Tasks govs, lawmakers on proactive steps Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has alleged that Fulani supremacists were planning attacks on the two geopolitical regions. Therefore, he called on alerted South East and South-South states governors and their lawmakers to collaborate with IPOB to keeping their communities safe.
In a letter entitled ‘Security of South East and South-South’ and made available to The Guardian yesterday, the IPOB leader stated that “our communities are under siege from alien invaders and killer mercenaries from the Sahel.”
He urged the legislators to collaborate with their governors as a matter of extreme urgency to pass legislations that would engender coordinated security outfits to tackle these menaces.
IPOB, according to him, is committed to assisting in this regard, if called upon to do so. Kanu alleged that even Buhari himself confirmed this when he pointed to foreign Fulani elements as the core culprits in this murderous campaign.
Stressing that their intervention is much more urgent because of the potent political and economic threats to their people’s collective existence, Kanu said: “Though not generally known, the Constitution of Nigeria, by implication, allows us (and any cohesive group of aggrieved Nigerians) to seek self-determination and autonomy as a people.”
According to him, this is specifically provided for under Articles 1 and 20 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, ratified and dome sticated by Nigeria in 1983 at CAP A9, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He consequently queried the governors for not taking the expected and appropriate legislative measures to enforce such clear statutory provisions, and the lawmakers for not having the appetite to see what the law says and the people for suffering as a consequence of this inaction.
“For as long as the interest of our people remains paramount in all your official reckoning, IPOB shall remain amenable to consulting with you on the way forward. You must know that Biafran youths will remain unhappy with you unless and until you de-proscribe IPOB,” he added.
Commenting on Kanu’s letter, IPOB’s Special Counsel, Chief Aloy Ejimakor, told The Guardian that the letter was sent to the governors on May 15, 2020, but they never replied.
“This was partly why IPOB went lone-wolf in forming the Eastern Security Network (ESN), only for the same South East governors to be saying that they intend to form a counterpart regional security,” he added.
The presidency has reacted to the directive of Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, who gave herders a seven-day ultimatum to vacate forests in the state.
The governor, who said the decision was taken as a result of rising insecurity in the state, added that “bad elements” have turned the forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.
Akeredolu also banned the movement of cattle within cities and highways, as well as night grazing.
But reacting in a statement on Tuesday, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said the action could set off a chain of events “which the makers of our constitution foresaw and tried to guard against”.
He called for restraint on both sides and urged the state government and the leadership of the Fulani communities to continue their dialogue for a “good understanding that will bring to an urgent end, the nightmarish security challenges facing the state”.
Shehu said while the presidency would not condone any form of criminality, governors must not fan the embers of discord.
“The Presidency has been keenly monitoring events occurring in Ondo State and the “orders” by the government of the state, “asking herders to vacate the forests in seven days,” the statement read.
“What is clearly emerging, is a lack of consistency in messaging which in turn leads to various contradictions regarding accuracy and the intent behind the message.
“Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, a seasoned lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and indeed, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has fought crime in his state with passion and commitment, greater sensitivity and compassion for the four years he has run its affairs and, in our view, will be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals.
“If this were to be the case, rights groups will be right in expressing worries that the action could set off a chain of events which the makers of our constitution foresaw and tried to guard against.
“We want to make it clear that kidnapping, banditry and rustling are crimes, no matter the motive or who is involved. But, to define crime from the nameplates, as a number of commentators have erroneously done- which group they belong to, the language they speak, their geographical location or their faith is atavistic and cruel.
“We need to delink terrorism and crimes from ethnicity, geographical origins and religion—to isolate the criminals who use this interchange of arguments to hinder law enforcement efforts as the only way to deal effectively with them.”
Shehu said the president, who swore to defend the constitution has spoken against groups which issued threats that could spark tension in the country.
“The president has spoken against the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in asking citizens of Northern origin to leave; he did not spare the group based in Sokoto, ‘Muslim Solidarity Forum,’ which asked the Bishop of Sokoto to leave and is prepared to do all that the law permits to protect citizens all over the country in their choice of where they wished to reside and are treated as equal citizens,” he said.
“The government of Ondo, and all the 35 others across the federation must draw clear lines between the criminals and the law abiding citizens who must equally be saved from the infiltrators. Beyond law and order, the fight against crime is also a fight for human values which are fundamental to our country.” (The Cable)
Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has given the Fulani herdsmen and all other herders in the state seven days ultimatum to vacate forest reserves while banning night grazing.
The Governor said the steps were taken in order to address the root cause of kidnapping, in particular, and other nefarious activities detailed and documented in security reports, the press and debriefings from victims of kidnap cases in Ondo State.
He said the unfortunate incidents are traceable to the activities of some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen.
A statement said the felons have turned the forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.
The statement read in part: “All Forest Reserves in the State are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next 7 days with effect from today, Monday 18th January, 2021.
“Night-grazing is banned with immediate effect because most farm destruction takes place at night.
“Movement of cattle within cities and highways is prohibited.
“Under-aged grazing of cattle is outlawed. Our resolution to guarantee safety of lives and property within the State shall remain utmost as security agencies have been directed to enforce the ban.
“In its usual magnanimity, our administration will give a grace period of seven days for those who wish to carry on with their cattle-rearing business to register with appropriate authorities.”
A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has cautioned an Islamic group, the Muslim Solidarity Forum, to be mindful of its utterances against the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah.
The PUNCH had reported that the Sokoto-based group asked Kukah to vacate the state or tender an apology over his comments on Islam.
The acting Chairman of MSF, Prof Isa Maishanu, made this known in a statement in reaction to the cleric’s Christmas Message.
Reacting, the former minister tweeted, “Bishop Hassan Kukah did not attack Islam & has nothing to apologise about. He has always sought for religious tolerance & peaceful co-existence between Christians & Muslims. Those that demand that he “must apologise” or “leave Sokoto” must mind their utterances & keep the peace.
“If anyone can provide me with a video of Kukah calling for violence against Muslims or inciting people against Islam I will give him one million naira.”
Kukah, in his December 25 message, had accused the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), of nepotism and failure to protect Nigerians. His message riled some nerves, especially in the camp of the pro-Buharists.
The cleric had said, “One Northern Imam after the other have posted videos of lamentation on the social media asking why, with all the cards of power in the hands of northern Muslims, everything is bursting in the seams. How come our region has become a cesspool of blood and death? Why did President Buhari hand over a majority of the plum jobs to Northern Muslims? Was it for efficacy and efficiency? What was the logic? President Buhari must pause and turn around because his policy of nepotism has been rejected by the gods.”
Kukah’s message was delivered barely a month after the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, lamented the high rate of insecurity in the North, saying it was the worst place in the country to live. (Punch)
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, yesterday, called for the inclusion of its members and other ethnic groups in the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun, in Oyo State, to overcome the language barrier, which sometimes causes misunderstanding.
The call by MACBAN, however, elicited angry reactions from other ethnic groups like the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and the Middle Belt Forum.
The leader of the Fulani herders in Oyo State, Ibrahim Jiji, made the call, while speaking with newsmen at the Ibadan palace of Sarkin Sasa Sardaunan Yamaa, who is also the Chairman, Council of Arewa Traditional Rulers and Chiefs, in the Southern states.
Jiji, who expressed sadness over the killing of his men at Ayete, called on the relevant security agencies and Governor Seyi Makinde to expedite the release of his men, numbering 46, who were mistaken for criminals and erroneously arrested by security agents.
While clarifying the issue, he noted that security agents arrested members of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, who are the people fighting banditry, robbery and kidnapping in the area.
His words: “After the commandant of Amotekun called us that we should join in a clearance operation, we agreed that 50 men from us, who are members of Vigilance Group, would go with them.
“When Amotekun operatives wanted to go for the operation, we were in Eruwa. But, Amotekun operatives went for the operation without carrying us along. We were only informed thereafter, that they had gone and killed three of our members.
“We got information that some people were kidnapped at Igangan and our Vigilance Group was directed to go there and rescue the victims. But, on their way to the place, some security men arrested them; they are 46. They were taken later handed over to the Police Area Commander at Eruwa.
“They are not criminals at all. This Vigilance Group had arrested and handed suspected criminals to the police. How would they now be taken as criminals?
“We plead with Governor Seyi Makinde to expedite their release because they are certainly not criminals as being branded.”
Jiji urged the people not to brand any criminal they see as Fulani adding that criminality, robbery and banditry should not have any ethnic colouration.”
“A criminal is a criminal. He may be Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani or any other ethnic group in the country”.
They’re asking for too much —Afenifere
Reacting to Miyetti Allah’s request, Afenifere said MACBAN was asking for too much.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin said: “Why don’t they ask for them to come and mount traditional stools in Yorubaland? These people are climbing over the leaves of the tree in their unbridled ambition.”
Address worsening security problem in North —PANDEF
Also, the Deputy National Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum, Thompson Okorotie flayed the move by the Myetti Allah but urged them to address the worsening security problem in the north.
Okorotie said: “What do they really want to achieve? Though we do not have a direct link, as far as we know, Amotekun is purely a South West arrangement to help the region. It is a self-help arrangement borne out of the rising insecurity in the land. The security situation has so worsened that everybody is to himself.
“What is the role of Myetti Allah? Do they have any structure that is related to Amotekun? Amotekun, as far as I know from outside, is well structured and it covers the South West, the Yoruba states.
“So, I do not understand what they want to do. I think they have more jobs in the North. Although we have security challenges all over the country, there is a bigger problem in the North. But if they want to solve the security challenge, let them concentrate on Yobe, Borno and others where fellow Nigerians are dying in their droves in the North. So, I don’t think it is a good idea. I don’t even believe that the Amotekun structure will accommodate then.”
It doesn’t make sense —Middle Belt Forum
On its part, the Middle Belt Forum described MACBAN’s request as “irrational because it does not make any bit of sense.”
National President of MBF, Dr. Pogu Bitrus in Makurdi said: “What is their business with Amotekun? Is the South-West not predominantly Yoruba? So, the suggestion is just like saying that we should go and have traditional rulers like Emirs of other ethnic groups in the north. It simply doesn’t make sense, it is irrational and there is no justification for that.
“Amotekun is a Yoruba outfit to save the Yoruba people from aggression. Aggression from which people? From Fulani herdsmen.
“So, it is only proper that Amotekun should be a Yoruba affair. We are not saying that Nigeria should not be plural in all spheres. But what we are saying is that when a particular ethnic group takes it upon themselves to attack others unprovoked, for whatever reason, those people have the right to defend themselves. And that is what brought about Amotekun.
“Amotekun is a Yoruba answer to the aggression by the Fulani herdsmen and of course other insurgent groups on their people.
“If they are not happy with it, they should go to their own states and have their own outfit. The truth remains that even in the north, different ethnic nationalities have vigilante groups of their ethnic nationalities to defend their people.
“So there is nothing wrong for the Yoruba to defend themselves. It is up to the Fulanis to ask their people to stop killing others, to stop attacking farmers, to stop carrying out unprovoked attacks on communities so that Amotekun will not be necessary.” (Vanguard)
■ With kidnapping and insecurity rife, the government needs to restore trust
by The editorial board
More than 300 Nigerian schoolboys were reunited with their families last weekend, days after they had been abducted by kidnappers from their dormitory in the country’s north-west. The kidnapping revived memories of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls abducted in Borno state in 2014. Just as then, Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group, claimed responsibility.
The government insists no ransom was paid. Scepticism is warranted. In a country going backwards economically, carjacking, kidnapping and banditry are among Nigeria’s rare growth industries. Just as the boys were going home, Nigerian pirates abducted six Ukrainian sailors off the coast.
The definition of a failed state is one where the government is no longer in control. By this yardstick, Africa’s most populous country is teetering on the brink.
President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 pronounced Boko Haram “technically defeated”. That has proved fanciful. Boko Haram has remained an ever-present threat. If the latest kidnapping turns out to be its work, it would mark the spread of the terrorist group from its north-eastern base. Even if the mass abduction was carried out by “ordinary” bandits — as now looks possible — it underlines the fact of chronic criminality and violence. Deadly clashes between herders and settled farmers have spread to most parts of Nigeria. In the oil-rich, but impoverished, Delta region, extortion through the sabotage of pipelines is legendary.
Extortion is a potent symbol for a state whose modus operandi is the extraction of oil revenue from central coffers to pay for a bloated, ruinously inefficient, political elite. Security is not the only area where the state is failing. Nigeria has more poor people, defined as those living on less than $1.90 a day, than any other country, including India. In non-Covid-19 years, one of every five children in the world out of school lives in Nigeria, many of them girls.
The population, already above 200m, is growing at a breakneck 3.2 per cent a year. The economy has stalled since 2015 and real living standards are declining. This year, the economy will shrink 4 per cent after Covid-19 dealt a further blow to oil prices. In any case, as the world turns greener, the elite’s scramble for oil revenue will become a game of diminishing returns. The country desperately needs to put its finances, propped up by foreign borrowing, on a sounder footing.
In its three remaining years, the government of Mr Buhari must seek to draw a line in the sand. It must redouble efforts to get a grip on security. It also needs to restore trust in key institutions, among them the judiciary, the security services and the electoral commission, which will preside over the 2023 elections.
More than that, Nigeria needs a generational shift. The broad coalition that found political expression this year in the EndSARS movement against police brutality provides a shard of optimism. At least Nigeria has a relatively stable democracy. Now Nigeria’s youth — creative, entrepreneurial and less tainted by the politics of extraction — should use that system to reset the country’s narrative.
A new, slimmed-down state — ideally one with fewer, bankrupt regional assemblies — must concentrate on the basics: security, health, education, power and roads. With those public goods in place, Nigeria’s young people are more than capable of turning the country round. At the present trajectory, the population will double to 400m by 2050. If nothing is done, long before then, Nigeria will become a problem far too big for the world to ignore.
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has declared that failure of Southeast governors to secure the lives and property of Igbo people led to the formation of the Eastern Security Network.
In a statement he issued yesterday, Kanu said the Southeast and South-South regions have resolved to defend their territories from terrorism and extra-judicial killings.
Kanu, who accused the governors of sleeping while external forces kill their people in Biafra territory, warned that the people of the regions would not allow what happened at Oyigbo in Rivers State to repeat itself.
He said it was now the responsibility of his generation to defend themselves and their fatherland against the external aggression of Fulani terrorists and their hegemonic tendencies.
The IPOB Leader maintained that all ethnic groups in Igboland are well represented in the security outfit, and expressed the confidence that every city, town and village would be protected from terrorism, kidnapping, destruction of farmlands, rape, killings, armed robbery, illegal occupation of forests and river banks by marauding killers from the Sahel, among others.
His words: “For years, our mothers have not been able to go to their farms for fear of being raped and cut into pieces. Our invaders, some of them from Sene-Gambia are in our villages raping and killing people at will.
“The Delta State Government has inaugurated Operation Delta Hawk, a security outfit in the classic fragmented approach of the Southeast to issues of national importance.
“The West has made effort to combat terrorism in their territory through Amotekun and even Miyetti Allah had the guts to float a vigilante outfit that has spread to every nook and cranny of the country with the support of the Presidency and northern governors.”
Kanu wondered why governors of the Southeast have allowed themselves to become fragmented for fear of displeasing their masters, adding that the Eastern Security Network was modeled after Amotekun in the West and Miyetti Allah vigilante group in the North to protect the South-South and Southeast from bandits and terrorists.
“We have allowed ourselves to become willing tools of the caliphate in our destruction. Unfortunately too, some Igbo people have been cajoled and intimidated to the point where they now deny their own identity.
“We present our first and last line of defence, the Eastern Security Network to end years of terrorism in our land,” he added.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has said that Nigeria is struggling to make progress because the North is backward as it struggles with many problems including, poverty, illiteracy, insecurity, and religious intolerance. The Islamic leader who said the north of today is a far departure from what the late Premier of the North and Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello planned for the region, said until the North is able to overcome its many challenges, Nigeria will continue to suffer.
The Sultan stated this in his remarks at the first session of the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Arewa House in Kaduna.
He challenged northern leaders to work hard in creating a region that will project the vision of the late Premier.
“The north of today is not the same north Sardauna wanted to see or had dreamt about. It’s not the same north that our children now roam the streets, begging for food in the name of Almajiranci. It is not the same north in which Sardauna wanted all our girls to go to school and he was very passionate about girl child education. It is not the north that he has built and left a very solid foundation and it is now left for our politicians to build on that foundation.
“Bring everyone together irrespective of tribe and religion, that was what Sardauna did, that was the Sardauna we knew as children and we are still trying to copy him but we are not yet there”. Sultan said.
He added that the people must work together to develop the north, stressing that when the north develops, it is Nigeria that is developing.
He described the recent looting and destructions of government and private assets by hoodlums as wickedness while commending northern youths for exercising restrain.
The Sultan emphasised that poverty should not be used as an excuse to plunder the nation’s assets, adding, “we know there is poverty but poverty should not be used for wickedness because what happened in the last couple of days is wickedness by some disgruntled hoodlums and I think it is important to condemn it loud and clear.
The Prime Minister of Great Britain, Boris Johnson has a choice either to make history or follow the dehumanizing history of his forebears for lumping Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria Protectorate together, against the people’s volition in a forceful Amalgamation in 1914 by Lord Frederick Lugard.
Devoid of cathartic memories, the solemn event marked the divorce of the union from the very beginning.
Boris Johnson would be doing so either by reversing the travesty of history – should I say the tragedy of history – choreographed by his progeny who colonised and forcibly coerced the people into a nation without identities or solidarized with the people in their current quest to extricate themselves from the shackles and manacles of Northern domination.
By siding with the #EndNigeria protests tweaking globally, it’s important that the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, the Queen of England and the entire country leadership add their voices to that of a traumatized Nigerian generation of youths calling for an end to the marriage of convenient contracted by the British Colonial Masters.
Boris Johnson would be healing the wounds consciously and peniciously inflicted on the dehumanized people occupying a troubled space in order to avert the coming anarchy.
The Prime Minister mustn’t be ignorant of the fact that the country he’s presiding over now once played an ignoble role by viciously hobbling together diverse cultures; traditional ethos, religions and their ancillary totems, tongues without similitude in lifestyle and social heritage or orientation.
Aside, Mr. Boris Johnson owes it an obligation to stand up and be counted, not only as the Prime Minister of Great Britain alone but so much as a global leader who must not avert his gaze away from a formerly colonised nation by his country.
It’s evidence that General Muhammadu Buhari has literally empowered the Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani marauding herdsmen beasts and the bloodthirsty bandits in his own part of the country to overrun southern part of Nigeria who are predominantly Christians.
Androitly, General Muhammadu Buhari and his hallelujah boys have been seeking escape routes in clumping roads. They have been throwing spit into the air and collecting it with their faces. They have been down playing the slaughtering of innocent citizenry in their thousands on the basis of religious beliefs, ethnocentric differences and unremitting brutality against those calling for the dissolution of the Nigerian State.
But the Nigerian President and his minders have refused to ask themselves a subtler question: Is unbending confrontation, castigation of patriotic citizens or brutalizing the nation’s youths more effective in achieving the desired changes the people are clamouring for? Each time I point out the figures of Boko Haram insurgents’, Fulani herdsmen terrorists’ and the dreaded bandits’ victims operating in the Northern parts of the country’s, their first instinct is usually to question the anecdotal evidence and reject the credibility of the data.
The global community is aware that General Buhari’s Presidency, as a matter of official policy, has legitimized falsehood. As I write, one twelfth of Katsina State citizens, General Buhari’s home state are in IDPs camps, dislodged by Boko Haram terrorists.
Yet, Buhari is releasing the arrested Boko Haram terrorists back to the society in the name of ‘repentance’! He even released fund for their foreign education, a strategy that encouraged Northern youths to be enlisted into Boko Haram terrorist groups.
The Prime Minister should spare a thought about the Great Britain being forcefully yoked together in an unwholesome amalgamation between Great Britain, Germany, France and England of different nationalities being one country.
I know it would be in utter horror for the Prime Minister to subscribe to such banal rape of social existence and violation of the code of human cohabitation.
The Great Britain did just that by lumping together Igbos, Yorubas, Hausas, Edos, Efik and the over five hundred other ethnic nationalities in one country.
The British Government ignominiously ensured in the late 1960s that the attempt of the Igbos to break away and forge their own destiny was thwarted.
If homogeneity and self preservation isn’t important the British would not have voted in the Brexit standoff for its independence and economic separation from the rest of the European countries.
The Nigerian youths have come to the realization that Nigeria need to hold her own Vienna Conference to settle the matter of real nationalities and national boundaries. Nigerians are now awake to reset and reshape a dysfunctional political structure inherited from the British colonial masters and do away with the insane and midnight birth of Nigerian amalgamation in 1914.
Mr. Boris Johnson has been put on notice by this reminder that the amalgamation document Lord Frederick Lugard signed on January 1, 1914, as the governor of both the Northern Nigeria Protectorate and the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria consolidating the two countries as one, followed by declaration of Nigeria as an independent state, forty-six years later in 1960, has expired since 2014.
The #EndSARS and #EndNigeria protests are spontaneous revolutionary movements presently convulsing General Buhari’s Presidency to its foundation. The British Government has a choice to either rewrite and reinvent her own chequered history of romanticizing with banality and the deliberate asphyxiation of the Nigerian people or remains stoically impervious to her perfidious preoccupations of letting humanity down.