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Nigerian Air Force Pays Fulani Bandits N20m To Stop Them Shooting Down Buhari’s Presidential Jet —WSJ |The Republican News

The gun truck with 12.7 caliber anti-aircraft fire was reportedly disassembled and transported back to the military on motorbikes after the deal was concluded.

By OYINDAMOLA OLUBAJO

The Nigerian Air Force coordinated ransom payments to armed bandits in exchange for an anti-aircraft gun seized from the Nigerian Army, The Wall Street Journal said, in a desperate deal that was brokered as President Muhammadu Buhari was planning a trip to Katsina.

The U.S. outlet said N20 million was delivered to the bandits in Rugu Forest by a Nigerian Air Force official, who leaked details of the operation under anonymity, because the military realised that it would be too risky to leave the weapon in the hands of violent criminals operating in an area the presidential jet would fly over.

The rugged, lawless jungle that covers parts of Kaduna, Zamfara and the president’s home state of Katsina has served as a vast haven for bandits terrorising Nigeria’s northwestern communities. A large portion of kidnapping plots emanates or terminates in or around the forest, security agencies have previously warned.

“The mission to buy back the antiaircraft gun began with a handoff from a high-ranking air force intelligence officer in the capital Abuja: a black zip-up bag he said was full of 20 million Nigerian naira,” the paper reported, after stating that such military hardware in the hands of bandits “posed a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari, who had been planning to fly to his hometown about 80 miles away.”

The Journal did not specify when the deal was brokered or the presidential trip that was planned. The president has been in his hometown at least twice this year that his office disclosed to the public. The first trip was in late January and another in July.

Although the Nigerian government claimed combat victories against armed bandits, several military bases have been sacked by the violent criminals dreaded largely for their abduction of schoolchildren and prominent personalities, including politicians and emirs.

Last month, a forward operating base crucial to the military campaign against banditry was raided in Zamfara, leaving at least 12 officers killed. The bandits also seized military equipment when they captured the base in Dansadau, about 80 kilometres south of the capital Gusau, in the September 11 operation.

Less than two weeks later on September 24, bandits again struck a joint base of security forces in the neighbouring Sokoto State, killing several soldiers, Civil Defence officers and civilians.

The Nigerian Air Force also confirmed on July 19 that bandits had shot down one of its fighter jets, but the pilot was able to eject and there were no casualties. The incident came as Mr Buhari was visiting his hometown for this year’s Sallah.

It was not immediately clear why service chiefs opted for a ransom payment in the operation described by The Journal. Military weapons that fell into the hands of Boko Haram insurgents and bandits were usually destroyed by airstrikes.

Whereas Mr Buhari has promised to be tough on the bandits and publicly railed against governors negotiating with them, his government has been known to pay ransom to terrorists and other violent criminals.

The government paid millions of dollars to free some of the Chibok girls seized in 2014 under President Goodluck Jonathan. It also facilitated hundreds of millions of naira in ransom to bandits who seized schoolchildren in Niger State earlier this year.

The Gazette has yet to hear back from the Nigerian Air Force about the reported N20 million ransom to bandits. (People’s Gazette)

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Disquiet As Fulani Bandits Set Up Terror Camps In Abuja, Warn Residents Against Revealing Their Presence |The Republican News

■ There is panic in some rural communities of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) following reports that fleeing bandits from the North are setting up…

By Abubakar Sadiq Isah

There is panic in some rural communities of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) following reports that fleeing bandits from the North are setting up camps in forests of the territory.

Daily Trust gathered from some locals that the bandits have set up camps around Zukpatu, Gadoro, Achimbi, Pesu, Duda, Pani, Gaube and New Gwombe communities in Kuje Area Area Council.

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Most of the communities share boundaries with Nasarawa State.

Daily Trust reports that Kuje has over 400 communities not connected with any road network.

It was further gathered that the bandits are taking advantage of the rocky hinterlands to establish their bases.

According to some villagers, who spoke with our reporter, although the bandits have not started attacking them, they have been warning them against exposing their hideouts to security agents.

A resident of Gaube, who simply identified himself as Ibrahim, said the setting up of the camps by the bandits had caused panic, adding that residents, especially, farmers, now went to their farms in fear.

Ibrahim said, “Whenever the bandits come across locals in the farms or streams, they only caution us not to report to security agents their locations.”

He further said the bandits sometimes gave money to residents to buy them foodstuff and other items.

A rescued kidnap victim in Pegi axis of Kuje, who preferred anonymity, while lamenting his experience in the hands of the bandits, said they had set up camps at the bases of rocky hills.

He said, “Government needs to do something quickly before the situation gets out of hand because of what I saw. I wonder how these criminals were able to get to such places with arms.”

A resident of Gwombe who gave his name simply as Alhassan said bandits had taken over the forest around the community.

Alhassan said, “I think since they attacked and kidnapped some people in our village early this year, they don’t attack our people again, except that they send our people they come across on errands and warn them against telling security agents of their hideout.”

A traditional ruler in the FCT, who preferred anonymity, said the setting up of camps by bandits in some forests in rural communities posed serious threat to lives and property.

He recalled how bandits attacked commuters and villagers on the Gaube-Kuje road last year, which informed the setting up of a joint task force around the community.

He said, “But today, the task force has left the area and the kidnappers have returned, picking people around Gaube axis.”

The chief further said hunters and farmers usually came across the bandits but they were afraid of exposing them.

He, therefore, appealed to the federal government to take immediate action, while collaborating with traditional rulers in order to tackle insecurity in the territory.

The spokesperson of the FCT Police Command, DSP Adeh Josephine, asked our reporter to give her time to make enquiry about the development. (Daily Trust)

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Buhari Doesn’t Need To Declare Fulani Bandits Terrorists, He Has Done Worse To Them Than IPOB — Garba Shehu|RN

Presidential spokesman  Garba Shehu

by Bobby Adams

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, says what the Federal Government has done to AK-47-wielding bandits is worse than designating them as terrorists.

Shehu said this in an interview with BBC News Pidgin on Saturday morning.


He was responding to a question in an interview with BBC News Pidgin on Saturday morning on why the regime of his principal, president Muhammadu Buhari, has not outlawed blood-sucking bandits just as the current government proscribed the Indigenous People of Biafra and moved to do the same to Yoruba Nation secessionist group.

“What the Buhari administration has done to the arms-wielding bandits is worse than being declared as terrorists. There is a subsisting order by the President that any arms-wielding, AK-47 bandits should be shot on sight.

“Yes, IPOB has been proscribed by law of the land, there is no shoot-on-sight order,” Shehu said.

“The Nigerian Air Force is busy bombing locations, the military is there on the ground, exchanging fire for fire, taking them out in hundreds, that is certainly not treating people (bandits) lightly,” he added.

The presidential aide also said, “One thing people who say that ignore is the successes that are being recorded in many areas in the fight against insurgency in the country.”

Garba claimed there have been “enormous successes” recorded in dealing with bandits and terrorists. “For instance, Boko Haram are surrendering today in their thousands, this did not just happen,” he noted.

According to him, a lot of the bandits are being circled and taken out. “It is a matter of time, they will be substantially reduced and the Nigerian state will be safe all over again,” Shehu assured Nigerians.

In September 2017, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); and the then Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata; had approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to give judicial backing to the Executive Order of President Buhari, outlawing IPOB and its activities in every part of Nigeria.

The then Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, had granted the order proscribing IPOB.

Recently the Federal Government hint that it might proscribe the Yoruba Nation movement led by Prof Banji Akintoye and Sunday Adeyemo also known as Sunday Igboho.

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Nnamdi Kanu Arrest: Put Same Zeal In Arrest Of Killer Herdsmen, Miyetti-Allah Leaders —Ortom Tells FG |The Republican News

Benue State Governor: Samuel Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has urged the Federal Government to demonstrate the same zeal put into the arrest of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to the arrest of leaders of militia herdsmen and Miyetti Allah who have owned up to the killings in the state.

He insisted that it was by so doing that the government would be taken seriously in its acclaimed fight against insurgency and terrorism in the country.

The Governor who spoke Thursday while flagging off the sale of fertilizer in Makurdi urged the Federal Government to give Benue people justice by ensuring the arrest of leaders of militia herdsmen who were killing and sacking communities in the state thereby frustrating food production in the state.

He said, “if the federal government has demonstrated capacity to arrest Nnamdi Kanu, they should also exhibit the same zeal, will and decision to arrest the Fulani herdsmen that are terrorizing our state and country.

“Let that be done, they are living here with us. If Nnamdi Kanu can be arrested from a foreign land, I believe that if the federal government can exhibit the same will, they will arrest Fulani herdsmen, especially Miyetti Allah who have owned up to the killings in Benue state and have continued to terrorize our land.

“It is laughable and unfortunate when I heard that Miyetti Allah are calling Nnamdi Kanu a terrorist. Someone who is fighting for the liberation of his people is being called a terrorist by a terrorist organization called Miyetti Allah and Fulani herdsmen.

“So the federal government should rise up to its responsibilities and arrest the people.”

Continuing, the Governor said: “I have no problem with trying Nnamdi Kanu, but the due process should be followed and let there be justice. If he has committed any offense, let there be justice.

“But the federal government must also do justice by arresting Fulani herdsmen that have been terrorizing our land, who have created so much problems, pains and challenges to our economy, to our security and to our unity. If the federal government does not do that, it means that they are not serious.

“I must however commend the efforts of security personnel in checking the activities of the militia herdsmen in our communities. We call on the federal government to boost their efforts in creating and sustaining safer environment for our people to return back to their ancestral homes.”

The Governor lamented that with over one million Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, Benue was carrying a huge burden saying that there was need for a committed intervention on the part of the federal government to enable them return to their ancestral homes.

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Let Fulani Bandits Guard Our Forests For Peace To Reign —Sheikh Gumi |The Republican News

Sheikh Abubakar Gumi

By Odita Sunday, Abuja

Islamic cleric Sheikh Gumi has declared that Nigeria is fighting a tribal war, calling for amnesty for bandits if they must quit their criminal acts.

He specifically urged farmers across the country to allow herdsmen to protect their forests.

According to Gumi, with the ongoing tribal war, the federal government is supposed to remain neutral.

The islamic scholar, while admitting that the bandits are committing all sorts of crimes, also said that atrocities have been committed against them by various tribes across Nigeria.

“What you call banditry, when you cross to the other side, you discover Nigeria is fighting a tribal war and government is supposed to be the mediator, it is supposed to be neutral, it’s not supposed to take sides,” Gumi said on Arise TV on Wednesday morning.

“But the moment government takes side, it becomes part of the conflict. And this is what I saw in Zamfara State, in Niger State and other states.

“This is tribal war going on and the government taking one side.

“When you said these bandits are committing atrocities, yes, agree they are committing crimes, they are killing people, they are kidnapping, they are raping, they are doing all sorts of atrocities.

“But, have you for once go to their own sides to see all sorts of atrocities that are also committed against them?

“Do you know that an ordinary herdsman is lynched in many towns in Nigeria? We have seen that in Oyo, we have seen that in Anambra, we have seen that in many regions of Nigeria.

“I think there should be well meaning Nigerians that should stay neutral in this tribal war.”

Insisting on his call for amnesty for the bandits, Gumi said they are ready to surrender if government will provide means of livelihood for them.

“The Niger Delta example, I think we can take example from that. When they were vandalising pipelines, they were given the pipelines to guard.

“Now, the herdsmen are controlling a big chunk of land whereby they are preventing farmers from farming. As the Niger Delta is important to the economy, these herdsmen now are becoming important to the Nigerian economy.

“They can be our guards, they can guard the forests. They have qualities that we can tap from,” Gumi said.

He dismissed the amnesty granted to bandits by Katsina State Governor Bello Masari, describing it “political amnesty” without any package.

“When you grant a political amnesty, I mean amnesty in the front of the press and the media but in the real sense there was no amnesty.

“Amnesty comes with a package. The package is you rehabilitate these criminals, you provide for them social amenities.

“You entice then to leave the forests by providing them with skills. But there is no any project put forward.

“But, have you for once go to their own sides to see all sorts of atrocities that are also committed against them?

“Do you know that an ordinary herdsman is lynched in many towns in Nigeria? We have seen that in Oyo, we have seen that in Anambra, we have seen that in many regions of Nigeria.

“I think there should be well meaning Nigerians that should stay neutral in this tribal war.”

Insisting on his call for amnesty for the bandits, Gumi said they are ready to surrender if government will provide means of livelihood for them.

“The Niger Delta example, I think we can take example from that. When they were vandalising pipelines, they were given the pipelines to guard.

“Now, the herdsmen are controlling a big chunk of land whereby they are preventing farmers from farming. As the Niger Delta is important to the economy, these herdsmen now are becoming important to the Nigerian economy.

“They can be our guards, they can guard the forests. They have qualities that we can tap from,” Gumi said.

He dismissed the amnesty granted to bandits by Katsina State Governor Bello Masari, describing it “political amnesty” without any package.

“When you grant a political amnesty, I mean amnesty in the front of the press and the media but in the real sense there was no amnesty.

“Amnesty comes with a package. The package is you rehabilitate these criminals, you provide for them social amenities.

“You entice then to leave the forests by providing them with skills. But there is no any project put forward.”

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Military Should Stop Killing Fulani Bandits, Kidnappers, They’re Victims Too —Sheik Gumi |The Republican News

Sheikh Abubakar Gumi

Gumi has warned against military engagement with armed bandits in the northern region of the country. Sheikh Ahmad Gumi is a popular Islamic scholar who has been an advocate for bandits and kidnappers in the north.

Gumi has cautioned Federation Government and the Nigerian military against violent engagement with the bandits and kidnappers. Even after abducting several schoolchildren and collecting millions as ransom from Government, Gumi has continued to advocate for a soft landing for the criminals.

Recently, according to Sahara Reporters, Sheikh Gumi has warned the Nigerian military and Federal Government to stop killing bandits and Kidnappers. He claimed that they are also victims.

During an interview with Punch newspaper, Gumi revealed that it is not a good idea to kill bad it’s and kidnappers in the North. He has continued to advocate for them even after collecting over 200 million naira from parents of abducted schoolchildren in Niger State.

He has revealed how he has engaged them in talks and plead with them to stop abducting innocent children and collecting dirty money from their parents. He disclosed that they are herdsmen using kidnapping as a means of making money.

Gumi has condemned in strong words the killings of bandits and kidnappers noting that attacking them may affect the abducted children. He claimed that many among them are illiterates and they use their weapons to guard against military invasion of their camps.

Gumi has revealed that they have our students and negotiating with them is a perfect way forward. (OperaNews)

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No School Is Safe Until Government Negotiateas With Fulani Bandits —Sheik Gumi |The Republican News

Sheik Abubakar Gumi

Sheik Abubakar Gumi, a well-known Islamic cleric, estimates that the North-West alone has 100,000 armed bandits.

According to Gumi, the bandits kidnapped pupils who were enraged because he negotiated with them without involving the Federal Government stressing that no school could be safe unless the government dealt with the herdsmen.

He provided these details during an interview with The PUNCH on the kidnapped pupils of Tegina Islamic School in Niger State.

The bandits demanded N200 million from the parents of the victims, which was ultimately reduced to N150 million. Despite efforts to free the students, Gumi said the bandits were resolute in their demand for money.

He said, “But we are trying to talk sense to them that these are just innocent schoolchildren. We don’t even have any idea of the condition of the children. We are just saying these are young children trying to study and they did nothing, so why are you trying to take dirty money from their families?

“This (kidnap of Islamic pupils) actually proves to the nation that the bandits are not really indoctrinated, they are just looking for money and I think that this is a good prognosis. They are not targeting a religion; they are not ideologues, which are difficult to deal with. We should not forget that they are not educated, formally or informally. They are just going about with cattle, and suddenly they found a lucrative way of finding money.

“But with good engagement, education and enticements like jobs and other things, they will leave this work. But we need a partner and we need the government to understand. Individuals like me alone cannot do it.

“All those we met (have stopped kidnapping), except for one of them who is kidnapping again, and he told us his reason, that he was neglected and he thought we had the mandate to negotiate. But when he realised that we did not have the mandate from anybody, he said he was going back to his business.

“So, the earlier we go into engaging them, the better. The ones who have agreed to lay down arms, you can engineer them to take care of the rest.”

Gumi stated that the Niger State Government had made steps to free the children, but that the state’s finances were limited.

He claimed that the government could not protect schools unless it first found a way to halt the country’s banditry.

“To secure schools, why not engage the bandits. Engage them; they are not many. You can count them with your fingers. How can you guard schools? It is not possible. In the whole North-West, they may not be more than 100,000 bandits. And that is just a drop in the ocean. That is talking about those with weapons; because not all of them have weapons. Ninety per cent of those who have weapons use them to protect themselves against cattle rustlers. They are victims too. Aerial bombardments will only worsen the situation because when you start killing their children, you remember they also have our children,” he added. (Punch)

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When Biafra Finally Comes —by Obiaruko C. Ndukwe |The Republican News

Chief Obiaruko Christie Ndukwe

The agitation for a separate country out of what is known as Nigeria, by two major ethnic groups – the Igbos and the Yourubas, both of Southern Nigeria routing for Biafra nation and Oduduwa Republic is traceable to the failure of successive governments to address Injustice and Inequality.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the concerns are germane, but the approaches of the two separatist groups are different. The agitators for the Yoruba nation are less provocative in their choice of words and non-violent, the Biafra group has become engrossed in using foul language and verbal abuse of those perceived to be opposed to their agenda, or its operational strategies. This has not only caused a rift in the leadership structure of the group known otherwise as the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB.

The creation of a more practical and militant wing tagged as the Eastern Security Network, ESN, to checkmate the influx of armed herdsmen into the territory of Igbo land has further pushed the agitation to the precincts and that has attracted an early resistance from the Federal Government of Nigeria and placed the two parties on a heavy collision course.

While the battle for control of security is fierce in the capital city of Owerri, the New stronghold of the Biafra group, leading to untold casualties on both sides of the divide, it is becoming highly worrisome the real essence of tof the Biafran forces the ESN. What was supposed to have been a bracket for any invaders under the guise of herdsmen has become the enemy of the Nigerian State. It is becoming suspicious the motive behind the attacks on public and private infrastructure, the Police and the Army and sometimes, fellow citizens of the proposed Biafran nation.

No sane mind would condone the mindless killing of innocent Nigerians either by the insurgents or by the agitators. Worse still, there is no justification for the setting ablaze of the homes of other Nigerians just because they do not align with the imaginations and quests of the separatist groups in Eastern Nigeria!

I have tried to figure out the reasons for such ignoble acts of terrorism by Nigerians against fellow Nigerians, as if we have become deluded after the killings during the Civil War, which is being reenacted again, sadly by the majority of those who were unborn then or were too young to appreciate the harsh realities that the country faced then.

Though the scars may be old or even absent, the devastation and effects of that crisis are still very high as the trust among the once Eastern bloc has been greatly eroded!

More worrisome is what would become of the Biafran nation if and when it comes when so much blood of those who ought to be liberated has been shed? Is it still fashionable for rebel leaders to rule their people with bloodstained hands? How does anyone sit in their comfort zones and watch the utter decimation of their people, all because of a warped idea of a nation coming soon, even when the indices are apparent that war is no longer the solution to issues of marginalization, deprivation and total neglect.

In a 21st century, there is absolutely nothing wrong with agitations and the push for the rights of every tribe to be respected. But the more acceptable mode of agitation is through dialogue, consultations and more. The concomitant effects of taking up arms against a Government are too grave to expose a people who are already choked by the bigger groups.

The bloodletting on the streets of Imo State must be stopped forthwith, and a new narrative engendered regarding the Biafra conflict.

The poor sufferers of this violent struggle also have the right to live. The youths who have been indoctrinated to believe in a cause that the original progenitors have condemned are victims of a conspiracy by those who are not willing to lead from the front but have hidden in safe and saner havens.

If the destruction and killings continue unabated, and worse still without a definite direction for the agitation, then the new nation called Biafra would have turned a tool of acquisition of wealth for the leaders who definitely would surrender and sue for peace when they have had their fill with stupendous wealth and undue fame!

By the time the new nation is birthed, those who would have belonged to her would have all been killed except for the virtual warlords whose only battleground is the social media with which they have used to send the foot soldiers to their early Graves.

If and when Biafra comes, will there ever even be any shouts of joy as families would count their losses?

In the end, it would be a nation against itself.

(Written by Chief Obiaruko Christie Ndukwe, a commentator, analyst and columnist based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State)

Disclaimer: the view expressed is solely that of the writer and not of The Republican News media.

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Northern Elders Responsible For Boko Haram, Bandits, Insecurity In S’East —Ohanaeze Respond To Wamako |The Republican News

Governor Aliyu Wamako

Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has cautioned former Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko, that his recent comments were capable of inciting ethnic cleansing and turmoil in the country.

The group said it is laughable that the likes of Wamakko could not find solutions to the frightening insecurity challenges in the North for the last 7 years.

Ohanaeze said it was the same security issues the north incubated as a political instrument to force power from former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, in a statement signed by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Secretary-General, accused the North of being responsible for all the disaster in the Southeast based on the earlier warning of the USA Embassy Abuja.

Ohanaeze recalled that the US embassy had warned that the bandits and killer herdsmen are changing positions to Southern Nigeria to wreak havoc.

“Northern Elders are behind the chaos in Nigeria as a ploy to retain the Presidency in the North beyond 2023 as they did to Jonathan in 2015,” the statement said.

“So they exported violence to the southeast to keep Igbo leaders busy with insecurity challenges and set traps for them (Igbo leaders) to fall in and get arrested.

“We are amazed at how someone who couldn’t remove a spark of dust in his eyelashes could see the remedy for the log of wood in the eyes of Ndigbo.

“Wamakko’s assertion that Igbo leaders are behind the scenes motivating the violence in the southeast, exposed the northern secrets of supporting bandits and Boko Haram for economic and political reasons.

“The silence of Igbo leaders is golden and will generate confusion in the camps of sponsors of terror in the Southeast.”

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Buhari Appealed To Herdsmen, Bandits, But He Threatens South East With War —Omokri |The Republican News


The former Spokesperson to former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Reno Omokri has reacted to the tweet made by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday.

According to Reno Omokri, President Muhammadu Buhari is pampering herdsmen, bandits while he is threatening the Southeast with civil war 2. Here is what he said,

“Exactly a month ago, General @MBuhari was “appealing” to herdsmen and bandits to stop their acts of terror. A month later, another Buhari is threatening the Southeast with Nigerian Civil War 2. How can one man have strikingly different reactions to similar events” he said.

Other Nigerians reacted to Buhari’s threat of war to Southeast in reply to his tweet

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