“It is only reasonable that those who want to engage in the business should approach the states where they want to build ranches and acquire land to build such with firm commitment to abide by the rules of host communities. Rewarding the herders with public funds to build ranches would only mean that they have killed enough to beat the country into pacification mode and this can only encourage other people to arm themselves and cause sufficient killings to get the undue concession.
“What would our society become if fishermen, farmers and people in other trades begin to cause bloodbath so the federal government could give them special consideration?

“We call on the federal government to shelve the idea of committing public funds on ranches and allow the owners of the business to attend to their business needs in the spirit of “I belong to everybody” mantra of the president.

“To go ahead with the plan is to say that cattle owners own this government and that would make other segments of society to say “we have no inheritance in this arrangement.”’  (The Sun)

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Fulani Herdsmen Killings: FG Okays 94 Ranches In 10 States |RN

fulani-herdsmen1

Job Osazuwa; Agaju Madugba, Katsina

The Federal Government yesterday unveiled plans to shop for N70billion for the establishment and management of pilot ranches in 10 states for the first three years.

The listed states are Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara.

Benue State government, in reaction, however, said it has no land to give. According to the state government, Benue, being the food basket of the nation, does not even have enough land for cultivation of food produce let alone to give for ranches.

This was in response to the recommendations of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FEMARD) and the National Economic Council (NEC) livestock conference.
The Federal Government presented the plan in Abuja, to permanently solve the farmers-herders conflicts, which claimed thousands of lives over the years.

Hundreds of people were killed this year alone in violence involving nomadic herdsmen in states including Benue, Plateau and Kaduna.

Aside from the loss of lives, Federal Government said Nigeria loses about $14 billion (N5.04 trillion) annually to the conflicts.

The presentation, made by the technical adviser to NEC, Mr. Andrew Kwasari, was witnessed by public officials including the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh and Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.

Kwasari’s presentation showed that the plan stemmed from meetings and recommendations by the FMARD and the NEC in 2017. The NEC is headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with all state governors and some ministers as members.

The plan, tagged; “The National Livestock Transformation Plan,” was built on six key pillars.
They included economic investment, conflict resolution, law and order, humanitarian relief, information education and strategic communication as well as cross-cutting issues.

According to the plan, the economic investment pillar would support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches in seven pilot states for improved livestock productivity through breed (genetic) improvement and pasture production, in addition to efficient land and water productivity.

The government also said it would rebuild social capital at the community level to promote mutual trust, confidence building and consolidate the peace process, with regards to the conflict resolution pillar.

The plan also showed that the law and order pillar would support the strengthening of legal frameworks for improving livestock production, peace and harmony.

The fourth pillar, humanitarian relief would focus on rebuilding and reconstructing of common facilities – worship places, markets and individual homes that have been destroyed.

The fifth pillar would aid information, education and strategic communication on the development of grazing reserves in the frontline states, and mitigate the consequences of the conflicts such as wanton loss of lives, destruction of properties, including schools and facilities.

The cross-cutting issues pillar identified various issues necessary to realise the objectives of the programme, which included monitoring and evaluation; and research to contribute evidence base on programme implementation; as well as gender mainstreaming.

The 10 identified states would receive pilot interventions in line with the recommendations and specifications in the plan.

The plan would include the creation of large ranches in each of these states.

“A ranch design plan has also been proposed in models of various sizes clustered in 94 locations in the 10 pilot states.

“The government intends to transition pastoralism to ranching in order to reduce the struggle for common resources,” Kwasari stated.

He said in terms of size, the proposed ranch size models are: “Cluster 30, 60, 150 and 300 cows ranch models in a location within the donated gazetted grazing reserves; and a minimum 1000 cows breeder ranch in seven of the 10 pilot states.”

The well-equipped ranches would, however, not come cheap.

He said, “total spending over the 10-year period is slightly in excess of N179 billion.

“FGN-states funding is meant for the first three years in the pilot phase, totalling about N70billion.”
Some of the benefits of the plan included “expected milk output to be in excess of 200million litres by the second year of the project (but the first year of productivity.

“Expected milk output of 700million litres of milk by the fourth year of the project.”
Ogbeh said: “We want to bring this crisis to an end. We will begin action in a matter of days.”
He said nomadic herding was not sustainable and Nigeria must adopt ranching.
He added that there has been a “strong partnership” between the federal and state governments; a view also espoused by Ortom whose state witnessed some of the most violent crises involving nomadic herdsmen.

He, however, argued that apart from implementing the new plan, the Federal Government must ensure that perpetrators of previous killings in the state were arrested and prosecuted.
Meanwhile, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State said farmers should be held responsible for the widespread bloody clashes with herdsmen.

“It must be pointed out that the original grazing routes and grazing areas in many states of the federation have been encroached upon by people and this is one of the reasons herdsmen destroy peoples’ farms in search of food for their animals,” he said.
He spoke in a message he sent at the flag-off of the re-demarcation of cattle routes in the nine local government areas of the state.

He explained that the exercise would check the perennial conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, which he noted led to the loss of several lives and property.

Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Mustapha Inuwa, represented Masari at Kukar Babangida, in Jibia Local Government.

The project involved the re-establishment of 7,240 beacons in a stretch of 905 kilometres of local and international livestock routes.

Masari regretted that encroachment into grazing areas began several years back and but that most states failed to take necessary actions to address the matter.

He said: “We are determined to ensure peace and unity between herdsmen and farmers.”
“Our main focus is to change the unhealthy relationship existing between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, thus bringing to an end the culture of bloody violence.”

“Katsina State is the first to initiate and implement the programme but this cannot be sustainable if we do not complement the effort of government by ensuring that no one violates the rules of the initiative.”

The governor urged traditional rulers in the affected local government areas to give the committee executing the project, adequate support to enable it to discharge its assignment. (The Sun)

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Herdsmen Killings: CAN, PFN Kick Against Death Sentence On Five Christians In Yola

Samson-Ayokunle

Fred Ezeh, Abuja; Judex Okoro, Calabar

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) have kicked against a Yola High Court ruling which sentenced five Christians to death for allegedly killing a herdsman.

It was also a day CAN President, Dr Samson Olasupo, in a statement by his media aide, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, expressed worry that the Nigerian security system is gradually being infiltrated by people of questionable characters.

CAN be asked the Federal Government to prevail on Adamawa State Government, to reverse the death sentence passed on the five Christian youths who allegedly killed a Fulani herdsman.
The association made reference to recent media reports which indicated that Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri of a High Court in Adamawa, sentenced Alex Amos, Alheri Phanuel, Holy Boniface, Jerry Gideon and Jari Sabagi to death for culpable homicide.

The convicts were said to have allegedly, on June 1, 2017, at Kadamun village in Demsa Local Government Area conspired and attacked three Fulani herdsmen, killing one of them, Adamu Buba, whose body was later found in a nearby river.

CAN also insist it does not support jungle justice or criminality but was unhappy that hundreds of Christians in Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Plateau states, are killed on daily basis, with neither arrest nor prosecution from the government.

It, thus, solicited the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, in the death sentence passed on the Christian youths in Adamawa, even as it asked its legal team to carefully study the judgment to avoid a miscarriage of justice and recurrence.

On its part, the PFN National Publicity, Bishop Emmah Isong, told newsmen, in Calabar, yesterday said the leadership, at all levels, vehemently oppose some policies that tend to divide Nigerians along religious lines rather than uniting the people and that although they are not supporting criminality in any form, but there must seem to be justice done whenever there is a clash between Christians and Muslims.

“Although we are not backing anybody to commit a crime, we rather feel that justice must seem to have been done in the case of the five Yola people. The entire leadership of PFN protests totally against the judgment and call for an appeal to squash it.

“It is high time the federal government intervened, to ensure that those Christians are not killed to forestall further religious conflict within that axis. Instead of killing people for herdsmen, the federal government should rather find a way to curtail their activities and provide adequate security to all Nigerians, which the present administration promised on ascension to power in 2015.”  (The Sun)

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We’re Getting Ready For Referendum – IPOB |The Republican News

IPOB-Crowd

File photo: IPOB members

Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has said plans are at an advanced stage for the first in its three-stage referendum process, towards the peaceful, non-violent restoration of the nation of Biafra. 

IPOB said its decision to hold the first of the three plebiscite, later this year, has vindicated its resilience in sticking to the principles of non-violent agitation for Biafra, in the face of government’s brutality and treachery from enemies within.

A statement by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, said efforts geared towards the first referendum are gathering momentum, with dates for the exercise to be announced, imminently. He added that 40 million ballot papers are being printed for distribution to every clan and village in Biafraland, for all adults over the age of 18 to express their preference.

Powerful said: “Through this age-old democratic process, IPOB shall return power to the long-suffering down-trodden masses, to enable them to determine their destiny, which was cruelly taken away by successive Nigerian governments. This massive consultation exercise will guide all future IPOB activities and, hopefully, address the issue of lack of wider participation by the people, which some Nigerian government agents within have often cited as their reason for working against the emergence of Biafra.

“Those who set out to mislead the populace by equating IPOB’s call for a referendum as a call for war, in order to mask their betrayal of the people, will no doubt find another reason or excuse to object to this upcoming plebiscite.

“Our fight is against a deliberate government policy of mass poverty, irreconcilable and divergent value systems, marginalisation, deprivation, incessant state-sponsored murder, terrorism and unimaginable Fulani nepotism. IPOB’s call for the referendum has nothing to do with war.

“It is worth reminding Ohanaeze Ndigbo and their likes that on February 11, 1961, Nigeria conducted a referendum for the people of Southern Cameroon, to determine whether they wish to be part of Nigeria or merge with Francophone northern Cameroon.

“This referendum resulted in the peaceful secession of the then National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) controlled Anglophone Cameroon from Nigeria. In other words, they voted to leave Nigeria for good. That was democracy in action, not war.

“No war was fought and no ethnic group was threatened with annihilation. If those parading themselves as leaders, with their much touted academic accomplishments, are not aware of this relatively modern history, then the pervading ignorance in Nigeria, occasioned by the spectacular collapse of the education system, is more generational than earlier thought.”  (The Sun)

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Nigerian Mother Gave Birth To Entirely White Baby With Blue Eyes With Her White Husband

Mom exhausted after giving birth, but as soon as she looks down—’ is this my baby?’

By Epoch Uplift

Catherine and Richard Howarth, from England, were a happy newlywed couple when they learned that they were expecting a baby boy.

Richard was pale with reddish hair and Catherine was of Nigerian descent; all of her relatives were darker skinned compared to her, and everyone was looking forward to the adorable baby.

They could not have known they were actually blessed with a one in a million baby!

After a long labour in the maternity wing of the hospital in Milton Keynes, Catherine was already exhausted and “so drowsy on the narcotics.”

So when the mother looked down and saw her child for the first time, she could not believe what she was seeing.

“I looked and said: ‘Is this, my baby?’”

Richard, 34, the father of baby boy Jonah, was just as astonished as his wife.

Richard is white and Catherine is black – and the bundle of joy they had just received was white as well! And as it should turn out later—not only is Jonah white, he also has bright blue eyes!

“They placed Jonah on Catherine’s stomach and that was when I saw him first and then they gave him to Catherine,” the young father reflected on the precious moment of seeing his son for the first time.

It was hard to believe for everyone in the maternity ward at first and Catherine even had to ask the midwife: “You sure this is my baby? Is this my baby?”

The well-experienced midwife just laughed and said “Yes, yes! Of course, it’s yours!”

Of course, they were happy with having a healthy baby boy and Catherine said she just instantly fell in love with the little fellow.

“I looked and I said, ‘wow!’ ” she said. You know, as a first-time mother I said wow I can’t believe I created him. And I just fell in love with him instantly.”

It is common that babies from a mixed-race couple appear to be brighter at birth, but Catherine noted that Jonah’s ears are just as white as his face and hands. The ears are normally the indicator that gives the actual skin colour away.

The couple consulted with Dr Emily Grossman, who specializes in genetics, to solve the mystery of Jonah’s skin colour. The precious baby boy just resembles his mother’s features perfectly but has his father’s skin tone.

“The doctor’s said that it was a one in a million chance. There is one explanation that could explain why that would be,” Dr Grossman commented on the spectacular case.

“Contrary to eye colour, skin colour is controlled by up to 20 different genes rather than just one as with eye colour—each of which has a small effect on colour. You have almost infinite combinations of different colours from two different coloured parents,” she explained. “It is totally, totally by chance.”

The Howarths really had been blessed with a one in a million baby!

Catherine added,”We get so much attention just walking down the street. We always get stopped by people asking. First of all: he is such a cute baby. You should put him into baby modelling.”

The proud young mother sighed,”The first question they ask is: is he really yours? And they want to know the story straight away!”

But the proud parents are fine with the growing interest in their infant son as “he loves the attention. He is a very smiley baby. He loves different faces and is very sociable” Catherine said.

(Facebook)

(Uplift)

 

 

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Trump Announces Plans For Pentagon To Create ‘Space Force’ |RN

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer
Watch: Trump wants US to dominate space (Reuters)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Vowing to reclaim U.S. leadership in space, President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new “Space Force” as an independent service branch aimed at ensuring American supremacy in space.

Trump envisioned a bright future for the U.S. space program, pledging to revive the country’s flagging efforts, return to the moon and eventually send a manned mission that would reach Mars. The president framed space as a national security issue, saying he does not want “China and Russia and other countries leading us.”

President Donald Trump shows off a "Space Policy Directive" after signing it during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © The Associated Press President Donald Trump shows off a “Space Policy Directive” after signing it during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

“My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest spacefaring nation,” Trump said in the East Room, joined by members of his space council. “The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers.”

Trump had previously suggested the possibility of creating a space unit that would include portions equivalent to parts of the Air Force, Army and Navy.

But his directive will task the Defense Department to begin the process of establishing the ‘Space Force’ as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces. He said the new branch’s creation will be overseen by Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Trump said. He added: “We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.”

Donald Trump     © associated press Donald Trump

 

The president also used the White House event to establish a new policy for reducing satellite clutter in space. The policy calls for providing a safe and secure environment up in orbit, as satellite traffic increases. It also sets up new guidelines for satellite design and operation, to avoid collisions and spacecraft breakups.

Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the recently revived space council, and several Cabinet members, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, retired astronauts and scientists.

The council’s executive secretary, Scott Pace, told reporters before the meeting that space is becoming increasingly congested and current guidelines are inadequate to address the challenge.

AP

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Ekiti: Prepare To Accept Defeat In Good Faith, Atiku Tells APC |RN

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Atiku Abubakar

Kamarudeen Ogundele, Ado Ekiti

A former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, has called on the All Progressives Congress to prepare to accept its defeat to the Peoples Democratic Party in the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State.

He advised the party to be ready to follow the concession of defeat by the PDP in the 2015 presidential election.

The former Vice President, who was in Ekiti State with the members of the PDP Governorship Campaign Council on Monday, expressed satisfaction with the level of the preparation of his party for the upcoming governorship election.

He said, “We are satisfied that the PDP is prepared for this election. We hope that the APC will accept the outcome of the election. They should be democratic for the first time. We have seen how democratic they are, but for the first time in 2015 we had an opposition party taking over from the ruling party, we expect them to do the same.”

Answering questions from reporters, Governor Ayodele Fayose said that the only thing the opposition APC was hoping to do to win the election was rigging.

“They (PDP leaders) are here because they know that PDP has won this election. Everyone is on the same page with us. The only thing the APC is holding on to is to rig the election. We have told the Independent National Electoral Commission that this is a pointer to the 2019 elections. They should save their image.

“The country is bigger than all of us. Let me tell them that if rigging has been tried elsewhere, it won’t work here. The people will defend the election. We are aware of the plans to bring thugs here to disrupt the election; the people will stand up to them.

“The PDP leadership is in the state today (Monday) to strengthen our hands and assured us of their support. I want to say that this election is about the people for the people and it must be so. Ekiti election is not only about Nigeria, the whole world is watching.

“We are looking forward to having observers from all over the world because I am the voice they want to suppress. We are prepared for the election and we are going to win.”

On the entourage were the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; a former Senate President, David Mark;  a former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel; a former Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, and  Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe,  among others.  (Punch)

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