Adesina also condemned Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, for being political in his criticism of President Buhari.
The presidency said bombing attacks have reduced since President Mohammadu Buhari took up office in 2015.
Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, said this in an interview with the Crest newspaper.
He also condemned Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, for being political in his criticism of President Buhari.
Adesina said: “Whatever former President Obasanjo says now cannot be taken as neutral. It cannot be taken as something from a disinterested party because he has a political position where he anchors everything he says. His opinion then cannot be taken as the gospel truth any longer.
“It can only be the opinion of one man and he has the right to that opinion.
“No doubt, there are security challenges in the country, but are things better than 2015? Yes, things are better than in 2015.
“In 2015, do you know how many bombs went off daily in this country? Yes, daily! And with scores dead in different parts of the country! “It happened in the North-East; happened in the North-West; happened in the North-Central. Abuja, the federal capital, was not immune from it. But, that has largely been reduced.
“You hardly hear of those bombs going off again because the government has made a big difference. Now, we have challenges in other areas-kidnapping, armed banditry, armed robbery, and all that. Yes, there are challenges but the government exists to solve challenges. And this government is doing its best to solve the challenges. People also exaggerate things for political reasons. We are not saying those challenges are not there. Of course, they are there.”
The presidential spokesman said Nigeria would not disintegrate contrary to predictions.
He said: “But then to now say the entire country has been taken over, to say that the government is failing, is political. Nigeria is still there, it is very solid. It will remain solid. It will remain one, and the challenges will be overcome.
“Government is not the only institution responsible for security. It is a collaborative thing between the government and the governed. Government at the federal level is not the only one responsible for security.
“But what do we find? You find some people, they will go and cause trouble at the local government (level), and they will be calling President Buhari, who is at the centre, to come and resolve it.
“You have a government at the federal level; you have a government at the state level. And you have a government at the local level. All of them-federal, states, and local governments, must collaborate to end this security challenge. The people, as well as the traditional institutions, have their roles to play. It is a collaborative thing.”
Concerning the menace of herders-farmers clashes nationwide, Adesina said the challenges were aggravated by those he termed as “political Fulani herdsmen” to de-market the administration of Buhari.
He said: “The herdsmen-farmers clashes are causing security challenges. There are also political Fulani herdsmen; those ones have been created by hidden hostile hands who want to de-market the government.
“The Fulani issue is there but it is no way near what has been trumpeted, and what has been claimed. To some people in the media, there is no other criminality in the country except Fulani herdsmen.
“Even when other criminals strike, it is Fulani herdsmen. It is stereotyping. It is finger-pointing which is not based on facts. I am not saying that there are no challenges about Fulani herdsmen due to climate change, dwindling resources and things like that. Yes, we have those challenges. But it is not every criminality perpetrated in the country that is done by the Fulanis.
“We have always lived with Fulani herdsmen in this country. They drive their cattle from different parts. When the rains are here, you see them. They move southwest and they get to forage for their cattle and all that. And when the rains go and the water recedes, you find them following the water as it recedes. In the process, they drive their herds into farmlands and it becomes an issue. There was a way that the problem was settled in this country before.
“The problem was there in the first republic, even in the second republic. But it was not as bad as we have it now because climate change has affected vegetation and the water table. Lake Chad, for instance, is ten percent of its former size. That has seriously affected grazing and availability of resources because the herdsmen follow the water. They follow where there is green grass to feed their animals.” (Sahara Reporters)
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** Commends S/East govs for cordial relationship with cattle breeders
By Vincent Ujumadu Awka-
THE South East branch of Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Tuesday denied the alleged plan by members of the group to attack the five South East states over their governors’ alleged refusal to allocate grazing land for herdsmen in the area.
In the said report, which was trending in the social media, Miyetti Allah was quoted as warning that since the South East governors had refused to give them land for grazing, such land would be taken by force by herdsmen.
Chairman of Miyetti Allah in the zone, Alhaji Gidado Sidikki, who addressed reporters in Awka said there was no iota of truth in the report, adding that the governors in the zone should rather be commended for creating an enabling environment for peaceful coexistence in the zone.
The statement read: “Few days ago, we woke up to a malicious publication in the social media purporting a phantom statement in Abuja entitled ‘South East will boil any moment from now because of their stubbornness’ ascribed to the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, and erroneously ascribed to me.
“While it is my wish to inform the public that Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria did not make any statement to the effect of the content of the publication either in Abuja or anywhere for that matter, I humbly wish to correctly place my designation as the Chairman of South East zone of the association and not the leader of cattle breeders in Nigeria as I was addressed in the publication.
“Again, I wish to put it on record that the South East zone of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and her cattle herder members whom I serve, as the zonal chairman, enjoy warm relationship with the governors, governments and people of South East Nigeria.
“I wish to state that this warmth has not been completely devoid of flashes of momentary conflicts at few locations. Such instances were, however, promptly addressed by the authorities and warm commonality restored amongst the people.
“Given the increasing orientation and reorientation of our people and the local people who are our landlords, and given the strong commitment of the state governors towards peaceful relationship across board, one harbours no doubts that the relationship between our herders and their landlords can only be increasingly better as time progresses.
“It is therefore my intention, while dispelling the published rumour from the pit of malicious mischief, to share my upbeat spirit with all of us. It is my utmost belief that the sincere and committed understanding we all propagate today will yield us minimal rancour if not rancour free society tomorrow.
“I therefore wish to thank the governors of the South East states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo for their wonderful sense of accommodation, as I pledge our continued efforts towards greater harmonious environment for thriving economic activities and better life.” (vanguardngr)
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Exactly 32 years ago today, the notorious bandit who terrorised Benin City and old Bendel State the 80s , Lawrence Nomanyagbon Anini A.K.A. “Ovbigbo” or “the Law” and some members of his gang were executed by firing squad after being convicted by the defunct Bendel Armed Robbery and Firearms Tribunal presided over by Justice James Omo-Agege
Anini was born in a village about 20 miles from Benin City in present-day Edo State. He migrated to Benin at an early age, learned to drive and became a skilled taxi driver. Anini became known in Benin motor parks as a man who could control the varied competing interests among motor park touts and operators. He later dived into the criminal business in the city and soon became a driver and transporter for gangs, criminal godfathers and thieves. Later on, he decided to create his own gang which included, Monday Osunbor, Friday Ofege, Smallie ,Henry Ekponwan, Eweka and Alhaji Zed Zed or Zegezege who was never captured. They started out as car hijackers, bus robbers and bank thieves. Gradually, he extended his criminal acts to other towns and cities far north and east of Benin.
The complicity of the police is believed to have triggered Anini’s reign of terror in 1986. In early 1986, two members of his gang were tried and prosecuted against an earlier under-the-table ‘agreement’ with the police to destroy evidence against the gang members. The incident, and Anini’s view of police betrayal, is believed to have spurred retaliatory actions by Anini. In August, 1986, a fatal bank robbery linked to Anini was reported in which a police officer (Nathaniel Egharevba)and others were killed. That same month, two officers on duty were shot at a barricade while trying to stop Anini’s car. During a span of three months, he was known to have killed nine police officers.
In an operation in August 1986, the Anini team struck at First Bank, Sabongida-Ora, where they carted away N2,000. But although the amount stolen was seen as chicken feed, many persons were killed. On September 6, same year, the Anini gang snatched a Peugeot 504 car from Albert Otoe, the driver of the famous super cop Assistant Inspector General of Police, Christopher Omeben. In snatching the car, they killed the driver and went to hide his corpse somewhere. It was not until three months later that the skeleton of the driver was spotted 16 kilometers away from Benin City, along the Benin-Agbor highway. A day after this attack, Anini, operating in a Passat car believed to have been stolen, also effected the snatching of another Peugeot 504 car near the former FEDECO office, in Benin.
Two days later, the Anini men killed two policemen in Orhiowon Local Government of the state. Still in that month, three different robbery attacks, all pointing to Anini’s involvement, took place. They include the murder of Frank Unoarumi, a former employee of the Nigerian Observer newspapers; the killing of Mrs. Remi Sobanjo, a chartered accountant, and the stealing of the Mercedes Benz car in Benin, of the Ughelli monarch, the Ovie. Before September 1986 drew to a close, Anini struck at a gas station along Wire Road, Benin, where he stole a substantial part of the day’s sales. He shot the station’s attendant and gleefully started spraying his booty along the road for people to pick. The height of Anini’s exploits, however, took place on October 1, 1986, the Independence Day when the state’s Commissioner of Police, Casmir Akagbosu was ambushed by the gang in Benin riddled his convoy in a hail of bullets. The police boss survived the attacks with serious injuries. Earlier that day also, the Anini men had gunned down a police man within the city
“The Law”, as he was nicknamed, during an operation that went bad reportedly had to escape from the police by driving in reverse for a greater part of the distance from Agbor (Delta State) to Benin City (Edo State).
Also, on October 21 of same year, the Anini robbery gang terminated the life of a Benin-based medical doctor, A.O Emojeve when they gunned him down along Textile Mill Road, in Benin. Not done, Anini and gang went and robbed the Agbor branch of African Continental Bank and carted away about N46, 000. A day after the operation, Anini, The Law, turned to a ‘Father Christmas’ as he strew wads of naira notes on the ground for free pick by market men and women at a village near Benin. Anini’s image thus loomed larger than life, dwarfing those of Ishola Oyenusi, the king of robbers in the 1970s and Youpelle Dakuro, the army deserter who masterminded the most vicious daylight robbery,at Boulous Enterprises in Lagos in 1978, in which two policemen were killed. Anini thus spearheaded a four-month reign of terror between August and December 1986. Anini also reportedly wrote numerous letters to media houses using political tones of Robin Hood-like words, to describe his criminal acts.
Worried by the seeming elusiveness of Anini and his gang members, the military President, General Ibrahim Babangida then ordered a massive manhunt for the kingpin and his fellow robbers. The police thus went after them, combing every part of Bendel State where they were reportedly operating and living. The whole nation was gripped with fear of the robbers and their daredevil exploits.
However, Police manhunt failed to stop their activities; the more they were hunted, the more intensified their activities became. Some of the locals in the area even began to tell stories of their invincibility and for a while, it felt like they were never going to be caught. However, at the conclusion of a meeting of the Armed Forces Ruling Council , the Nation’s then highest ruling body in October 1986, General Babangida turned to the Inspector- General of Police, Etim Inyang, and asked, ‘My friend, where is Anini?’ Apperently embarrassed, IGP Iyang could to only tell his Commander in Chief that “We are still looking for him sir”. IGP Iyang was soon tender his notice of retirement from the force.
At about this time, Nigerian newspapers and journals were also publishing various reports and editorials on the ‘Anini Challenge’, the ‘Anini Saga’, the ‘Anini Factor’, ‘Lawrence Anini – the Man, the Myth’, ‘Anini, and ‘Lawrence Anini: A Robin Hood in Bendel’. The Guardian New papers asked, emphatically, in one of its reports: ‘Will they ever find Anini, “The Law”?’.
An African Proverb says “everyday for the thief ,one day for the owner, Anini’s reign of terror was eventually brought to an end with his arreste by a police officer , Superintendent of Police, Kayode Uanreroro on December 3, 1986, at No 26, Oyemwosa Street, opposite Iguodala Primary School, Benin City, in company with six women. Acting on a tip-off from the locals, the policeman went straight to the house where Anini was hiding and apprehended him with very little resistance. Uanreroro led a crack 10-man team to the house, knocked on the door of the room, and Anini himself, clad in underpants, opened the door. “Where is Anini,” the police officer quickly enquired. It was believed that his girl friend had a hand in his arrest. Many are of the opinion that the girlfriend collaborated with the police and took Anini’s charms away before the police arrived. Dazed as he was caught off guard and having no escape route, Anini all the same tried to be smart. “Oh, Anini is under the bed in the inner room”. As he said it, he made some moves to walk past Uanreroro and his team. In the process, he shoved and head-butted the police officer but it was an exercise in futility. Uanreroro promptly reached for his gun, stepped hard on Anini’s right toes and shot at his left ankle. Anini surged forward but the policemen took hold of him and put him in a sitting position. They then pumped more bullets into his shot leg and almost severed the ankle from his entire leg. Already, anguished by the excruciating pains, the policemen asked him, “Are you Anini?” And he replied, “My brother, I won’t deceive you; I won’t tell you lie, I’m Anini.”
He was from there taken to the police command headquarters where the state’s Police Commissioner, Parry Osayande, was waiting. While in the police net, Anini who had poor command of English and could only communicate in pidgin, made a whole lot of revelations. He disclosed, for instance that Osunbor, who had been arrested earlier, was his deputy, saying that Osunbor actually shot and wounded the former police boss of the state, Akagbosu
Anini was shot in the leg, transferred to a military hospital, and had one of his legs amputated. That was after Monday Osunbor was also captured. When Anini’s hideout was searched, police recovered assorted charms, including the one he usually wore around his waist during “operations”. It was instructive that after Anini was captured and dispossessed of his charms, the man who terrorised a whole state and who was supposed to be fearless suddenly became so lilly livered and started singing like a sparrow, making confessions. This was against public expectation of a daredevil hoodlum who would remain defiant to the very end.
Shortly after the arrest of Anini and co, the dare-devil robbers began to squeal, revealing the roles played by key police officers and men, in the aiding and abetting of criminals in Bendel State and the entire
country. Due to the amputation of his leg, Anini was confined to a wheelchair throughout his trial.
Anini particularly revealed that Chief Supretendent of Police Iyamu, who was the most senior police officer shielding the robbers, would reveal police secrets to them and then, give them logistic supports such as arms, to carry out robbery operations.
He further revealed that Iyamu, after each operation, would join them in sharing the loot. It was further exposed how Iyamu planned to kill Christopher Omeben, an Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Intelligence and Investigation. But Iyamu was later to be disappointed as the assailants dispatched to eliminate Omeben were only able to kill his driver, Otue, a sergeant. Iyamu, whom the robbers fondly referred to as ‘Baba’, reportedly had choice buildings in Benin City; being how he invested the loots he obtained from men of the underworld. Iyamu, on his part, denied ever knowing and collaborating with Anini. But Anini stood his ground .Of the 10 police officers Anini implicated, five were convicted. The robbery suspects, including Iyamu, were sentenced to death.
But in passing his judgement, Justice Omo-Agege remarked, “Anini will forever be remembered in the history of crime in this country, but it would be of unblessed memory. Few people if ever, would give the name to their children.” The execution of Anini and the remaining members of his gang took place on the last Saturday of March ,1987. Osunbor and CSP Iyamu had been executed few weeks earlier. TCR
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Youths of Plateau State, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress Youths Online Forum, have expressed sadness and disappointment with the elders of the state, saying they were disappointed with the elders for not being united to fight the common enemy of the state.
The APC youths, while addressing a press conference, in Jos, led by their Chairman, Comrade Pius Tongmaan and Secretary, Makut Alfred Mashat, following the unfortunate killings of innocent citizens in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state by suspected Fulani herdsmen, said the elders had failed for playing politics with the lives of human beings.
They said, “Plateau State Elders have failed us. They are playing politics with the lives of our people instead of uniting themselves towards fighting the Plateau State enemy, but the reverse is the case. They are never united. They are now scattered on political lines. It is worrisome because we know who are our enemies are, but our elders have failed.
“Plateau State elders have disappointed us. In fact, we don’t have elders again in this state. Where are they when our people are being killed, our farmlands taken away?
“Our elders and traditional rulers are supposed to sit down with Governor Simon Lalong to find a lasting solution to the incessant killings in the state as well as reclaim back our farmlands taken away by the Fulani herdsmen.”
APC Youths also calls for the immediate arrest of the chairman, North Central Zone of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), Alhaji Danladi Ciroma, over the killings of over 200 citizens in Plateau State.
The youths continued, “We vehemently condemn these cowardly, dastardly and calculated attacks on our people in Plateau and demand the immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the act.
“We call on the Federal Government led by our destabilised and patriotic president Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of public importance, mandate the security agencies to arrest and question the statements attributed to the North Central Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, who has given a lead about the perpetrators of the attack by referring to it as retaliatory, where he justified the killings on the basis of over 300 cows allegedly rustled by some natives of Barkin Ladi.
“In as much as we don’t condole criminally by acts of cattle rustling, we also do not accept any individual or group that resort to taking laws into their hands by killing and maiming innocent women and children or the cowardly acts of blocking the federal highways and killing innocent travellers by setting their vehicles ablaze.
“We the APC youths are pained by the killings of our brothers, sisters, mothers and children in Barkin Ladi.
“We call for the establishment of a state-owned localised security outfits to complement the efforts of the existing security architecture that is overstretched.
“We stand with our Governor Simon Lalong and we the youths of the state would not tolerate land grabbing in any part of the Plateau.”
“The youths condemn those killing people and destroying their settlements with the intention of taking ownership of such places would not be allowed to do so.
“We call for the introduction of a community justice system whereby defaulters will be treated by the settlers in conjunction with the state government, Vigilante groups, village heads, Ardos, e.t.c.
“We the APC youths online call for the full implementation of the Plateau roadmap to peace documents as championed by the Plateau Peace Building Agency that has compensation plans that entail rebuilding and restoration of affected communities
The group also called for rehabilitation programmes for traumatised victims and internally-displaced persons that have fled from their ancestral homes
“Government should reclaim the villages and lands overpowered by the herdsmen and secure it for the natives.” (The Sun)
Plenary at the Senate on Thursday became rowdy over the alleged incompetence of President Muhammadu Buhari to address the spate of killings by armed herdsmen.
Lawmaker representing Abia South Senatorial District, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, had raised a point of order to make reference to the conflicting reasons given by officials in the Buhari-led administration for the herdsmen/farmers clashes.
Abaribe noted that the latest was from Buhari who said during his current official visit to the United Kingdom that the killer herdsmen were from Libya.
He said the admittance by the President that Nigeria had been invaded by external forces confirmed his previous claims that Buhari was “totally incompetent”.
The Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, interrupted Abaribe to raise a point of order, asking the lawmaker to withdraw his derogatory comments on Buhari and apologise for his statements.
The bickering polarised the chamber along political lines. (Punch)