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Return Home And Call A Meeting For Dialogue, We’ll Attend — SE Governors Tell Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB

South East Governors with Security Chiefs in the region after meeting to ban movement of cattle by Fulani herdsmen

BY IFEOMA OKEREKE 

South-East governors have said they are ready to engage in dialogue with the Indigenous People of Biafra to resolve their differences.

IPOB had threatened to attack South-East governors and other Igbo leaders outside the country after beating former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in Germany for allegedly working their interest.

The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Chief David Umahi, told our correspondent on Thursday that they never proscribed IPOB, but rather they banned their activities in the region.

The Ebonyi State governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Emma Uzo, asked IPOB to convene a meeting and invite the governors for discussions.

He said, “IPOB are our children. They are our brothers and sisters. They fight for their fight on the pages of newspapers and social media, and it does not help. The best thing is for all of us to sit down and talk. The governors are ready to speak with them.

“They should have a way of coming home or convene a meeting and the governors will attend anywhere they want. Let us sit down and discuss it. And they should know that the governors did not proscribed them, they lack constitutional powers to proscribed them. They only banned their activities in the region where they have jurisdiction.”

IPOB on Wednesday through Aloy Ejimakor, counsel for Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, wrote to the governors, giving conditions for peace to reign.

The group in the letter, titled ‘Operation Python Dance: An Open Letter To South-East Governors’, demanded “immediate and unconditional de-proscription of IPOB and delisting it as a terrorist organisation. A truth and reconciliation commission on the Python Dance lethal military operations of September 2017.”

The separatist group added, “A public apology for the extrajudicial killing of IPOB members and desecration of the palace of an Igbo traditional ruler at Afaraukwu, Abia State. A genuine dialogue with IPOB on its referendum demand for the restoration of Biafra and discontinuance of the ongoing prosecution of IPOB members and forbearance of any future arrests and prosecutions.”

But the governors said the group were channelling their demands to the wrong people.

Umahi said, “Why can’t they channel their grievances straight to the Federal Government? So, that demand is dead on arrival. It is not the governors that will apologise to them but rather they should apologise to the governors and Ndigbo.”

On whether they will lift the ban on IPOB activities in the zone, Umahi said the issue would be discussed at the meeting (convened by IPOB).

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BREAKING: Southeast Governors Meeting Ends With Ban On Movement Of Cattle By Herdsmen In The Region

The five South East governors meeting with all security Chiefs in Enugu has ended with them issuing strong-worded communiqué at the end of the deliberation.

There have been tensions in the region due to the activities of the Fulani herdsmen bandits, causing many deaths and creating internally displaced persons, IDP in the communities.

Igbo youths have recently like before issued statements that their governors and other political leaders in the region are not doing enough to checkmate these attacks and stop the activities of these bandits

Governor of Imo state, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha arriving for the meeting
Cross section of security Chiefs in the region

The communiqué reads as follows

  1. Enugu airport to open December 2019 after renovation.
  2. Joint air patrol to flush out bandits in all the forests in southeast.
  3. No more foot movement of cattle and herdsmen from one state to another.
  4. No more foot movement of cattle from community to another across farmlands.
  5. Any cattle herder with gun or machete will be arrested.
  6. Southeast governors never invited the army nor requested for Operation Python dance in the region.
  7. Adequate security to be provided along the routes to Owerri airport where flights have been diverted due to closure of Enugu airport.
  8. Southeast governors to meet with Mr President.
  9. Commended governor Ugwuanyi for establishing forest guards and asked other states to take a cue from Enugu state government and establish forest guards.
Left to right, Governor of Anambra state, H.E. Willie Obiano, Governor of Enugu state, H.E. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Ohanaeze President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo

Here is the full communique on papers.

Governor Willie Obiano, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Chief Nnia Nwodo

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Nigerian Soldiers Intercept ‘Strange’ Military Equipment In Adamawa |The Republican News

According to Premium Times, Nigerian soldiers manning a checkpoint in Adamawa State have intercepted six mine resistance vehicles that seemed to have been transported into Nigeria without due process.

The military personnel, attached to the Nigerian Army 23 Armoured Brigade in Yola, seized the equipment in Fufore Local Government Area this week.

The Nigerian Army could not immediately verify the ownership of the equipment, where they were being shipped from and their destination, PREMIUM TIMES learnt from military sources.

Although the Nigerian Army headquarters has directed an urgent investigation into the discovery, the equipment have been handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the interim.

On Saturday, the commander of 23 Armoured Brigade, S.G. Mohammed, handed over the vehicles to the comptroller of Customs in charge of Adamawa and Taraba, Olumoh Kamaldeen, at a ceremony in Konkol, Fufore LGA, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

It is not immediately clear whether suspects have been arrested. It is illegal to import such equipment without an end-user certificates from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), which is the only federal agency with powers to issue such document.

The development could further upset security agencies, who have continued to grapple with acute insecurity and violence across the country.

Security analysts regularly question how terrorists and other criminals acquire weapons they have used to keep the country under siege for many years, urging security and intelligence agencies to devote more time to understanding the complex web of illicit arms movement.

The latest seizure of six mine-resistance all terrain vehicles (MATV) came three months after a Nigerian politician, Ibikunle Amosun, handed over weapons he had illegally stockpiled for several years to the police.

Mr Amosun kept the weapons for several years at Government House, Abeokuta, until his last day in office when he realised he would no longer enjoy immunity from arrest and prosecution.

The police have failed to arrest the former governor, now a serving senator, despite the widespread uproar and concerns amongst Nigerians that prosecuting Mr Amosun could serve as deterrence to other politicians involved in proliferation of deadly arms across the country.

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Oodua Groups Write Sultan Of Sokoto Over Fulani Herdsmen Murderous Activities |The Republican News

Sultan Of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad

Various Yoruba groups have written an open letter to the Head of Muslims and Fulani group in Nigeria, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad, the Emir of Sokoto, who is the direct descendant of Uthman Dan Fodio

In their letter, they outlined so many issues in the history of Nigeria and hope that this wouldn’t be the last time they would have opportunity to dialogue.

Their letter is below:

Open letter to the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar Sa’ad and the Fulani leaders

August 08, 2019

The Sultan of Sokoto and Fulani Leader
His Eminence
Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad

THE STATE OF THE NATION
We write this letter to you considering your importance as the head of the Fulani people in Nigeria. You are also the head of Fulani Muslims in Nigeria.It is our hope that you will be able to share the thoughts expressed here with the 7 million Fulani people in Nigeria through your traditional means of communication.
We write to honour you with this letter, given the floundering opportunities for a dialogue on the future of Nigeria, which has eluded the various ethnic groups in Nigeria and which may not enhance itself too soon.
Given the drumbeats of armed violence and extremism perpetrated largely by your people, and the fleeting prospects of a national dialogue, we hope this letter will not be the last opportunity to constructively engage you and the Fulani nation.

We, on behalf of Apapo Oodua Koya, (AOKOYA), a coalition of several Itsekiri, Edo and Yoruba groups write with our deepest feelings about the Nigerian state and what appears to be the pitfalls that lay ahead, most of which are oiled and orchestrated by your own people, the Fulani, albeit consciously.

THE PAST

There was no history of Fulani in today’s territory until 1804. This was 800 years after the Yoruba Kingdoms had been established, about 600 years after the Hausa, Ijaw, Tiv, Igala, Junkun Kingdoms had flourished. The Igbo Nation had existed for centuries before your people wandered into this hemisphere.
We recall that your forebears came to power through brutal and bloody conquest of indigenous peoples in many parts of Northern Nigeria under the guise of Islam eventhough Islam had taken firm roots in Yorubaland, Kano and Bornu Empires as early as the 11th century.
Since your sojourn in Nigeria, you have been very lucky.

A whole country of over 300 ethnic groups, was handed over to you a foreigner, first through conquest of some of its part, you, who never owned an inch of land centuries earlier in this hemisphere.
You have reaped the fruits which trees you did not plant and you knew not when they were planted.

Moreso, you were from a family of wonders and your emergence as Emir and traditional ruler was unusual, having no royal blood in your veins ab initio.

No doubt, You succeeded in taking over the land, the main means of production of these innocent peoples whose main offence was that they were too caring, too gentle, too subservient and accommodating of foreigners in their ancestral homeland, Today, you seat on a throne soaked with the blood of millions of innocent souls anguished with deafening ears to the agony of the spirit of millions of victims of the horrendous killings by your men, who came from Fouta Jallon in Senegal, only some 210 years ago.

The British left in 1960 and you emerged as the main benefactor eventhough your people were not known to have fought for independence. You were wise enough to plant your people in the security institutions, a reflection of your preference for force and brigandage instead of a knowledge-driven society.
Through direct military intervention or subterfuge, sly plots, you have been ruling Nigeria, or determining who rule Nigeria since 1960. This is a rare luck that only courageous people can manage for some time, but needs wise, intelligent, decent and conscientious people to manage for a millennium.

Under the false, artificial creation called Nigeria, your people produce no oil, yet you appropriate and decide how the resources should be expended.

You have no access to the Ocean, yet you decide which goods should be imported and which vessel should ply routes that indigenous owners of this God given oceans had been using for centuries. All the military weapons were bought not by your money, but you decide who should use them and who should be killed by the same weapons. You have no richest scholarly tradition, yet your people sit on the Nigerian Universities Commission, (NUC) and decide the faith of other Nigerians. You located all the military institutions in your land, more out of fear than out of love for justice and fairplay.
90 percent of Nigerian resources are sourced from the South and Middle Belt, yet you decide how the funds should be spent. Did you think this irresponsible way of life will continue for ever? Did your people think we are foolish and even if we are, did you think coming generations will accept this brazen exploitation? We have called for dialogue on these issues, but you call it treason.
The truth is that you have grossly mismanaged this opportunity. Your ruinous and destructive tradition has robbed on all Nigerians. Your intuition for aggression has become a national culture. Your disdain for debate and logical criticisms has been imbibed by Nigerians who continue to gravitate towards the custodians of political power, whose way of life must be imbibed for recognition.
You have ruined and destroyed this whole nation at your beckon due to your exclusive, narrow, primordial and savage instincts driven only by your self interest and your brutal and non-negotiable desire to conquer and subdue every nationality in Nigeria. This is a tall task which you are hell bent in executing.

THE INVASION OF YORUBALAND BY FULANI HERDSMEN
We like to caution you on your latest antics to renew your grand 1804 design to conquer the entire country, not through ideas but through the most savage tradition of killings and maiming.
This to us is at the bottom of the current Fulani kidnapping in Yorubaland. We wish to inform you that we are aware of your grand plan to renew a project done half way and put on mute mode since the defeat of your forces in 1840 by the Yoruba Army.
We are worried that you and your Fulani people have been suspiciously silent on the kidnapping of Yoruba people, the killing of our young professionals including the killing of the daughter of a prominent Yoruba leader.
We were not surprised that you and the other Fulani leaders did not consider it necessary to send condolence messages or even visit the family of the slain woman. This can only mean your tacit approval or at least, a philosophy of cold compromise.
Please be aware that in the past two years, records show that 689 Yoruba people have been kidnapped by your people, Fulani, about 400 reported cases of rape, including rape of toddlers. Out of this number of the kidnapped, 356 were women, and out of that number, 250 were married women.
In all, 112 people were killed by your Fulani people either for resisting kidnap or for failing to pay ransom. This may mean nothing to you, but to us, it means a lot.
We urge you to imagine a group of armed Yoruba cocoa farmers storming forests in Kano, Katsina and Sokoto, kidnapping Fulani people, raping their young girls and even killing the daughter of an Emir or a prominent Fulani leader? Can you also imagine the same heavily armed Yoruba cocoa farmers occupying your forests, stopping your people from farming and preventing your people from plying the highways in their ancestral homes?
To make the matter worse, imagine the armed Yoruba cocoa farmers carry out these terrible crimes under the banner of a Yoruba man as the Nigerian President. How will you feel?
As it is, your people, the Fulani are digging their hands down our throats. They are entering our bedrooms and sleeping with our mothers and wives. These actions are not only against Islam, they are against humanity.
These latest actions plus our experiences in the past have combined to renew the energy of millions of Yoruba people who want a country of their own. Either you like it or not, this will happen. God, before whom you and your big crown are like but a filthy rag, will make it happen. We urge you to prepare your self to dialogue or if you chose the path of violence, there will be proportional response.
Having Yoruba or Igbo Republics is something you do not wish to hear, but which is imminent and inevitable. Please be aware that the Yoruba do not begrudge your values and the ways of your living, all we are saying is that we want to live our lives, design our political and cultural architecture, live and die on our own terms. The forthcoming Yoruba Republic will be glad to accommodate righteous Fulani people who respect our civilisations and the laws of our fatherland.
We wish to use this opportunity to advice you and your people to be aware that you have no power to conquer Yoruba Nation. Your forebears tried and failed. Your military and political surrogates tried, marked with killings, maiming and destruction of our economy, yet they failed.
We ask you to instruct your people, the armed Fulani herdsmen to withdraw from Yoruba territories and on their own, mop up the cache of arms and ammunition stored in Yoruba territories.
Sir, the Yoruba people stand for peace and not war. We would prefer these issues to be resolved amicably without firing any gun shot. But, we wish to say that if your heart remains rebellious and your soul defiant, the Yoruba people are not afraid to confront you once again the way we did some 175 years ago, this time in the most ferocious manner you can ever imagine. It is necessary to let you know this even though we are aware that you will not change the conquest desires of your heart. We wish you a happy Salah and Allah’s wisdom to know and do what is right

Yours Sincerely,

Col Abimbola Sowumi (rtd)
Mallam Salau Ahmed Akorede
For Apapo Oodua Koya, (AOKOYA)
The Yoruba self determination group

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Fulani Herdsmen Banned From Carrying Guns In The Public |The Republican News

By Asogwu IkennaHerdsmen were on Thursday coordinated not to convey arms at whatever point they were in open places in the North-West states. This means that herdsmen has been banned from carrying guns.Volunteer gatherings known as Yansakai were similarly prohibited.The volunteer gatherings were coordinated to give up all weapons in their ownership.These were portions of the four-point goals touched base at following a four-and half-hour meeting between 11 Northern state governors and the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, in Katsina State.Representative Aminu Masari of Katsina State, who read the report after the gathering, said endeavors would likewise be made to guarantee that herdsmen approached improved type of cows.Masari stated, “Herdsmen and their relatives ought to be permitted to go to business sectors and love places, just as go to day by day exercises gave that they don’t convey arms into the open spots.“Herdsmen should behave and leave calmly with each other. The individuals who stole creatures should return them through government or the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.“Contrite criminals, including the Yansakai, should give up arms and ammunition in their ownership to the experts and to discharge individuals that are in their imprisonment.”The Inspector-General of Police said the gathering would be reconvened in one month to audit how far the goals had gone in re-establishing harmony toward the North-West.“The gathering is effective in light of the fact that we were expecting around six Governors however we wound up having 11 which demonstrates that everyone is worried about security. What’s more, the consultation and goals we arrived are so motivating as in everyone is burning of harmony. Both the Fulani in the bramble and the general population in the town, everyone is envious of harmony.“We are going to proceed with this organization that you have been giving us. We will work with you in the execution of the goals. No one is permitted to attack anyone unfairly. You are not permitted to execute, so the volunteers ‘Yansakai’ must be exceptionally cautious never to take arms to attack anyone. Since anyone that does that, we will seek after that individual and ensure we carry such individual to book.” Continue reading

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Zamfara Traditional Rulers Arrested For Working As Informants To Bandits |RN

Nigerian Army said apart from the arrests of the leaders of Doka and Mutu villages, whose names were not disclosed, the troops apprehended 16 other suspected informants and errand men to the bandits.

Troops of the Nigerian Army attached to Operation Harbin Kunama 3 have arrested the traditional heads of Doka and Mutu villages in Gusau Local Government Area of the state, accusing them of serving as informants to bandits.

The Army confirmed the arrest in a statement issued on Monday.

Six bandits was shot dead in Kirsa and Sunke villages in the Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara State during a gun battle.

Two weeks ago, Mansur Dan-Ali, the Minister of Defence, had said some traditional rulers in Zamfara and the North-West region were helping some bandits to perpetuate criminal activities.

The Zamfara State Council of Chiefs denied the allegations.

Moreso, the Nigerian Army said apart from the arrests of the leaders of Doka and Mutu villages, whose names were not disclosed, the troops apprehended 16 other suspected informants and errand men to the bandits.

The Army said: “Troops on Operation Harbin Kunama 3, based on credible intelligence about bandits’ movements in Kirsa and Sunke in the Anka LGA, continued with a clearance operation into the hinterland to clear the brigands.

“Consequently, the troops engaged the bandits in a shoot-out at the bushes of Kirsa and Sunke villages which resulted in the extermination of six criminals, the recovery of two AK-47 rifles and two motorcycles.

“In Doka and Mutu villages in the Gusau LGA, troops also had a serious encounter on Saturday with a group of bandits which lasted for about two hours.

“The brigands were armed with sophisticated automatic weapons, but they were overpowered by the troops, forcing them to flee from their hideouts. Eighteen suspected informants to the bandits were arrested, including the village heads of Doka and Mutu villages.

“The Force Commander, Major General Hakeem Otiki, said the troops would continue to go after bandits in Zamfara and the contiguous states of Kebbi, Katsina and Sokoto.”       (Sahara Reporters)

 

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FG Blames Insecurity On Poor Logistics, Insufficient Ammunition |RN

Dambazau1

Defence Minister,  Abdulrahman Dambazau 

Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The Federal Government has blamed the spate of killings in the country on poor logistics, insufficient weapons and ammunition, indiscipline, poor attitude to duty, and poor welfare among the personnel of the security agencies in the field.

Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), said this, on Thursday, in Abuja, while making opening remarks at an emergency one-day internal security summit to examine, the reality of the current security situation within the country.

According to him,  “There are many challenges contributing to insecurity and impeding the optimum performance of security agencies.

“I will mention a few of them. Notably, there is poor logistics, including weapons and ammunition.

While expressing sadness over the development, Dambazau further noted: “There is also a general problem of command and control, indiscipline, poor attitude to duty, and poor welfare among the personnel of the security agencies in the field which ultimately impacts negatively on operational efficiency and corporate image of our services.

“So much has been happening in terms of criminal violence, specifically rural banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, communal violence, herders-farmers conflict, etc, and of course the number of victims has been increasing.

“It is the responsibility of government to protect the lives and properties of its citizens, and we are the very people entrusted with that responsibility by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Of course. we all know that successes have been achieved regarding the degrading and dismantling the activities and structures of Boko Harem in the country, especially in the North East.

“But we also know that part of the frustration is that the leadership of this terrorist group has been unleashing suicide missions using particularly the girl-child against soft targets.

“We are also aware that post-conflict peace-building is of greater challenge, especially as regards rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced persons, who are mostly women and children.

“The success of our post-conflict peace-building efforts will largely depend on our ability to coordinate and execute reconstruction, rehabilitation, resettlement and reconciliation efforts, including de-radicalisation and counter-narrative programmes.

“There are indications, according to the minister; “that some of the threats are politically motivated from within the country. Some are induced from outside the country by those who are not comfortable with Nigeria’s potentials.”

Dambazau further noted that government is currently pursuing the implementation of a tripartite agreement for the voluntary return of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon.

Nigeria, he said, is also in the process of entering such agreement with Niger and Chad, respectively where there are also thousands of Nigerian refugees.

The take-off point for tackling insecurity in Nigeria, the minister said, is actionable intelligence, stressing that: “for that matter. We are not dealing with conventional threats, but peculiar threats that are laced with terrorism, sabotage, and efforts to manipulate our society’s fault lines of religion and ethnicity.

“There are indications that some of these threats are politically-motivated from within the country: some are induced from the outside of the country by those who are not comfortable with Nigeria’s potentials; while others are as a result of outright criminal acts or violent extremism or both.

“Whatever the source of these threats, security agencies must articulate their plans to contain, control and prevent them.

“These threats not only undermine democracy but also slow down our development and growth, thereby impacting on the peace, security and stability of our dear nation,” he said.

Dambazau said ethnic identity, politics contribute to conflicts in Nigeria especially through manipulation of ethnic demographics to cause disunity and promote rebellion against the government.

“Currently, there are very large swathes of ungoverned forests that are inter-connected, covering Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Yobe Borno and the Adamowa States. serving as sanctuaries for armed bandits and violent criminals.

“Over time, these bandits and other violent groups have perfected a pattern of launching indiscriminate attacks on hitherto peaceful communities killing, maiming, abducting, raping and traumatizing scores of defenceless citizens under several guises.

“The areas worst hit by these attacks include Birnin Gwari and the adjoining communities, southern parts of Kaduna, large parts of Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Adamawa states. In the last few years, the entire Zamfara state has been reduced to a killing field to our collective shame.

“Other adjoin states such as Katsina, Kogi and Sokoto states have experienced similar carnage from armed bandits. A few other sanctuaries exist, albeit to a lesser degree, across the geopolitical zones from where criminal organisation unleash violence on hapless citizens in isolated communities and unsuspecting commuters of our’ vast national road networks.

“Particularly, Abuja-Kaduna road and Jos-Riyom axis have acquired notoriety for wanton premeditated killings of innocent wayfarers.

“This situation is exacerbated by the inability of vulnerable communities to promptly call for help in the event of attacks,” he said.

The representative of the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Umar Ibrahim, advised security operative not to take sides, urging them to do their job professionally.

In the words of the defence minister, “This emergency meeting has been long overdue. The truth has been said and it is left for all the security agencies to wear our thinking cap go back to the drawing board and do what we are expected to do.

“There is nowhere in the world that this kind of senseless killings will be going on and security forces will go to sleep. I want us to check this act of killings going on in most part of the country. Please, we should not take a side, we must do our job accordingly,” he warned.

Also the representative of the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal Olusoji Awomodu said, “the Military is doing a lot and we are at the peak of the situation. We will continue to do our best.

“It has been very tough but I can assure you as military men we are ready and always ready to put our lives on the line to ensure that everything is peaceful in this country.” (The Sun)

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How We Stopped Niger-Delta Militancy, IPOB Plot – Osinbajo |RN

Yemi-Osinbajo4

 

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

  • Nigeria’s foundation deficient, threatened – Monarchs
  • Say non-adoption of confab reports disheartening

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has singled out traditional rulers as the brains behind the successful stoppage of Niger Delta militancy and the truncation of the secession plot by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East, leading to relative peace in the two regions.

This is even as Traditional Rulers in the country have expressed described Nigeria’s foundation as deficient and threatened.

Speaking on Wednesday at the opening of the 10th National Development Summit of Nigerian Traditional Rulers in Abuja, Osinbajo noted that the monarchs have played crucial roles at the point that the country was threatened by Niger Delta militancy and the secessionist group, IPOB in the South East.

The Vice President challenged monarchs in Nigeria to take greater responsibility in resolving conflicts in the country, saying dialogue and engagements are just as important as law enforcement in tackling disputes.

According to him, “traditional rulers were better placed to champion this vision of continuing dialogue and engagement because of the respect you command from the widest possible range of stakeholders and parties.

“Dialogue and engagement are just as important as law enforcement, especially in situations triggered by misunderstandings and disagreements between people and communities who have existed peacefully side-by-side for centuries.”

Osinbajo added that although security agencies are critical elements in checking criminality and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice, overlooking the place of non-coercive conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms would do a great disservice to the people of Nigeria.

“You are also repositories of important intelligence that can be useful in detecting suspicious or criminal activity. The partnership between traditional authority and government is therefore crucial,” he said.

He said it was against this background that government co-opted the monarchs in its approach in dealing with Nigeria’s most pressing security issues in the Niger Delta and in the Middle Belt.

“I can say without fear of contradiction that the New Vision for the Niger Delta would not have happened without the support of traditional rulers and leaders in the region.

We have made it a priority to meet with them and carry them along, and ask for their wisdom and their support in resolving issues with stakeholders and communities. This was also our approach in the wake of secessionist agitation by IPOB in the South East.”

He added that the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been engaging traditional rulers in the flashpoint regions, counting on the influence they wield to chart a new and collective course of understanding, instead of the default approach of resorting to violence as a way of dealing with grievances.

“As custodians of our rich history, we also believe that you have a duty to remind us of the things we have got right in the past, but from which, for some reason or another, we have departed from, to our detriment,” Osinbajo said.

He noted said the traditional cultures have long perfected timeless dispute-resolution and community-engagement mechanisms that are now under threat of being lost forever.

“As traditional rulers, your forebears and ancestors were the initiators and implementers of many of these mechanisms, and our cultural institutions have evolved ways of passing this knowledge down the generations – even if we have not been paying attention as we should.

“May I therefore most respectfully ask that you take this as a call to you, as royal fathers, as traditional rulers, as elder statesmen, to commit yourselves to deepen your partnership with government, to achieve our shared goal of laying the foundation of peace and security that will guarantee true greatness for Nigeria.”

In his welcome address, Chairman of Governing Council of the National Development Summit of Traditional Rulers, the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom of Delta State, His Royal Majesty, Emmanuel Abe called for more roles for traditional rulers by the government.

He said it was disheartening that the constitutional review embarked upon by the National Assembly had remained inclusive for over a decade, while resolutions at the recent national conference, have not been considered for adoption in the interest of national survival and progress.

Abe said the country needs a good leader that will create jobs and build bridges, adding that as a result of the security challenges in the country, most traditional rulers were unable to attend the summit that started with over 400 members when it was inaugurated by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua ten years ago.

The Monarch said that the country has incredible potentials and uncommon ideals that could make it soar into greatness, adding that Nigeria was not meant to crawl or stagnate.

According to him, “Here is a country born with incredible potentials, established on goodness and trust, with uncommon ideals and dreams that could make her soar into high altitudes of greatness. Like the eagles, Nigeria was born with powerful wings, in the form of enormous natural endowments. Nigeria was never meant to crawl or stagnate.

“Whatever we may say or do, the fact remains that our foundation as a nation as designed by our founding fathers has been visibly deficient and threatening. Administrations come and go but none has been courageous enough to address conclusively the issue of structural flaws.

“We cannot do anything against the truth. The only way the eagle will fly is for it to realize that it is gifted with better wings than other birds and make a decision to use the wings effectively.

“We must resolve to build a new nation on a foundation of equity, justice, fairness, labour and high moral standards. This is what makes the United States of America and other advanced economies to tick.

“It is amazing how constitutional review has remained inclusive for over a decade at the National Assembly in spite of the exigency of the matter. It is equally disheartening that the resolutions of all recent national conferences were never considered for adoption in the interest of national survival and progress, the huge funds sunk in these projects notwithstanding.”  (The Sun)

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Insecurity And 2019 General Elections |The Republican News

A Nigerian military officer directs civilians at a checkpoint along Sapele-Warr road in the Niger Delta region

 

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, last week, expressed worry that the pervading insecurity in the country, particularly in the North-East, would hinder the successful conduct of the 2019 general elections. Some Nigerians and members of the international community have also entertained such fears ahead of the polls. The INEC boss, who disclosed this at the INEC/private sector forum held in Lagos, lamented that in spite of efforts put in place to ensure a hitch-free election, the insecurity in the North-East region will make or mar its outcome.

According to the INEC Chairman, security remains a major concern ahead of the elections, despite the electoral umpire’s effort to ensure that no eligible voter is disenfranchised. He said that the security problems require “a more imaginative response by the commission…”

The security concerns over the 2019 election, which is about seven months away, should not be ignored. It is a timely warning that calls for all hands to be on deck. This is not a task for INEC alone. It is a problem for which the Federal Government should swiftly find adequate solutions. Every passing day, events across the country validate the apprehension of the INEC boss. President Muhammadu Buhari should quickly respond to this security problem, as he promised last week in the aftermath of the bloodbath in Plateau State.

Sitting on the fence is no longer the answer. Whatever effort INEC is making to ensure a hitch-free, fair and transparent election will yield a little result if the security challenges are not resolved. The problem is that when the outcome of the elections fails to meet public expectations, INEC carries the entire blame. Recently, the immediate past Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, gave similar warning that the 2019 elections are fraught with danger if insecurity in the country was not contained.

It, therefore, goes without saying that time is fast running out for the government to respond to the potential dangers that may cast doubts on the outcome of the elections. These threats could prevent the conduct of elections in the North-East. It is, therefore, expedient to address the insecurity.

Addressing the challenges that pose threats to our elections will improve the integrity of the elections and boost confidence in our democracy. It is a fact that insecurity is unarguably the greatest threat facing our people, and our democracy today. Although Section 14(2)

 

(b) of the 1999 Constitution states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government,” we wonder if security is given the priority attention that it deserves. Our democracy needs peace to enable voters to exercise their franchise.

We urge INEC to continue its election security engagement with all the security agencies. This will ensure that the environment for elections is secure for voters, electoral officials and other stakeholders. This collaboration was part of the reasons for the success of the 2015 polls.

In addition to addressing the security challenges, the National Assembly should pass all the Bills on electoral offences. It is unfortunate that some of these bills that will enhance the electoral process and punish electoral offenders are being delayed by the lawmakers despite recommendations by the Committee of the Senate on Electoral Matters.

Although the Electoral Act 2011 makes ample provisions for punishment of electoral offenders, INEC has prosecuted only a few from the 2015 polls. This could be due to lack of political will to do so or unnecessary delays in the courts. That is why the bill on a National Electoral Offences Commission or Election Tribunal, needs to be passed and signed into law before the commencement of the 2019 general elections. The advantage of this body to try offenders is that it will be faster in the disposal of cases ahead of swearing in of elected officials. It will also serve as a deterrent to those whose conducts pose a threat to peaceful elections.

The government and security agencies must heed the warning of the INEC Chairman and provide adequate security measures. All the legal frameworks that will make the elections peaceful, transparent and credible should be put in place. (The Sun)

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Insecurity: FG Considers Suspension Of Anti-Grazing Law |The Republican News

buhari-and-security-chiefs1

 

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

In order to reduce tensions caused by the passage of the controversial anti-grazing law in three states, the federal government is considering suspending the implementation of the law, while negotiating safe routes for cattle herders.

This was part of discussions held at the security council meeting on Tuesday, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari with service chiefs in attendance.

The anti-grazing law is already operational in Benue, Ekiti and Taraba States, states that have experienced the most violence and a spate of mass murders since the law went into effect last year.

In Ekiti State, the law, signed by Governor Ayo Fayose in 2016, prohibits open grazing between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Governor Samuel Ortom followed suit in 2017 with a law that places an absolute ban on open grazing across Benue State.

The law, which went into effect in November 2017, has been blamed for the escalating violence which has left hundreds of residents dead in attacks linked to Fulani herdsmen across Benue since January 1.

Taraba State passed the anti-grazing law on July 2017, but law came into effect in January 24th this year, with a caveat that it will be implemented gradually after aggressive awareness campaigns across the state.

Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali, in a statement signed by his Public Relations Officer (PRO), Colonel Tukur Gusau, suggested the “need to employ other channels with the affected states to reduce tension by suspending the implementation of the Anti-Open Grazing Law while also negotiating safe routes for the herders.

“The urgent need for the Nigeria Police and Department of State Services to prosecute all the suspects arrested in states. The need to hasten the establishment of a National Commission on the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria.”

Although the suspension of the law is in line with the demands of Miyetti Allah association of cattle herders, Dan-Ali’s positions is against past recommendations by the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Economic Council (NEC) that the option of cattle ranching be adopted to end the frequent clashes that have left thousands of people dead and several farmlands raided and destroyed.

Dan-Alli also suggested the launch of a joint task force operation, similar to Operation SAFE HAVEN in Jos, with headquarters in Gusau, to cover Zamfara and Birnin Gwari axis of Kaduna State, where kidnappings and killings have also been on the rise.

According to the minister, the Council considered the killings and kidnapping in the North-West, particularly along Abuja-Kaduna expressway, even as the service chiefs reviewed the activities of armed bandits and other criminal elements in Anka, Maru, Kaura Namoda and Atalanta Mafara in Zamfara State.

While noting that incidents of herdsmen-farmers clashes in Benue and Taraba had subsided, the minister disclosed that several arrests had been made in connection with killings and destruction of property.

He added that he informed the Council that the US government conveyed to the federal government matters pertaining to the implementation of Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act Section 231.

“It is pertinent to state that the award of contract for the procurement of the Mi-35M helicopters was completed before the act was signed into law in August 2017,” he said.

The Nigerian Army, he noted, has launched Operations LAST HOLD to flush out insurgents from their hideouts in the Lake Chad Basin area and to liberate communities to enable IDPs to return to their homes.

The operation, he said, is to last till the end of August.

Those at the meeting included Babagana Monguno, National Security Adviser; Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of Defence; Ahmed Abubakar, Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police are attending the meeting.

Others in attendance are, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Representative of Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Abubakar Sadique.  (The Sun)

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