Image

Ohanaeze President General, Nnia Nwodo Writes Nnamdi Kanu, Denies Being Fulani Stooge |The Republican News

Ohanaeze President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, IPOB Leader, Maazi Nnamdi Kanu

PRESIDENT General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Thursday, replied the leader of Indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. He said that Kanu’s latest allegation against him necessitated his response. Nwodo in an open letter to Kanu, reeled out his contribution

The letter reads thus:

“My attention has been drawn to a recorded speech made by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, now streaming in the social media.

The speech was ostensibly made in Germany ahead of a visit, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu and I were scheduled to make to Germany for a meeting of Ndigbo.
In that video, Nnamdi peddled unprintable lies about me and rebuked Igbos in Germany for inviting me and threatened that I will not leave Germany alive. I would have ignored this speech as I have ignored many of his previous abuses and deliberate falsehood previously broadcast against me.

I had ignored them in the past not only because the distortions and falsehood were indirectly countered by the robust publicity of my activities and utterances which negated his representations but also because I thought it was indecent for a father and his son to be engaged in public disputations, especially when such disputations in our present circumstances will weaken our solidarity and portray us as a divided and unserious lot.

It has however become necessary now to rebut his persistent falsehood because, not to do so will make them credible amongst those who may not have heard my side of the story.

The IPOB leader first of all accuses me of being an accomplice to the invasion of his homestead in Umuahia by the Nigerian Army in Operation Python Dance.

Secondly, he accuses me persistently of being a Fulani stooge who would always do the beckoning of the ruling Fulani elite in Nigeria. He also accuses my late father of being a Fulani stooge.

He holds me and our South East Governors and Legislators responsible for the marginalization of the South East. He accuses me of being against the realization of Biafra and a saboteur to the Igbo cause.
First of all, I am neither the Commander-in Chief of The Nigerian Armed Forces nor a member of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Secondly, I never participated in any meeting where operation python dance was ever recommended or ordered. Truth is that when the second operation python dance was ordered, I wrote against it and advised against it in the media. I saw no need for it

I condemned the mayhem that followed it. I wrote to the GOC 82 Division N.A on the violation of the UN rules of engagement by his troops. I listened to the brief of the Abia State Government on the clashes between the Nigerian Police and Nnamdi Kanu on the establishment of the Biafra Security Service without legislative approval or knowledge of the Nigerian Police. I called for caution.

I confronted the Attorney General of the Federation on his move to obtain an interlocutory order to enable him classify IPOB as a terrorist organization. When the Federal Government finally proscribed IPOB, I criticized it.

I wrote to the UN secretary General in these words. “It is a verifiable fact that, other than recourse to the use of intemperate language, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) campaign has been generally peaceful, non-violent and in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Their campaign has also been in conformity with the United Nations’ Instruments and Protocol on Human, Civil and Political Rights. It is for this reason that I, the undersigned, without endorsing some of the their methods of agitation, still make bold to observe that their protestations have remained at the level of verbal expressing, radio communications, peaceful street demonstrations, prayer sessions and lately, a sit-at-home event in memory of the millions of Igbo lives lost during the civil war.

At no time has any of these groups resorted to the use of arms or violence. If their sit-at –home event of 30th May 2017 was an inconvenience, it was more so to the Igbo communities of the South-East and not to the people in the Northern States or the rest of Nigeria.
To therefore turn around to use it as a reason for mass ejection of the Igbo in Northern Nigeria is a mere ploy to isolate the Igbo for another round of massacre, dispossession and deprivation of their fundamental human and constitutional rights. This, Your Excellency, portends the danger of degenerating into another civil war in African’s most populous country, a breach of international peace and security, a messy break-up of Nigeria resulting in massive internal displacement of persons and high incidence of refugee flows.”

I took the IPOB case to the British Institute on International Affairs in Chatham House London and said the following words, “Let me seize this opportunity to once more thank the Royal Institute of International Affairs for inviting me as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to speak here today. In Nigeria, Ndigbo whose social cultural organization I lead, are, notwithstanding their historical experiences in Nigeria, the most loyal ethnic group to the concept of one Nigeria.

We are the largest ethnic group other than the indigenous group in any part of Nigeria. We invest and contribute to the economic and social life of the communities wherever we live. We are proudly Christians but very accommodating of our brothers of other religious persuasions. We are grossly marginalized and still treated by the Federal government as second-class citizens. No Igboman, for instance, heads any security arm of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Our area is the most heavily policed as if there was a deliberate policy to intimidate us and hold us down.

Our endurance has been stretched beyond Hooke’s gauge for elastic limit. The deployment of the Nigerian Army under the guise of Operation Python dance to the South East was unconstitutional under S. 271 of the 1999Constitution.

Deployment of the army in the constitution is only allowed in circumstances of insurrection, terrorism and external aggression not in killing of priests, or fighting kidnapping. And in those circumstances where they can be deployed, leave of the Senate must be sought. This brazen impunity in dealing with matters which concern the South East is provocative.

The Arewa Youths Council by issuing a quit notice for Igbos to leave Northern Nigeria and declaring a Federal Republic of Nigeria without Igboland had committed serious infractions of the law. First by declaring a new Republic of Nigeria which excises the South East unilaterally, they were committing treason. By issuing a proclamation for Nigerians to leave any part of Nigeria forcibly they were infringing the fundamental rights of innocent Nigerians, as guaranteed by the Constitution to live and do business anywhere.

By commencing an inventory of Igbo property in Nigeria for seizure by October 1st, 2017, they were attempting conversion. By proclaiming a mop-up action of those who did not comply with their order by October 1st, they were, without doubt, inciting genocide. Yet, in spite of all these, orders to arrest them by the Kaduna State Government and the Inspector General of Police were not enforced nor were they prevented from holding court with Governors and leading elders from the North”

I rebuked the Federal Government for the way IPOB, an armless group fighting for self-determination, was classified as a terrorist organization whilst Fulani herdsmen classified by the Global Terrorist Index as the 4th deadliest terrorist organization in the world was treated with kid gloves.

I maintained the same view in my public lectures at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, UNN, Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State and many other places within and outside Nigeria.

I challenge Nnamdi to give me one single evidence of my involvement in conspiring Operation Python Dance.
Notwithstanding these abundant evidence of my championing IPOB cause, he ordered an invasion of my telephone with numerous insulting calls and threats to my life. My home in Ukehe was bombed. Police investigations of these incidences linked some of them to IPOB members. Their lawyers approached me and I thought that a father taking his son to court and subsequently to jail would be un-Igbo. Notwithstanding their confessional statements, I withdrew my compliant against them and they pledged to be of good behavior.

Thereafter the campaign of calumny resumed. Prof. Ben Nwabueze, a foremost Igbo leader, summoned two meetings of myself accompanied by some members of Ohanaeze executive and IPOB leaders to his homes in Enugu and Atani. After these meetings, he declared that IPOB has not established any prima facie case against me and that he did not want any of their spurious allegations raised again. We shook hands and embraced each other.

Nnamdi accuses me of being a Fulani stooge!! I am sure no reasonable Igbo man believes him. I have criticized President Muhammed Buhari more than any other Nigerian. Perhaps, what I don’t do is to insult his person or call Nigeria a zoo. I was trained to be respectful. I can disagree with you without being rude and impertinent.

No matter how sectional, incompetent or unproductive I consider the President of Nigeria to be, I must respect his age and office in my criticisms of him. As for the attack on my late father, I forgive Nnamdi. My father was Zik’s Minister and Okpara’s Minister. My father and late Chief M.N Ugochukwu were some of the prominent financiers of the Biafran War. I fought the Biafran War myself as a Biafran soldier at a very young age without my parents objecting.

Yes, I served President Shehu Shagari and General Abdulsalami Abubakar as minister. I respect them notwithstanding differences of opinion we may have on the structure of Nigeria.

Odumegwu Ojukwu was like my senior brother. Bianca can attest to our closeness and my loyalty to him. Vice President Alex Ekwueme was my mentor and friend. Nnamdi Azikiwe confided in me and treated me like a son. M.I. Okpara was the Chairman of my wedding. Late Dr. Dozie Ikedife was the first person to sign my nomination form for the office of President General of Ohanaeze. None of these Igbo leaders found me a traitor of Igbo cause. Every-where I have been in Igboland, young men and women embrace me, pose for photographs with me and commend my efforts in championing our case. I salute them all.

The IPOB leader accuses me of joining the South East Governors to sabotage the cause of our people. This youngman either does not understand nor appreciate the system we run. Our Governors were elected in accordance with the law. They are Chief Security Officers of our States even though the armed forces that should assist them take orders from Abuja.
I do not belong to any organ in their governments. They do not give me instructions neither do I give them. We are supposed to cooperate and work together in the interest of our people. Where we differ, I must respect our freedom to do so but in some cases I must also respect the confidentiality of our discussions.

Finally, no amount of insultive, provocative and incendiary speeches can get us Biafra or Restructuring.
I was one of the agents that put together the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum. No pressure group in Nigeria is as strong as this group in the struggle to restructure Nigeria. Restructuring Nigeria will give the South East sovereign independence in the control of our national resources and political control of our government structures.

Short of a war you can’t force Nigeria to grant us Biafra. I believe that working together we can achieve a referendum/constitutional amendment or a plebiscite. That will be a first step to self-determination. The journey of Catalonia and Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic are examples of how long and tedious the struggle for self-determination is in our contemporary world. Let’s go step by step and without acrimony.
I have noted the threats to my life from the IPOB leader. I leave that to God and the law.

Ndigbo will recall that when the leader of IPOB was released, the South East Senate caucus advised him to leverage with me and other Igbo leaders so that we can achieve a synergy. We met once and three weeks after that in spite of our cordial discussions, I was the subject of his abuse on Radio Biafra. It would appear that he is on a megalomaniac streak where he arrogates to himself the monopoly of wisdom and capacity to cause mayhem.

Ndigbo, I have championed your cause with every amount of energy in me. I have worked with little encouragement or assistance.
Thank God my team and I have elevated Ohanaeze Ndigbo to an enviable status. It is dangerous for our solidarity and ultimate success if we allow these vituperative outbursts to truncate our solidarity. In spite of all I say, I salute Nnamdi for his courage and his persistence in upholding our case but I urge you all to rise up and condemn what is condemnable. Speak up and shame those who would want us to split into pieces and destroy our resolve to fight as a united people.

As a father, I will always forgive an erring child but not without drawing his attention to a misdemeanor which should never be repeated.”

JOHN NNIA NWODO
PRESIDENT-GENERAL
OHANAEZE NDIGBO WORLDWIDE.

Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +23481819650279, +32466100102.

https://facebook.com/TheRepulicanNews, https://twitter.com/RNNetwork1, https://instagram.com/therepublicannews1

Continue reading
Advertisements
Image

Insecurity: OPC Will Not Allow Yoruba Land Turns To Den Of Criminals – Osibote |The Republican News

OPC President, Aare Prince Osibote

Tunde Thomas

Kidnappers and herdsmen abducting  people  have been warned to keep away from the South West or risk incurring the wrath of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).

Giving the warning in an interview is the president of OPC, Aare Prince Osibote, who said the group will resist any attempt not only to make Yoruba land unsafe but also to turn it into den of criminals. Osibote, who succeeded late Dr. Fredrick Faseun as OPC leader also spoke on other national issues.

What is your reaction to the present state of insecurity in the country, especially the South West where suspected herdsmen and bandits have been kidnapping people?

As an organisation, OPC is worried about this security challenge, and our hope is that the various security agencies will be able to quickly nip in the bud the nefarious activities of bad elements behind these vices. As the leader of OPC, I’m calling on Yoruba and other people living in the South West not to panic. OPC is up to the task and we are fully prepared to defend the Yoruba land from any external aggressors. I’m giving the people of the South West the assurance that they should not panic. We are already doing our home work. We are ready to bare our fangs if provoked.

Don’t forget that the primary objective of setting up the OPC as an organisation is to defend and promote Yoruba interests, and we are ready at all times to do that. Enough is enough! These criminals should keep off Yoruba land or risk incurring the wrath of OPC.

Our warning to all these criminal elements is that they should stay away from Yoruba land. OPC under my watch will not allow Yoruba land to be turned into a den of criminals. Never! It will never happen. They should not play with fire. OPC can’t only bark but can also bite. We will not trigger or provoke any crisis, but any group or individual that attempt to disrupt peace in Yoruba land will have himself to blame. Everybody know what OPC can do, but we are for peace and unity of Nigeria, we don’t want to  be provoked and this is why I’m using this medium to appeal to the Federal Government to take urgent steps to put adequate security measures in place to secure lives and properties of all Nigerians.

Why has your voice not been heard all this while on some of these burning national issues?

I have not been speaking out since I took over leadership of OPC after the death of our founder, Dr Frederick Fasheun because I have been undertaking reforms in OPC with a view of sanitising the organisation because on assuming leadership of the organisation, I discovered that some unscrupulous elements have mingled with the organisation and we needed to flush them out. Those are the bad elements that are giving OPC bad name. OPC as an organisation has good ideals and vision with the primary objective of promoting Yoruba interests, values and culture.

OPC was set up during the military era to fight injustice against the Yoruba race especially after the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election. At the time OPC was set up, former President, General Olusegun Obasanjo was being held in jail by the Abacha military junta. Part of the reasons OPC was set up was to fight the military junta that annulled the June 12 election, and also to ensure a return to democracy, and luckily we were able to achieve those objectives as democracy was restored to the country in 1999.

I’m determined to reform OPC because the impression some people have is that OPC is all about hooliganism and thuggery. But this is a wrong view of the group. Our objective as I said earlier is to promote Yoruba culture and practices. OPC members are not to be used as thugs or to unleash violence on people. I’m rebranding OPC, and this I’m doing quietly and this is why I have not been too loud in what I have been doing since assuming office as OPC leader. Moreover, I don’t believe in speaking too much. I believe in taking action rather than talking every time. Then, again we must try to find out, whether those talking every time have genuine intention or not, or whether they are doing so to attract attention with a view of getting something in return or not.

To tackle insecurity in the South West, some Nigerians are suggesting the idea of collaboration between the Police and OPC like it was done before. What’s your take on that?

It is a good idea, when Alhaji Musiliu Smith was the Inspector-General of Police, he initially expressed reservations about OPC activities but I later got an appointment with him, and I used the opportunity to explain to him in detail what OPC stands for. I told him that what people are telling him about OPC is not true. Then a lot of people were saying negative things about OPC. I took time to explain to Smith about the vision of OPC, and what the group stands for. My interactions with Smith led to collaboration between OPC and the Police, especially in the area of combating and tackling crime.  His successor, Alhaji Tafa Adebayo Balogun sustained that relationship and during his time there was also collaboration between the Police and OPC to enhance security of lives and properties especially in the South West.

Balogun is a man that should be appreciated. During his tenure, not only Nigeria was effectively policed and secured but the South West in particular enjoyed peace and security. Tafa Balogun had zero tolerance for crime and criminals and it was during his time that ‘Operation Fire-For-Fire’ was introduced. He is a man that should be appreciated. In the history of OPC, Tafa Balogun can’t be forgotten for how he ensured that the Police and OPC worked in harmony to protect lives and properties of Nigerians especially in the South West. It is a pity and very unfortunate that Tafa Balogun is not being appreciated the way Nigerians ought to appreciate him over his achievements in the area of security. Like it was done during Smith, and Balogun’s era, we can also do it now. OPC is ready to collaborate, and work with the Police and other security agencies to tackle the problem of insecurity in the country if we are invited.

How would you assess President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration?

There is no individual that is 100 percent perfect. As a leader, the president I believe has been trying his best to move the nation forward. He has been trying to sanitise the country through his fight against corruption. Corruption has caused a lot of havoc in the country. It has become a hydra-headed monster that we need to tame. We should all join hands to fight corruption if we want Nigeria to attain greatness.

Some Nigerians recently canvassed death penalty as punishment for corruption, what’s your take on that?

I’m in support of it. Death penalty is okay for corruption. Through corruption and corrupt practices, looters are destroying the nation. They are also killing Nigerians. By the time a few corrupt people are hanged or executed other would-be looters will beat a retreat. I don’t see anything wrong with execution of looters. Their execution will serve as a deterrent. If looters are executed, there will be sanity. Nigeria will not be the first country to execute looters. In China, looters are executed. There are also other countries that do so.

As a way of fighting corruption some have suggested that the newly elected public office holders should be made to swear by traditional gods like Ogun, Esu etc, that doing so will help to stem or tackle corruption as many public office holders don’t respect the Bible and the Quran which are currently being used for swearing-in ceremonies. What’s your reaction?

I fully support it. It is another effective way to tackle corruption. These traditional gods are agents of the supreme deity Yoruba called Olodumare. When you swear falsely on any of these gods, you are playing with fire because if you swear on them, and when you get to public office and start stealing, you will incur the wrath of these traditional gods as calamities in various forms will start afflicting anybody that swears falsely with them and this is why our public office holders are afraid of them. But if these public office holders have genuine intention to serve and not to loot, they should not be afraid or develop cold feet if they ask them to swear by traditional gods.

What is your reaction to the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day?

It is a welcome development. OPC as an organisation was part of the June 12 struggle. OPC came into being as part of other movements that emerged to fight the injustice of June 12 annulment. President Buhari should be commended for making the declaration.

What are your expectations from President Buhari in this second term in office?

It is only in Nigeria that I see citizens abuse their leaders. Even though you may disagree with his policies and programme, you don’t need to abuse Buhari as a leader. There are polite ways to express your disagreement with him without resorting to abuse.

As for my expectations from him, he should fix the power sector. He promised to do this during his first term but up till today the problems besetting the sector are still there and we all know that power is the key to so many economic challenges facing the nation. If the power sector is fixed, there will be a boom in the economy. Then small scale enterprises will also thrive, and employment will be generated for many unemployed Nigerians.

Buhari also promised to tackle the problem of unresolved murders and assassinations. There are so many unresolved murders and assassinations. We need to unravel these, so Buhari should keep to his promise  to let Nigerians know what happened in all these cases.

During his second term, Buhari should also ensure that he put in place, people-oriented programmes that will make life meaningful for Nigerians. He should also find ways to squarely address the problem of poverty.

To the South West governors, what’s your advice to them?

My advice is not only for the South West governors but all the newly elected leaders. They should know that they were elected to serve. They should therefore not be self-serving. They should not betray the electorate. They should know that public office is an avenue to serve and not platforms to loot. (The Sun)

Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32466100102, +2348189650279, +32497220468

https://facebook.com/TheRepulicanNews, https://twitter.com/RNNetwork1, https://instagram.com/therepublicannews1

Continue reading
Image

Islamic Jihadists Have Recruited Heavily From Fulani Herdsmen Across West Africa —UN Report |RN

West Africa map


•The crisis may engulf coastal West Africa —Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister warns

•10 million people in Lake Chad area need urgent help —UN

There are fears that the current security problems wracking the country, Nigeria could become worsened soon with reports that jihadists across the West African region are recruiting heavily from aggrieved Fulani pastoralists.

While the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), fears a hike in the population of the displaced in West Africa, other reports warned that militant groups in the Sahel are on their way down to West African coastal countries.

Sahel countries are Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Southern Algeria, Niger, North of Nigeria, Central Chad, Central and Southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, Cameroon, Central African Republic and the extreme north of Ethiopia.

The coastal countries of the West African region under these threats are Nigeria, Cape Verde, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Benin, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, The Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sao Tome and Principe and Mauritania.

The New Humanitarian news agency (formerly IRIN) a few days ago released a detailed report on the security crisis which may threaten the coastal West Africa with invasion by the militias.

According to the news agency, jihadist groups have recruited heavily from Fulani pastoralists, which it described as “an ethnic group that suffers from social exclusion as well as government and development programmes that favour agriculturalists.” The report added that this has raised tensions with members of other ethnic groups who say they are targeted by the jihadists.

“In the absence of the state, some have turned to self-defence militias, who have indiscriminately attacked Fulani communities,” it said.

“Failure to contain the insurgencies,” it said, “could also result in further regional destabilisation, with militant groups now moving southwards from Burkina Faso towards Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, and Benin, where two French tourists were recently kidnapped,” the report said.

“It’s no longer just the Sahel, it’s coastal West Africa and the risk of spreading regionally,” Burkina Faso Foreign Minister, Alpha Barry, told a security conference in Munich in February.

10 million people in Lake Chad area need urgent help —UN

The OCHA has also disclosed that nearly 10 million people, or half the population of the conflict-hit Lake Chad Basin region need humanitarian assistance as the decade-long conflict drags on.

In a report released during the week, OCHA said some 2.5 million people are now displaced. “Hunger and malnutrition remain high. Abduction, killings and rights violations are also widespread. Humanitarian response has been accelerated over the past three years, with many more affected people receiving assistance.”

It added that “this year, the humanitarian community is seeking US$1.3 billion to provide food, water, shelter, healthcare and safeguard the rights and dignity of the conflict-affected.

“The region is facing a severe protection crisis. The armed violence that has affected large parts of the Lake Chad Basin is stretching to its tenth year. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have lived in displacement sites and refugee camps for years, grappling with extreme hardship and deprivation. Many civilians have suffered abuse and rights violations and are deeply traumatised by the violence.

“It is critical to strengthen the protection of civilians, especially women and girls, and work towards preventing sexual and gender-based violence as well as enhance support to survivors. Women and girls face high risks of sexual and gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse primarily by armed groups, but also by men in uniform.

“Thousands of civilians have also been killed or abducted and many families separated.

“The recurrent attacks and insecurity as well as security measures have restricted free movement. “Farming, trade, transhumance and other activities have been significantly affected, depriving millions of people of their means of survival and limiting access to basic services. Displaced people are also unable to move freely in and out of camps.

“In January 2019, the Governments of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria reaffirmed their commitment to the Abuja Action Statement on civilian protection in the Lake Chad Basin region. The agreement comprises a range of actions to enhance protection and respond to the most urgent needs of refugees, internally displaced persons and other affected populations.”

Humanitarian needs still high

The OCHA added that: “Humanitarian needs remain high. The persistent violence and its impact on the lives of millions of people across the Lake Chad Basin mean that many families and communities still require help to survive.

“Humanitarian assistance has been significantly stepped up over the past three years, with millions more people receiving aid. Relief assistance needs to be sustained and international support increased to provide adequately to those in need. The prevalent insecurity and inadequate funding are some of the main hurdles to effective relief assistance.

“To sustain relief operations, the protection of aid workers and humanitarian assets is paramount. While providing life-saving assistance, aid workers have unfortunately come under attack. In 2018, six aid workers were killed in Nigeria and one is still held captive.

“The prevailing insecurity has forced the suspension of operations and withdrawal of humanitarian workers in some locations, leaving affected communities without access to basic services and assistance.

“As insecurity and recurrent armed attacks prevent the return of millions of displaced people to their homes, efforts towards lasting solutions are necessary to increase access to basic services and livelihoods. The protracted crisis calls for an early shift towards self-sufficiency. The displaced need not wait for the conflict to be fully resolved to start rebuilding their lives.

“In addition, steps towards increased collaboration between humanitarian and development strategies need to be sustained and strengthened.

“Greater economic and infrastructure investment are required to complement humanitarian action and decrease dependence on relief aid,” it said.

The report by The Humanitarian (formerly IRIN) reads in part

What is causing ethnic conflict?

Jihadist groups have recruited heavily from Fulani pastoralists, “an ethnic group that suffers from social exclusion as well as government and development programmes that favour agriculturalists.” This has raised tensions with members of other ethnic groups who say they are targeted by the jihadists.

In the absence of the state, some have turned to self-defence militias, who have indiscriminately attacked Fulani communities,

In January, attacks against Fulani villagers in northern Burkina Faso left more than 200 dead, according to local civil society groups. In March, some 160 Fulani men, women, and children were killed in a single attack by an ethnic Dogon militia in central Mali. The violence is now being widely described as “ethnic cleansing”.

Why is violence rising?

The violence has its roots in the activities of a number of local but globally oriented jihadist groups that have spent the past few years laying the groundwork for armed insurgencies and are now wreaking havoc across the Sahel – a semi-arid belt of land on the southern edge of the Sahara.

In 2012, the militants were largely contained to northern Mali, where they had joined forces with separatist Tuareg rebels to take over a number of strategic towns, including the fabled city of Timbuktu.

A French intervention in January 2013 dislodged them, but they regrouped and insurgencies have since spread into central Mali, northern, eastern and southwestern Burkina Faso and the Tahoua and Tillaberi regions of southwestern Niger.

“It is unprecedented,” the top UN official in Burkina Faso, Metsi Makhetha, told TNH recently. “The country has never had to deal with such massive displacement.”

The militancy’s rapid progress has been aided by the region’s vast desert areas and porous borders, a flow of firearms from nearby Libya, and weak – and often predatory – states that struggle to provide even basic social services: Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger all rank among the 10 least developed countries in the world, according to the UN’s Human Development Index.

“People think the jihadists can offer them a better life than the state,” Mahamadou Savadogo, a Burkinabe researcher, told TNH.

In recent times their tactics have shifted from targeted assassinations of government officials, soldiers, and local leaders that oppose their vision of Islam, to indiscriminate attacks against civilians and entire villages.

The response from security forces has, by and large, made matters worse. Last year Malian troops were implicated in mass killings in the central Mopti region, while in northern Burkina Faso TNH has documented recent atrocities by military personnel, who are now killing three times as many civilians than jihadists. Affected communities describe being trapped between the state and jihadists. Both sides accuse them of collaborating with the other.

France’s counter-insurgency force in the Sahel – Operation Barkhane – has been accused of stoking communal tensions by backing two Mali-based militias, the MSA and GATIA, which have targeted Fulani herders during anti-jihadist operations in both Niger and Mali.

A string of recent attacks on churches by militants in Burkina Faso could also now test relations between the country’s majority Muslim and minority Christian religious groups.

What are the humanitarian needs?

Internal displacement has increased five-fold in the past year according to the UN, with 330,000 people uprooted and a further 100,000 people fleeing across borders.

In Mali, the number of people forced to flee tripled in 2018 and continues to rise, with 133,000 newly displaced since the beginning of the year, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council.

In Burkina Faso, 170,000 people have been uprooted, with more than 100,000 fleeing so far this year. In Niger’s Tillaberi and Tahoua regions, violence has forced more than 70,000 people from their homes.

Levels of food insecurity and malnutrition were already chronically high following a severe drought in the Sahel last year. The current violence is now “compounding” these issues, “threatening civilians’ lives and livelihoods”, said Gasarabwe, the UN official. Some 5.1 million people require humanitarian assistance across the region but aid groups say the needs are far exceeding available resources.

The crisis in numbers

Civilian fatalities rose 7,000 percent in Burkina Faso, 500 percent in Niger, and 300 percent in Mali compared to the previous year
440,000 people displaced by conflict, a five-fold increase over the previous year, a five-fold increase over the previous year
1.8 million people face food insecurity
5.1 million people require humanitarian assistance
157 men, women, and children killed in March in one attack in Mali

How much worse could it get?

Conflicts are likely to escalate further through the year as militants expand their reach, ethnic militias proliferate, and communal divisions harden.

So far this month, 20 people have died after militants attacked four churches and a religious procession in northern Burkina Faso; at least 18 civilians have been killed by ethnic militias in central Mali; and jihadists killed 28 soldiers in western Niger – one of the deadliest attacks recorded in that area to date.

Projections on future population displacement are hard to come by, but Daouda Djouma, an official at the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, has said more than 380,000 people could be uprooted in Burkina Faso alone by December.

How is the international community responding?

Efforts to stem the violence aren’t working. The UN has around 13,000 peacekeepers deployed in Mali, but attacks by jihadists mean the mission is now “more a target than an anchor of stability”, according to a recent assessment from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

The French have 4,000 troops in the region as part of Operation Barkhane; the US is building a $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger; and five Sahelian states – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger – have united under the G5 Sahel joint force.

But analysts and aid groups say focusing on military solutions risks overlooking the social and political grievances enabling militants to take root within local communities. A recent study by the peacebuilding charity International Alert attributes the rise in violent extremism in the Sahel to weak states rather than religious ideology.

Which jihadist groups are involved?

The largest coalition of jihadist groups is known as Jama’at Nusrat ul-Islam wal-Muslimeen, or JNIM. It brings together al-Qaeda’s Sahara franchise, AQIM, with a number of other militant groups. The coalition was formed in March 2017 and operates in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

A franchise of so-called Islamic State, known as Islamic State in the Greater Sahara or ISGS, has been active since 2015 and is also gaining ground despite recent pressure from French forces.

In his first video message in five years, the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, paid special tribute to ISGS fighters in Burkina Faso and Mali: “We congratulate them for their joining the convoy of the caliphate,” he said.

An assortment of homegrown militant groups – including Ansaroul Islam in northern Burkina Faso and Katiba Macina in central Mali – completes the picture. Their success is largely predicated on understanding the local grievances of different communities, in particular the Fulani.

A surge in violence across West Africa’s Sahel has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and left thousands dead since January, as Islamist militants with links to al-Qaeda and so-called Islamic State extend their reach across the region at a time when they are losing ground in their Middle Eastern strongholds.

For the past 10 months, The New Humanitarian has been one of the few news organisations reporting consistently from the front lines on the civilian impact of the rapid rise in violence by the militants, who are based primarily in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger – three countries with shared borders and problems.

Five takeaways on the growing violence and its civilian toll
Jihadist groups are manipulating inter-communal conflicts. They are exploiting the region’s ethnic fault lines to stir violence that can be far deadlier than anything the militants are doing directly themselves. In central Mali, the level of violence may now qualify as ethnic cleansing.
Governments have helped local militias thrive. Central governments have allowed and in some cases encouraged the proliferation of communal militia groups – decisions that are now coming home to roost as intercommunal conflicts rise.
Civilians look to jihadists for support the state doesn’t provide. Jihadist groups often understand the social grievances of local communities. A recent study by the peacebuilding charity International Alert attributes the rise in violent extremism in the Sahel to weak states rather than religious ideology.
Civilians are becoming casualties of security forces. These forces add to the insecurity by killing civilians during counter-terrorism operations. In Burkina Faso, military forces are killing three times more civilians than jihadists.
Displacement, food insecurity, and other humanitarian crises are escalating, but resources to respond are lacking. Some 5.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, and the new violence is “compounding” already existing needs and “threatening civilians’ lives and livelihoods”, a UN official said.

According to data from ACLED – a group that monitors and maps conflicts – civilian fatalities between November 2018 and March this year rose by an “alarming” 7,000 percent in Burkina Faso, 500 percent in Niger, and 300 percent in Mali, when compared to the same period the year before.

In early May, senior UN officials from all three countries warned that insecurity had “reached unprecedented levels”.

The situation has surprised many analysts and UN and government officials and is pushing an area already prone to droughts and floods to its limit, with 440,000 people forced from their homes by conflict in the past year alone.

Hundreds of thousands of people are now without access to education and healthcare as staff flee their posts; 1.8 million people are facing critical food insecurity.

“Many people affected by the violence were already facing serious difficulties,” said Mbaranga Gasarabwe, the UN resident coordinator in Mali. “For them it is a double disaster.”

The militants’ increased presence has sparked a violent backlash by the region’s overstretched security forces and fuelled a growing number of explosive inter-communal conflicts among ethnic groups accused of either supporting or opposing the jihadists. (Nigerian Tribune)

Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32466100102, +2348189650279, +3249722046

https://facebook.com/TheRepulicanNews, https://twitter.com/RNNetwork1, https://instagram.com/therepublicannews1

Continue reading
Image

Fulani Herdsmen Testing Waters In The South Prior To Predetermined Attack – Prof. Adebooye

Cartoon: Fulani herdsman with his radio

Prof. Clement Adebooye, who is the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University and Secretary-General, Governing Board of African-German Network of Science, tells FEMI MAKINDE that the present government lacks the political will to tackle insecurity

Killer herdsmen are on the rampage in many parts of the country and there is Boko Haram in the North-East while banditry is ravaging the North-West. What do you think are the implications of these crises?

Definitely, these problems will lead to food crisis. The attacks on farmers and destruction of their farms as well as attacks on their households are dangerous. If you sack farmers from their production zones and they are not able to produce, then there will be nobody to contribute the little proportion they contribute to food production capacity of the country. As things are now, many farmers in the North are at the mercy of donors. They are living at the Internally Displaced Persons camps. Producers have been reduced to beggars and when producers are reduced to beggars, then shortage is looming. So, it is implied that there will be food crisis soon if things do not change.

How do you think the herdsmen crisis can be tackled since it will have a negative effect on food security?

Nomadic life is not new in this country and cattle rustling is not a new phenomenon within Nigeria. The question is why have these two suddenly become big issues? Why do the herdsmen now need to carry sophisticated weapons around instead of rods they used to goad their animals? We should ask questions from those that are older and learn from history. We grew up to know herdsmen and the kind of crisis we are witnessing now was not there then. Are we saying the number of the cattle has increased so much that herders now have to carry AK-47 to protect their animals?  The answer to these questions is no. The issue is that Nigeria is facing a serious and fundamental problem now. This problem is caused by people who have political motives.

What kind of political motives do the herdsmen have?

The political motives are two-pronged. The first is this Boko Haram issue which, in a way, is saying that western education is useless and that people should shun it. It is a political objective and there are some people behind it. The other one may be extreme politics about who governs the nation and who rules where. It appears as if there is a scheme to annihilate the whole of Nigeria and convert it to a particular dynasty that I don’t want to mention. What is happening now is not new to Nigeria. Anybody that has read history will remember that there was a war similar to this before. Between 1840 and 1860, there was a similar war which was launched from the northern Nigeria and the war raged down the South until they were defeated around Osogbo. They were fighting down the South all in the name of Jihad. So, what is going on now can be something like that. The current attacks are not targeted at farmers only; they are killing students, teachers, doctors, chiefs, kings, their subjects and anybody they see. This is not a war against farmers only; it is a war against the generality of Nigerians. Those who launch such wars like the ones we are seeing always have a date that they will launch the major one. They may launch the final war soon. What they are doing now is just to do a trial run and see the level of resistance.

Are you saying they are planning to unleash terror on the nation and overrun it?

They are just ‘test-running’ now to see the level of resistance of the people but unfortunately, there is no resistance anywhere.

But why has it been difficult to arrest those behind this?

The reason is because there is no political will to tackle the problem. We all know that when armed robbers strike in a place and the police want to work, they get those robbers arrested within two weeks. But how many of these herdsmen have been arrested and prosecuted since they have been killing? They have been killing for about four years now; unfortunately, none of them has been caught. This points to the fact they are enjoying a kind of socio-political backing and it is sending a signal that what we are witnessing is a kind of trial run with the hope that in no distant future, they will launch the bigger attack and it will be total.

Is it possible for outsiders to perpetrate these criminal acts without the support of the locals?

It seems to me that the killer herdsmen are not acting and working alone. They have collaborators within the other ethnic groups in Nigeria.  For example, I’m still wondering how brave the herdsmen could be to operate around Asejire along Ife-Ibadan Expressway without the support of the locals. This is the worrisome part of the whole saga. It means that the nation has been held hostage. Everybody is just looking for a way to make money at the expense of the masses. That is why some of those at the lowest rung of the ladder are engaged in criminal activities.

Those in the political as well as ruling class have also held the nation hostage by creating disharmony among the people through politics, religion and ethnicity. We have been disorganised to such an extent that all social structures have been destroyed. Pressure groups are no longer there and we are all praying on the mountain in order to solve social problems that could be solved by one day protest. The psyche of our people is damaged by the political class and that is why our youths have lost the necessary societal values and therefore, cannot think correctly.

As an agriculturist, what will you suggest as the solution to the problem of open grazing?

This problem is political and that is why ranching may never solve it. Ranching and cattle colonies as they are proposing are a way of handling the land of some people over to other people. That is the reason it will not solve the problem. It is a tactical way of grabbing land and giving the same to some people. Israel is in the desert and they practise agriculture on a large scale including raising livestock but there is no problem with herdsmen there.  About 75 per cent of the land in Australia is desert and Australia has much more cattle than human beings; yet this problem does not exist there. Israel is in the desert and the number of cattle there is much more than the cattle we have here in this country. Despite that the landmass is very small compared to Nigeria’s. Have you heard of herdsmen destroying farms there?  They are raising cattle in many countries much more than we have here and they don’t have the kind of crisis that we have.

How are they handling it?

What the government here should do is to create an enabling environment in the areas where people raise cattle. They should set up irrigated pasture in the North. If they establish that, those who carry AK-47 will have no excuse for killing, raping and destroying people’s property all over the country in the name of looking for greener pasture for their animals. Irrigated pasture is a practice in agriculture and it will solve this problem coupled with a strong political will. I am sure you are aware that they grow tomatoes in Kano State, Borno and other states and they grow onions and other things as well. They raise these crops during the dry season with the help of irrigation. Why can’t government use similar irrigation method for pasture instead of coming to seize land from the South-West, South-East and South-South in the name of ranches?  Israel produces enormous citrus and many other crops through irrigation. Why is our government running away from doing that?

Are you saying the government should assist pastoralists by setting up irrigated pasture in areas where cattle raising is their major business?

Yes, this should be done in the North where cattle raising is their business. It makes sense. Why are the people of the South-West not asking government to give them land in the North to grow kola nuts, cocoa and palm trees? Why is the government not providing the enabling environment for the people in the South to go and plant these crops in the North? Why is the government not allowing farmers to go to Kano and other states in the core North to raise pigs? Why can’t government set aside 50 hectares of land to raise pigs in Kano or Sokoto State? Government should create the enabling environment in the North for those raising cattle, not seizing the land of some people under the guise of cattle colonies or ranches.

Insurgency can’t thrive except it is supported by government. Look at what happened in Kano State during the Maitasine riot in 1983. It was put at bay by the troops of the nation. The government troops drove those militants outside the country. What is the difference between the war by the killer herders and the Maitasine rioters? It is the will of the government that is lacking to address the problem. This government in Nigeria has no political will to stop the carnage going on around the country. There is no where people are kidnapped in Nigeria and such is not traced to killer Fulani herdsmen. Most kidnappings in the country are done by these herdsmen. Chief Olu Falae was kidnapped by the herdsmen; the Obafemi Awolowo University professor recently abducted was kidnapped by the Fulani people. Some Methodist priests were kidnapped in Osun State as well as in Ekiti State. This shows that the government has tacitly legalised all these criminal activities and that is why they thrive. Those behind this crime are not arrested or prosecuted; and this has emboldened them to do more.  You can’t see this happening in any sane society.

Let us put things in perspective. How many armed robbers have been arrested in the last four years? They are many. How many robbers have the police attacked and killed in the last four years? I am sure many of them have been arrested and some killed. So, why have the security agencies not been able to arrest any of the herdsmen killing people all over the country? Why is it very difficult to arrest these people? The situation is becoming worse in the South-West.

Are you also saying the South-West is under the siege of herdsmen as alleged by the Yoruba Council of Elders?

The South-West is under the siege of these people. I said something earlier that these people are engaged in trial run of their weapons and strategies and that the day of final onslaught is coming.

How do you think this can be prevented?

It is the government that has the security forces that can do that. The ordinary people are incapacitated. The people that have the instrument of authority should act now before it is too late. I doubt if anybody in the South-West or the South-East is ready to go to war now. These attackers will just overrun us if they strike because the government is not interested in protecting the people.

What do you think is the motive behind the alleged plan to overrun the people?

Do you know that these people have a veiled mission? We have heard that the ISIS has joined the fight and you can never tell their strategy. It appears like they are trying to convert the whole of West Africa to come under a political dynasty that will have one identity. Some people are trying to convert our region to a political entity known to them. It is a conversion process that is going on. From what we have read, people who do this kind of things, all over the world, first carry out trial runs just like the ones we are witnessing now. And after that, they will strike. They will first test the strength of their opponents and the quality of their resistance after which they will strike. Let me make it clear that this has nothing to do with Islam. I say this because we have Muslims in the South-West but have you heard that they slaughter people of other religions because of Islam? Also, In Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other countries where Islam is the dominant religion, such killings do not happen. Why are those ones killing here? You will know that it is part of their culture.

If the executive is not willing to act to prevent the looming disaster, why are the lawmakers at the National Assembly not putting pressure on the executive?

Cheap money impairs thinking. There are no people that will collect the amount of money they collect and will be able to think about the people. They are only representing themselves and not the people. People who get such huge amount of money with little or no work won’t put the people first. Also, the political parties we have do not have ideologies and that is one of the reasons those elected on their platforms do not consider the people in what they do. Nigeria was programmed by God to succeed but some Nigerians have held the country hostage and there can’t be development until the nation is liberated.

You have won many grants for your universities from Germany and Canada. What will you say is making it difficult for many Nigerian scholars to achieve this feat?

The number one thing before you can win grants from these foreign countries is the quality of your research work. Your work must be of good quality before they will agree to fund it. Also, you must have built good reputation for yourself. Those who have given you money before must be able to vouch for your reputation. You must have previous records of ground-breaking research work. Your reputation as a researcher builds the reputation of your university. Those people won’t give you their money because your university has a big name but if somebody from a small university has done a quality research and such has good reputation, it will be easier for others from the same university to receive grants provided they also have good research work they want to do.

Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +23481819650279, +32466100102

https://facebook.com/TheRepulicanNews, https://twitter.com/RNNetwork1, https://instagram.com/therepublicannews1

Continue reading
Image

Fulani Herdsmen Killing Us Like Chicken, Delta Community Cries Out |The Republican News

Republican News file Photo: Armed Fulani herdsmen


…Says indigenes now captives in their land


Christopher Oji

The people of Ubulu-Uku, a predominantly farming community in Aniocha South Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State, have raised the alarm over herdsmen’s siege on the area and other neighbouring communities, including Onicha-Ugbo and Isele-Uku, in Aniocha North LGA.

The people of Ubulu-Uku and its environs under attack from gunmen alleged to be Fulani herdsmen have cried out for urgent intervention, saying they need the protection of the police, other security agencies and government attention in general.

In the past two weeks alone, suspected herdsmen have shot dead an illustrious son of Ubulu-Uku, Mr. Chikwe Ojinji, while the medical director of Goodnews Hospital, Isele-Uku, Dr. Andrew Odozi, a native of Onicha-Ugbo, was also murdered by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.
Dr. Odozi was killed in the line of duty while rushing to the hospital to save the life of Mr. Meme, who was shot in the neck by herdsmen along the Isele-Uku/Ubulu-Uku Road.


The doctor received a distress call from his staff that Meme was rushed to the hospital in Isele-Uku for gunshot injuries. He was on his way to rescue the injured man when he ran into a roadblock mounted by herdsmen, who were robbing commuters unchallenged. The doctor was subsequently robbed and shot.

Dr. Odozi died on the spot and his body has since been deposited at the mortuary. Meme was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, where he is now recuperating. Also in the hospital was a legal practitioner who declined to be named for personal reasons. He was abducted on Isele-Uku/Ubulu-Uku road and paid a N1 million ransom before the herdsmen released him. The lawyer was visiting his hometown from Lagos when he fell into the hands of the gunmen.

He said: “I saw hell. I had brief worth millions on Monday and I was abducted at the weekend. I was released on Wednesday after my wife paid a N1 million ransom. This is a shame. I have lived in the North and I understand a little Fulani. My abductors were Fulani people. How can people from far North come to be abducting people in our land and we are keeping quiet?

“Can people from the South and East go to the northern part of the country and be abducting people, demanding ransom and killing them? This is a shame, and we must address it and rise up against this affront or else we have been captured.”

Under the current scenario, one-time peaceful and serene communities are now under the siege of herdsmen.

Speaking on the plight of Ubulu-Uku people, a member of the local vigilance group, Emeka Chukwudi, described Ubulu-Uku as a conquered community at the mercy of herdsmen: “That is the truth. We have been conquered by strangers who have taken over our farmlands. This is because we are incapacitated by the police who have disarmed us and allowed the herdsmen to move freely with sophisticated firearms. The herdsmen are doing well in their agenda to take over our place. Today, I am so sad that one-time strong Ubulu-Uku is suffering from attacks by Fulani herdsmen.
“Herdsmen abducted our king about three years ago and butchered him like a common criminal. We are still suffering from the abominable act on our king, His Royal Highness, Obi Akaeze Christopher Ofulue. As if that was not enough, the hoodlums, who masquerade as herdsmen, want to render us jobless. You know that we are predominantly farmers, that is our pride, but we are scared to go to the farms for fear of being killed. We are surrounded by other communities such as Abu-Ugba, Ogwashi-Uku, Obior and Isele-Uku. The herdsmen have virtually taken over the borderland between Ubulu-Uku and other towns and are callously unleashing terror on us on a daily basis.

“Recently, a woman was killed between Ubulu-Uku and Obior. She was going to Umunede Market when she was waylaid by herdsmen, who butchered her and stole her motorcycle. We saw her corpse but we don’t know what they did to her before they finally killed her. A few days after, some indigenes coming home for Christmas were robbed. The two incidents forced people to abandon the Ubulu-Uku/Obior road for Isele-Uku/Ubulu-Uku road in order to access other communities.

“As it is, we are in deep trouble. The hoodlums have taken over all the bushes surrounding Ubulu-Uku, through Isele-Uku, Ogwashi-Uku, Obior, Ubulu-Unor, Onitcha-Ugbo and Abu-Ugba.

“There are no longer safe access roads in and out of Ubulu-Uku and there is no help in sight, as people are scared to go to the farm for fear of being killed. Even if one is courageous enough to go to the farm, how will the person transport the farm produce to neighbouring markets, when the access roads have been taken over by killer herdsmen who unleash terror on road users? These brigands are doing their nefarious business unchallenged and this is a slap on our faces. But there is no way we can challenge gunmen with machetes and stones. Our children who live outside the town are scared to visit home because of the killer herdsmen that have taken over our surroundings.

“Recently, Monday Ike, who was working on his farm along the Ubulu-Uku/Onticha Ugbo road, was accosted by Fulani herdsmen who had kidnapped some victims and kept them in the thick forest. The herdsmen were running out of food and water, so they boldly approached him and ordered Ike to go to the village and bring them water and food, at his own expense, warning that they would kidnap him from his farm if he spilt the beans. Ike pledged not to report what he saw to anybody.

“He eventually reported the development to the vigilance group, who called in the police. The police and the vigilance group stormed the forest, rescued the victims and arrested a herder. But a few days later, the suspect was freed by the police.

“Recently, herdsmen blocked the Isele-Uku/Ubulu-Uku road and abducted two occupants of a car. They released the victims after collecting N600,000. Again, an indigene of Isele-Azagba living in Ubulu-Uku, Mr. Sunday, his wife and son were accosted along the road. Their attackers, suspected to be herdsmen, shot the man in the neck and abducted his wife and son. After two days in captivity, the victims were released after N1 million was paid. The man is still battling for his life in the hospital.

“In fact, we are like the bank Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to herdsmen. They are dealing with us unchallenged and it so sad. Right now, we are living in fear and abject poverty, because our farmers are afraid to go to the farm. Commercial motorcycle operation is the only lucrative business in our town now, as farmers have abandoned their farms. And we can’t blame any farmer who has abandoned his or her farmland. Of what use is it, after investing in your farm and working for almost one year, and herdsmen start grazing their cattle with your labour in just one day? That is the problem. Can you imagine what would happen when over 200 cows enter a farm, and when the owner of the farm challenges the herders, they shoot him or her?

“The worst of it all is that they rape women in the presence of their husbands and children and rape daughters in front of their parents and siblings. I don’t want to mention names because of the despicable nature of the act. Abomination is being witnessed in our land.

“We, members of the vigilance group, are handicapped as it is today. We used to patrol our roads, but our vehicle has been grounded and the police have disarmed us, while the herdsmen are fully armed with Ak47 rifles and other sophisticated weapons. We are only left with machetes, knives and axes. How do we use ordinary cutlasses to confront herdsmen armed with AK47 and other assault rifles? The only solution is to fall back to the police, but the police post in our community is manned by a man and a woman. There is no other policeman there. Let the government give us adequate police manpower and leave intelligence gathering for us. We have all it takes in intelligence and we will assist the police in fishing out the herdsmen because we know where they are, but we have been disarmed by the government.”

Younger brother to slain Ojinji, Mr. Charles Ojinji, who narrated how his brother was killed, said: “We are still in shock over our elder brother’s sudden and unnatural death. He was a warrior who has the interest of the community at heart. I have envisaged his murder because we all were farming on the land before Fulani herdsmen, who followed the high tension wire to a forest reserve, near a stream in Aniagbala, a suburb of Ubulu-Uku, took over our farmlands. When we saw that they were fully armed, we left our farms for them. What attracted the herdsmen there was the beautiful stream that is now a curse to us. Their cows would eat our farm produce, eat the yam tubers in our barns, cassava, vegetables, drink our water and mess up our stream. The stream is the only source of water in our community.

“One day, we challenged the herders and they beat some of us up. They held them hostage at gunpoint. Since that time, some people stopped going to the farm to avoid the wrath of herdsmen who have taken over our land. We did nothing and we owe them nothing, yet we have been subjected to all manner of inhuman treatment. Our women are not spared.

“I was shocked last year when my brother went back to the same captured farmland to start farming again. Well, other people were still farming there but, one day, over 200 cows entered the farm and ate up everything. My brother was enraged. I don’t know what transpired between him and the herders. Anyway, a witness told me that my brother was attacked with machetes and shot with a gun. My brother’s wife travelled to Lagos and there was nobody at home. When his neighbours noticed that he did not return from the farm, they called me and we went to the farm and saw him in a pool of blood. We rushed him to the hospital but the doctor confirmed him dead on arrival.

“They have killed my brother, what else can they do? Today it is my brother, who knows the next person tomorrow? Well, herdsmen are everywhere in the bush surrounding our community, we are under siege. The police deposited his body in the mortuary. We want the body of our brother so that we can bury him to allow him to rest in peace.”

On his part, the palace secretary, Joseph Obaze, the mouthpiece of His Royal Majesty, Obi Ofulue, described the siege on Ubulu-Uku community as worrisome: “We are really under serious attack by herdsmen. We are really going through excruciating pains. We have just finished the meeting and we are planning for a massive peaceful protest over the attacks on our people by Fulani herdsmen. We have met heads of farm roads in the town and they all narrated their ordeals in the hands of herdsmen and their cattle. They told how their farms are being ravaged by cattle. Apart from the fruits and vegetables, the herders would go to our barns and feed their cattle with the yams. We have written to the police and they said they were going to discuss the issue in the security meeting.

“There is another keg of gunpowder ready to explode. A native has just opened a cattle ranch and tomatoes market in the town. We are not against him, but he has started employing Fulani to take care of the ranch. Our fear is that, wherever these herders settle, they start bringing their people to the place. We have given the businessman an ultimatum to leave the place because we are not comfortable with killer Fulani people.

“What surprises me is that we rear native cows in this area, yet they don’t stray into people’s farms. Our cows don’t feed on yam and cassava but only grass. They should leave us alone, we don’t need their meat. They should not use their business to disturb ours. As they love their cows, so also do we love our farms.

“Many people are scared to go to the farms for fear of being attacked by the herdsmen. Women are being abused and the men are being killed. That is why we are crying to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adegoke Adeleke, to come to our rescue and save us from being exterminated by killer herdsmen. The governor and the CP should expedite action as we are living in fear. There is tension in the town, things have really fallen apart.

“It is not as if we are cowardly but we want to explore all avenues for peace. We love peace but our peacefulness should not be taken as weakness. Let the government intervene and save us from a war situation.”
Obaze has, however, appealed to Ubulu-Uku indigenes and residents to be law-abiding and conscious of the development: “Let us not abandon farm work that we are known for. People should go to the farm in groups while those travelling should avoid night journey until the government is able to solve the riddle,” he said.

Meanwhile, CP Adegoke said he was aware of the killing of the doctor, even though the case was not reported to any police station: “I am also aware of the attack on a lawyer and the killing in Ubulu-Uku. I personally led an operation to the bush and some suspects were arrested and are with me. I want to assure you that the police are not keeping quiet. For me to lead an operation to the bush, you must agree that we are doing something about it,” he said.

Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork1@gmail.com, phone: +32497220468, +2348189650279, +32466100102.

https://facebook.com/TheRepublicanNews, https://twitter.com/RNNetwork1, https://instagram.com/therepublicannews1

Continue reading
Image

PDP Slams Presidency For Saying Killings Under Buhari Lower Than Other Governments |RN

Buhari-returns-from-London

Olusola Fabiyi, Olalekan Adetayo, Eniola Akinkuotu, Friday Olokor, Adelani Adepegba, Olaleye Aluko and Olaide Oyelude

The Peoples Democratic Party, the Campaign for Democracy and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership on Monday attacked President Muhammadu Buhari following the Presidency’s rating of killings under the current regime as lower than those of the past PDP governments.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had said the abduction of the District Head of Daura, Alhaji Musa Uba, who is also the husband to President Buhari’s niece, Hajiya Bilki, showed that security agencies were not giving any town preferential treatment.

The abducted district head is also the father-in-law to Buhari’s Aide-de-camp, Col. Mohammed Abubakar.

Umar was kidnapped by yet-to-be identified gunmen at his residence in Daura, Katsina State last week Wednesday.

The President’s spokesman, who said this during an interview on Kakaaki, a breakfast television programme on the Africa Independent Television, argued that the number of people killed under Buhari’s watch was lower when compared with Nigerians that lost their lives under the past governments.

But the PDP urged Buhari to stop comparing the number of Nigerians killed under his administration with those of the party. Rather, the opposition party asked him to see the abduction of his town’s district head as an insult to the nation and a wake-up call for him to fight insecurity in the country.

Shehu had while responding to a question on the rising cases of banditry as evidenced by the abduction of the President’s in-law said, “Well, that has happened but I think that brings the message home that it is a national problem and that because the President comes from Daura, that is not to say there cannot be crime in Daura or Daura will be specially treated.

“The army said two days ago that there were clear pointers that these problems were beyond criminality.”

Shehu, however, scored the Buhari administration 98 per cent in the fight against insurgency.

He said, “If you ask me about the biggest security (challenge) we met on the ground, it is Boko Haram terrorism and I will score this administration 98 per cent coming this far because Boko Haram is now confined to the fringes of the Lake Chad. As a matter of fact, they jump in and out and mainly occupy communities that have not been re-occupied by their owners.”

Responding to a report by the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu’s, claim that 1,071 persons lost their lives in crime-related cases across the country in the first quarter of 2019, Shehu said despite the recent rising killings, banditry and kidnapping, the figure was still better than that of the previous administrations.

The President said although he would not want to compare figures, the facts remained sacred.

Shehu said, “Yes, there has been a recent rise (in attacks) but this is not to suggest that this has never happened in the country and they are beginning just now because President Buhari is out of the country.

“You mentioned the numbers but I want to say from our own point of view in the Presidency, we have avoided comparing numbers because it will lead to the same criticisms that some people have made of being insensitive because even if it is one life of a Nigerian that is lost, it is important, it cannot be justified, it cannot be defended.

“But anybody who takes the trouble to check the Presidential website; at some point Femi (Adesina) had done the numbers and the staggering numbers put on display coming from the past are nothing comparable to these numbers but we will not take it likely.”

He also defended Buhari’s decision to travel to the United Kingdom for 10 days during the height of insecurity.

Shehu said the President was entitled to rest even as he claimed that Buhari was in firm control of the nation while in the UK.

The President’s spokesman said security agencies were doing their best but noted that things would not change overnight but would take some time.

Let kidnapping of Daura district head drive you to action, PDP tells Buhari

But reacting to the Presidency’s claim, the PDP called on President Buhari to “wake up and realise that he is leading a country of about 200 million people.”

The party also asked the President to consider the kidnapping of the district head of Daura, as an insult to himself and the nation.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbodiyan, who spoke with The PUNCH, said the daring manner with which kidnappers had been operating in the country made the party to ask Buhari to return to Nigeria from London where he went for a “private visit” for 10 days.

Ologbodiyan said, “It is an insult that kidnappers could be that daring to the extent of going a few metres to his (Buhari’s) house and take away his district head.

“That is a worse form of insult to the President of a country like Nigeria. To us, nothing compares to that insult.

“This was one of the many reasons we asked him to abandon whatever he was doing in London and return home. If he had been asked how Nigeria was while he was there, what would have been his response?

“Now is the time for him to show that he still has energy, if he actually has, to work.

“We know that there were no bandits in this country, especially in the North-West before the elections. But they were the ones that brought mercenaries from other countries to this country for the elections.

“The President should therefore wake up and act as a leader, who is leading a nation of more than 200 millon people.”

Ologbondiyan also said it was sad that the Presidency could be comparing the number of deaths in particular administration with what was happening now.

While saying the PDP was not interested in the number of deaths before now, he said the President could quit if he felt the job was too much for him.

He said, “We are not interested in the number of deaths then and now because we are not morticians; we do not work at mortuaries. What we want is peace and a stop to the senseless killings in the country.

“The President came with a promise to change things positively. He did not promise that he would be taking the number of people killed in his administration and then compare the figure with other administrations when he is done.

“However, one thing is sure: we were not witnessing these daily killings, kidnappings, weeping, gnashing of teeth and sorrow during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua and President Goodluck Jonathan. They were never gang of failures.

‘If the President is tired as we could see now, he is free to throw in the towel.”

Buhari at risk of bandits’ attacks, say CD, CACOL

Also, two civil society organisations, CD and CACOL said if the Federal Government allowed the insecurity in the North-West to fester, the President might soon be attacked or abducted by the bandits.

The two organisations spoke in different interviews with one of our correspondents.

The CD National President, Usman Abdul, said, “Let me be emphatic. If President Buhari happened to be in Daura on that day when the bandits struck, the President might have been kidnapped also.

“Some of the pledges that the President made during the recent elections were things that bordered on security. Today, it is very unfortunate that the President’s in-law was abducted and the Senior Special Assistant, Garba Shehu, was lamenting.

“It is a shame that this government has not done enough to secure its citizens, which is its primary responsibility. On our part as a civil society organisation, we are not alarmed by Shehu’s statement because they have not met their primary responsibility to safeguard us and our property.

“It is laughable that this is the next level we are preparing for. Nigeria is at a crossroads. If Buhari was in Daura on that day, he might have been taken hostage too.”

Also the CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “What has happened in Daura and in that geopolitical zone may be due to intelligence gathering failure. If the intelligence system had been working, attacks would have been nipped in the bud.

“What I believe that the bandits want to prove is that if they wanted to get to our President, they could get him. Sometimes, the President goes to Daura to attend Muslim prayers and others. What the bandits are saying is that nobody is completely safe in this country. Also the security agencies must review their operational system.”

Presidency adding insult to Nigerians’ injury – ADC

On its part, the African Democratic Congress said it amounted to adding insult to Nigerians’ injury for the presidential spokesman to claim that the kidnap of the district head of the President’s town showed that security agencies were not giving any town preferential treatment.

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Yemi Kolapo, said this in an interview with The PUNCH.

She said, “We are not talking about where these killings and abductions are taking place or who the targets are. What we are talking about is the increasing rate of insecurity in all parts of the country.

“By saying that what happened in Daura showed that no town is given preferential treatment, one will even think they stage-managed the kidnap so that they can say so.”

On the claim that the rate of killings under the present administration was lower than what was obtainable during the last administrations, Kolapo asked the Presidency to end the killings and stop comparing figures.

Sad, Buhari rationalising crimes, says MBYC

However, the Middle Belt Youth Council said it was sad that the Presidency could be rationalising crimes, saying Buhari was never serious about fighting crime.

Its President, Emma Zopmal, said, “At the outset of this menace, the Presidency was playing politics and pranks over insecurity, partly because it was not yet in their immediate domain. They were seeing it from afar so it did not really matter to them until now.”   (Punch)

 

Subscribe to The Republican News. Advertise with us. Call us for press release, enquiries. Email: RepublicanNewsNetwork@gmail.com, phone: +32466100102, +2348189650279, +32497220468.

https://facebook.com/TheRepublicanNews, https://twitter.com/RNNetwork1, https://instagram.com/therepublicannews1

Continue reading

Image

Fulani Herdsmen Collect N2.2m Ransom From Kidnapped Customs, NDLEA Officers, Others’ Families

Samson Folarin

Suspected Fulani herdsmen last week abducted six Abuja-bound passengers in Akunnu, in the Akoko North Local Government Area of Ondo State.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the victims had boarded a Sienna SUV at Jibowu, Yaba, Lagos State, around 9am last Tuesday.

The vehicle was said to have been intercepted by the gun-wielding hoodlums around 1pm.

Our correspondent learnt that the herdsmen led the passengers and driver into a forest, where they held them captive for five days.

Among the victims were officers of the Nigeria Customs Service and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

A retiree and a female student were also said to have been taken captive by the gunmen, who reportedly threatened to kill anyone who refused to cooperate with them.

After rounds of beating with cutlasses and sticks, the hoodlums were said to have converted the phone lines of two of their victims to their operational lines through which they demanded N5m ransom from the families of the victims.

Our correspondent learnt that after they were paid N2.2m, the gunmen freed the captives on Saturday.

One of the victims, Segun Obisanya, who retired from the Federal Civil Service in June this year, said the hoodlums took advantage of the bad road to abduct them.

He said during the five days that they were in captivity, the herdsmen fed them with half-cooked yam stolen from other people’s farms.

Obisanya stated, “When we got to Akunnu, Ondo State, there were potholes on the road and the driver had to slow down. It was at that point that the herdsmen came out of the bush. They were 11 in number and were heavily armed. Two of them had cutlasses, while the others had guns. They blocked our vehicle from the front and the back and began shooting into the air.

“They led us into the bush. We were six in number, including a lady, who should be about 24 years old.

“We walked in the bush for over four hours, after which they asked us to wait. They said they were not armed robbers, but kidnappers and that each of our families must pay N5m. They said if our families did not pay, they would slaughter us.”

Obisanya said the group was always on the move, adding that they slept whenever the sun set.

He noted that the bandits asked them to decide on whose relative would bring the ransom.

He narrated, “They beat us with cutlasses and sticks and said we should call our relatives for money. The lady among us suffered the most in their hands. Later, they asked us to decide and appoint somebody who had a trustworthy relative. They said the relative’s bank account would be used to collect all the ransom and the relative would bring the money to them.

“One person raised his hand and said he had an uncle in Edo State. So, our family members transferred money into the man’s uncle account. The person brought the money on Saturday morning. When the man brought the money, they asked him to stop at a particular junction. About three of them then went to collect the money.”

The captives were later released.

Obisanya insisted that the men were Fulani herdsmen because of the language they were conversing in.

He noted that throughout the time the captives were in the kidnappers’ den, the men stole tubers of yam from nearby farms to feed them.

The female victim, identified only as Temilade, could not speak to our correspondent when contacted because she was said to still be traumatised by her ordeal.

However, her uncle, who did not want to be identified, said Temilade had sent him a message to request money for the kidnappers.

“Uncle, please I am in the hands of kidnappers. They asked each of us to pay N5m, but anything you can raise will go a long way with what I have asked from other people. Sir, I will be dead by this time tomorrow because today is the second day,” the text  message sent by Temilade to the relative obtained by our correspondent read.

Temilade’s uncle said some money had been sent by other relatives before she was released with the other victims on Saturday.

He stated, “They left the park at 9am and the incident happened around noon; it was in broad daylight. We initially thought the telephone number the kidnappers were using to negotiate with us belonged to them, not knowing that they converted two of the victims’ lines to their operational lines.

“They released them after getting a total of N2.2m. My niece was the only female in the group, which consisted of a customs officer and an NDLEA officer,” Temilade’s uncle added.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Femi Joseph, confirmed the incident.

“They (victims) have all been released. But we are still investigating the matter. That is all we can say for now. We don’t know those who did it, because none of them has been arrested,” Joseph told our correspondent.  (Punch)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Fulani Herdsmen Kill Six Children, 19 Others In Benue |The Republican News

By Cephas Iorhemen

Fulani-Herdsmen3

  …kidnap pregnant woman

  • Six murdered in cult war
  • 50 houses razed, scores injured

 

It was another black Sunday in Benue State yesterday as at least 31 people were killed in separate attacks in different communities. First, herdsmen, believed to be of Fulani extraction, armed with sophisticated weapons invaded Tse-Adough, a village at Mbachom in Yaav ward of Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State and killed six children and 13 others.

The children were mostly of school age who were burnt inside their house. Also, a pregnant woman and a man were reportedly taken into captivity. The herders, who invaded the now deserted communities in the early hours of Sunday, also burnt down over 50 houses and injured scores of others. Similarly, six persons were also killed when rival cult groups clashed in Otukpo, headquarters of Otukpo Local Government Area.

But witnesses from Kwande said at the time of filing the report that people within the area were still searching the bush to recover more bodies, while those who sustained varying degrees of injury, including the deceased, were taken to the hospital in Jato- Aka, the traditional homestead of second Republic Minister of Steel, Chief Paul Unongo.

The Chairman of Kwande Local Government Area, Mr Terdoo Nyor Kenti, who confirmed the gruesome attack, said the armed men stormed the village about midnight while the people were asleep and were shooting sporadically in all directions. According to him, seven people were murdered on the spot, many others injured, six children burnt while a pregnant woman was taken into captivity.

He said: “We gathered that the attack, which occurred early hours of Sunday, has left several villagers moving out of the area and surrounding villages in droves for fear of another invasion by the attackers.

“There was no prior problem between the villagers and the Fulani herdsmen, but I wondered why the attackers would just come and swoop on the people without any provocation.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, failed as he did not pick his calls at the time of filing this report. It was learnt that two of the cult victims were killed at a popular drug (marijuana) joint known as “Banana Island” while another victim who owned a barbershop at Akpa Street was shot outside his shop.

The fourth victim was killed along Uloko lane and others at several other locations as the killers went on their killing spree. The development, it was learnt, sent jitters down the spines of Otukpo residents who were running helter-skelter.

The local government Chairman, Mr George Alli, who confirmed the development on the phone, said efforts were on to apprehend the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

He said: “We have confirmed the death of six persons this afternoon (yesterday). I’m still expecting a clearer picture about this because they are going to come with a special squad to go after them.”

Alli said the killers immediately went into hiding after the dastardly act. He, however, declined to comment further on the matter as he said it bordered on the security of the local government area.  (New Telegraph)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1
Continue reading

Image

Benue Mass Murder: Doyin Okupe Provides Scary And Shocking Revelations

fulani-herdsmen1
A former aide to the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan, has spoken concerning the incessant attacks and killing of Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen.
Posting sterling revelations by Professor Charles Adisa of the Chinua Achebe Center for Leadership and Development, about the continued killing, kidnapping and maiming of their host communities by the herders, Okupe lamented that over 1000 people had been murdered across the country.
He blamed the Federal Government for its lukewarm attitude in handling the situation and protecting lives of innocent Nigerians. The article reads, “For a long time, the Nigerian state has been under siege by Fulani herdsmen terrorists operating under a predictable pattern of reconnaissance, attack and withdrawal, leading to many deaths and social dislocations. Since January 2016, there has been documented deaths
of approximately 1000 Nigerians from across the middle belt, the South-south, and Southeastern parts of the country from these coordinated Fulani herdsmen attacks. The Fulani herdsmen are credited with destabilizing the city of Jos, a once
tourist destination.
“The failure to protect the citizens is the liability of the Federal Government of Nigeria and its armed forces. Most Nigerians and international bodies do not understand the Fulani herdsmen problem and we at CACLD did not initially. We therefore dispatched a fact finding team to the Southeastern part of the country to unravel the intricacies and complexities of the Fulani terrorist group; a group rated as the fourth most dangerous by respected international conflict organizations (According to the Global Terrorism
Index 2015 report).
“Our fact finding team visited interviewed neighbors from the local communities living
within and around the Hausa communities. Both the Northerners and the local community were very open and volunteered valuable information to
our team. There seems to be a willingness and eagerness for the violence to end. Below are our findings:
“The Fulani Herdsmen terrorists do not own: This is another revelation that may come
as a surprise to many. Fulani herdsmen killers’ major job description is just to kill. They do not own any cattle. Most of them are employed by the cattle owners as “security men” whose job is strictly to protect the cattle. They do not however follow the cattle around, but move in separate vehicles along a defined route within the states
where cattle are being reared.
“The cattle are owned by more prominent Fulani leaders in the country. Most Nigerian Fulanis are no longer migratory herdsmen, but are either Emirs, Sultans, heads of parastatals, oil barons, Imams, Governors, Federal Reps, and Senators.
However, they still maintain their cultural ownership of cattle.“These wealthy Nigerians  increase their wealth astronomically through cattle rearing by using their not-well-off brothers from outside Nigeria to rear these cattle. Instead of investing in ranches and buying of grasses from the South, they chose the cheaper alternative of having their kinsmen, imported from outside the country, take these cattle from the north to south seasonally; using the entire Nigerian space as their ‘grass kingdom’. These cattle, in turn, destroy farms in their path, rendering farmers economically bankrupt to further enrich the wealthy Fulani “remote herders. “For clarity sake, let us present the breakdown of
Fulani people in Nigeria as we deduced from our investigation. “There are about 5 million Fulani people in Nigeria making them one of the smallest ethnic groups in the country.

“Out of the 5 million Fulani people, only about 3 million of them are Nigerians. The remaining 2million come from outside the country and are first generation immigrants.
“About 60 percent of the Fulanis in Nigeria are governors, Imams, Emirs, Sultan, House of Rep members, Importers, Exporters, Ministers, Oil well owners, lecturers, Vice Chancellors, Ministers, and Senators etc. In a nutshell, the Fulani control all sectors of the northern economy. These rich Fulani’s own all the cattle being reared in Nigeria.
“The remaining 40 percent of Fulanis come from outside the country. These are the poor and peasant Fulanis. These immigrant Fulani’s are mostly in charge of the cattle owned by the Bourgeois Fulani. Because the Fulanis have the highest income per capita in the Nigerian state (Fulani’s who are Nigerians), they constantly need to import their poor brothers and sisters from outside the country to increase their population and to help with menial jobs. The Fulanis always either marry into rich families or they would marry only Fulani to maintain their pure race. “Lastly, there is a group of Fulani herdsmen who rear the cattle from the north to the south. These are at the bottom of the Fulani Herdsmen ladder.

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Yoruba, Igbo, N’Delta, Middle Belt Leaders Unite Against Fulani Herdsmen

Fulaniherdsman

Herdsman

 

…meet to address restructuring, economy, others
…say herdsmen like B’Haram        

•Move bad for us –Cattle rearers

Adelani Adepegba, ARUKAINO UMUKORO and TOBI AWORINDE

South-West, South-East, South-South and Middle Belt leaders on Saturday, united against the threat of Fulani herdsmen and called for a new fiscal formula that would move Nigeria from its current dependence on oil and gas revenues to a fully diversified economy.

The leaders admonished the Federal Government to immediately disarm all herdsmen in the country and bring an end to the terror unleashed on farmers by the nomads.

Related: Fulani Herdsmen Killed 1,878 People In Three Years, Says Ortom |RN

During the consultative meeting held in Abuja, Chief Edwin Clark led the South-South delegation; Chief Ayo Adebanjo led the South-West delegation; Gen. Ike Nwachukwu led the South-East delegation while Prof. Jerry Gana, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, former Governor Idris Wada and Gen. David Jemibewon (retd.) led the Middle Belt delegation.

Also at the summit were Chief Olu Falae, Prof. Banji Akintoye, Chief Albert Horsfall, Chief Guy Ikoku, Basil Paul and Bala Kakaya, among others.

The high-powered delegation from the Middle Belt and the South unanimously agreed that “there was a little difference between Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram.”

According to them, the only difference is that Boko Haram is wreaking havoc in the North-East and North West, while the Fulani herdsmen are unleashing terror in the South and Middle Belt regions.

Rising from the summit, the group in a communique read by an Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said, “We have resolved to put an end to these herdsmen immediately and bring an end to this organised terror being unleashed on the South and Middle Belt states.”

They also expressed support for Nigeria “as one nation under God.”

Related: EL-Rufai Should Produce Herdsmen He Paid Money, Says Apostle Suleman

The leaders restated their calls for the restructuring of the nation in line with the recommendation of the 2014 National Conference and called for the placement of the report before the National Assembly.

The summit also demanded the devolution of powers and functions to the federating units to enable each unit to effectively serve the development interests of the people.

The communique read in part, “As a logical derivative, we must work out a new fiscal formula that will move Nigeria away from the current overdependence on oil and gas revenue to a diversified economy where all federating units are encouraged to develop their abundant natural and human resources for regional and national development.

“The federating units shall remit an agreed percentage of their revenue to the federation account.”

The Summit drew the attention of the Federal Government to the fact that Nigeria was a secular state in which the government could not adopt any religion as a state religion.

“Therefore, we ask the Federal Government to immediately review the discriminatory appointments into key offices of government and public service and comply with Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution,” the group stated.

In addition, the regional leaders said the recent plans to adopt a combined syllabus of religious and moral education should be scrapped immediately and a return to status quo maintained.

“State governments are also called upon to outlaw open grazing in favour of organised ranching,” the group said, just as it condemned the Arewa youths’ quit order to the Igbo living in the North.

It is not in good faith – MACBAN

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, however, said the decision by the Southern and Middle Belt leaders to stop herdsmen from open grazing was not done in good faith.

Speaking to one of our correspondents on the telephone, the National Secretary, MACBAN, Baba Usman Ngelzarma, said the move was ill-advised.

Related: Probe The Sources Of Weapons For Fulani Herdsmen, CAN Tells Buhari

“I don’t honestly think this move is (made in good faith). The herdsmen are equal citizens of this country and by going round with their cows, they are looking for grass and water, which is pushing them out of the North to other parts. But these people used to open grazing; that is what they know. That was what they saw their forefathers do.

“These herdsmen are mostly uneducated and don’t know what ranching is all about, even though ranching is not a bad idea at all. We are talking about a population of about 30 million herdsmen in the country, and they contribute to the overall wealth of the country.

“Even in developed societies where cows are used for economic purposes and kept in ranches, they still have some grazing areas for cows to feed.”

Similarly, the Secretary  General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Mr Anthony  Sani, suggested that government did not have money to build ranches, and called on the Southern and Middle Belt leaders to give government  information on criminal herdsmen.

“If they think that Boko Haram is using Fulani herdsmen and they have the information, they should help the government.

“Does government have money to build ranches? They are talking about ranches as if it is one naira. Our agriculture is too agrarian. Is it possible to single out the Fulani and modernise their occupation through ranches?  We think it is very easy to take only livestock and modernise it.” (Punchng.com)

www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading