■ Mr Soyinka said the international community “has a right and responsibility to declare sections of the country as protectorate under the UN.”
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called on the United Nations to step in and take control of parts of the country as the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to fulfill its responsibilities under international laws.
Mr Soyinka said the international community “has a right and responsibility to declare sections of the country as protectorate under the UN,” asking that the international body pull a “Namibia” and protect certain regions of the country.
“We are calling on the United Nations to intervene and stop this slave trade,” Mr Soyinka declared at an event in Lagos on Friday.
He explained that when protocols and conditions given by the UN and signed by a said nation are violated, such nation has failed to live up to its responsibilities.
“…the protocols are there for any nation to champion the cause of these children and thereby enforce on this government international intervention in whatever form,” Mr Soyinka said.
Mr Soyinka’s comments refer to school kidnappings, such as the Bethel Baptist School, Kaduna where 32 students were released from their captors on Friday. Mr Soyinka described the kidnapping and targeting of school children as slavery, which he stated is more lucrative within the country than exporting people.
Mr Soyinka said he’d been in talks with governments and foreign heads of states, appealing that they elevate the targeting of children and the “forced repatriation to the attention of the United Nations in the next General Assembly.”
The kidnappings, rife in the northern region of the country, and the failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to control and eliminate the threat are direct violations of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Across Nigeria, several attacks have been orchestrated by Fulani herdsmen and bandits as the reign of terror continues to spread from the North, these attacks have led to the loss of lives and damage to property.
Investigations revealed that the Nigerian Government, in a secret program, rehabilitate surrendered insurgents and attempt to integrate them into society, this is being done with no formal pardons.
Mr Buhari has often defended the actions of these insurgents. In July, Mr Buhari commended security agencies for raiding Sunday Igboho’s house, saying Mr Igboho has been disturbing the peace with his campaign against the herdsmen.
Peoples Gazette earlier reported how the presidency kicked against the ultimatum given by the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to vacate the forest reserves.
The state government had hinged the decision on the criminal acts linked to the herders operating from the forests. But Mr Buhari argued that the murderous herders had rights to inhabit any portion of the Nigerian territory. (People’s Gazette)
The Leadership of Fulani herders in Taraba has pledged to weed out criminal elements among them within five months.
The leadership of the herders made the promise after the Emir of Muri, Alhaji Abbas Tafida, issued 30 days ultimatum for herders terrorizing the state to vacate the forest or be forced to do so.
However, the leadership of the herders comprised of Ardos and Fulani community leaders drawn from 14 out the 16 local government areas of the state visited the emir today at his palace to clarify the issue.
They told the emir that they have done series of meetings and vowed to crush the criminal elements among their groups.
The herders, led by the State Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Alhaji Sahabi Mahmud, said they agreed not to harbour criminals even if they are their biological children.
The herders said they have also sworn to an oath to expose the sponsors of Fulani terrorists no matter their standing in society.
They pleaded with the Emir to accept their pledge and give them time to fulfil their promises.
The Miyetti Allah Chairman read out the pledge which was contained in a communique issued after a stakeholders’ meeting that lasted for several hours.
The meeting was attended by the harders and their Ardos and Jauros across the state as well as the Security Adviser to Gov. Darius Ishaku, rtd Col. Angyo Agbu.
The communique read in part: “Those who repent would be documented, while those that refused to repent and stop kidnapping and other crimes would equally be handed over to security agents to face the appropriate laws of the land.
“We have agreed not to harbour criminals even if they are our biological children and we have sworn to an oath to expose their sponsors no matter their standing in the society.”
The harders maintained that the task of carrying out the assignment was very huge but absolutely necessary in order to sanitize the Fulani herdsmen and restore their damaged image caused by the criminal activities of a few of them.
In his response, the Emir of Muri, Alhaji Abbas Tafida, said the marching orders he gave during recent Eid-el-Kabir celebrations were targeted at criminal elements among the herdsmen.
Tafida said it became necessary for him to issue such orders in view of the increasing rate of kidnapping being committed by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
He said as a leader who stood firmly on the side of the truth and honesty, he would never allow injustice among his subjects.
He lamented that the image of the Fulani as a race was endangered by the criminal activities of a few among them whom he alleged were involved in kidnapping and other criminals activities.
He said that he should not be misunderstood in his comments, adding that it was intended to sanitise the conduct of Fulani herdsmen who are his kinsmen.
“As you know the Fulani have continued to be proud of the scholarship of leaders like Shehu Usman Danfodio and Sultan Muhammadu Bello who reformed and spread Islam and ensured justice for all in Northern Nigeria but the integrity of the Fulani as moulded by these past leaders was fast fading away because of the activities of the criminal elements, ” the emir stated.
He also cited Modibbo Buba Yero, the founder of the Muri Emirate, as an exemplary leader of Fulani that fought injustice.
“Those were role models of the Fulani who never associated themselves with shame and who distanced their ethnic groups from crime and criminality,” he said.
Tafida wondered how the Fulani race was today degenerating abysmally and was fast becoming a reference point in crime and criminality.
“There is no limit to the steps a father can take to correct the bad behavior of his children,” he said.
He commended the leadership of the Fulani for taking the bold steps to weed out criminals amongst them.
He, however, directed that a list of those that repented and those that refused to repent be submitted to him when the sorting out the task was completed. (PremiumTimes)
Gumi has warned against military engagement with armed bandits in the northern region of the country. Sheikh Ahmad Gumi is a popular Islamic scholar who has been an advocate for bandits and kidnappers in the north.
Gumi has cautioned Federation Government and the Nigerian military against violent engagement with the bandits and kidnappers. Even after abducting several schoolchildren and collecting millions as ransom from Government, Gumi has continued to advocate for a soft landing for the criminals.
Recently, according to Sahara Reporters, Sheikh Gumi has warned the Nigerian military and Federal Government to stop killing bandits and Kidnappers. He claimed that they are also victims.
During an interview with Punch newspaper, Gumi revealed that it is not a good idea to kill bad it’s and kidnappers in the North. He has continued to advocate for them even after collecting over 200 million naira from parents of abducted schoolchildren in Niger State.
He has revealed how he has engaged them in talks and plead with them to stop abducting innocent children and collecting dirty money from their parents. He disclosed that they are herdsmen using kidnapping as a means of making money.
Gumi has condemned in strong words the killings of bandits and kidnappers noting that attacking them may affect the abducted children. He claimed that many among them are illiterates and they use their weapons to guard against military invasion of their camps.
Gumi has revealed that they have our students and negotiating with them is a perfect way forward. (OperaNews)
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government is handling the problem of insecurity in the country.
He said the insinuation in some quarters that the government was clueless was unfounded, adding that the result of government’s efforts would soon be evident.
A statement said the minister spoke on Tuesday during a press briefing in Lagos.
He said, “It is no longer news that our dear nation is facing security challenges. However, I have read comments saying the Federal Government is overwhelmed and doesn’t have a clue as to how to tackle the challenges. Some have even gone as far as suggesting a truncation of the democratic order, a clearly treasonable stance.
“Well, I am here today to assure all Nigerians that while the government acknowledges the security challenges we face at this time, from terrorism to kidnapping, banditry and farmer-herder conflict, it is definitely not overwhelmed and indeed it has the wherewithal, as you will see in the days ahead, to confront the challenges headlong and restore law and order, peace and security.
Mohammed explained that the government indeed knew the locations of kidnappers, adding that security agencies were only being careful to avoid civilian casualties.
“One of the most difficult things to do, for a democratically-elected government, is to use the instruments of coercion against its own people. For example, while the nation’s military have superior firepower over the rag tag band of Boko Haram and ISWA, the terrorists most often than not operate among the populace, either in our villages or towns, hence the military, in tackling them, is usually careful to avoid collateral damage.
“The same applies to the kidnappers who abduct our school children. Usually, the location of the kidnappers is not unknown to security forces, but they still have to exercise caution in order not to hurt the same children they are trying to rescue. Despite these inhibitions, the security forces have the wherewithal to decisively tackle the challenges,” he added.
He lamented the attacks on security agencies in some parts of the country, saying they were a declaration of war.
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Saturday took a swipe at his Kaduna counterpart, describing him as “one of the real enemies” of Nigeria.
Mr. Ortom was responding to a statement credited to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, where the latter reportedly accused the Benue Governor of attacking the federal government to cover for his failure to secure Benue state.
“Nasir el-Rufai is a sycophant, ethnic champion and religious bigot who hates anyone who does not share the same faith with him,” a statement signed by Ortom’s spokesman, Terver Akase, said.
“He is among the very few persons who have misled President Muhammadu Buhari.
“El-Rufai is one of the real enemies of this country who do not hide their divisive tendencies by elevating nepotism and ethnicity above the good values that have held Nigeria together over the decades.”
Communities in Benue have recently come under attack from suspected herdsmen prompting Ortom to accuse President Buhari of working with Fulani to take over Nigeria.
The Presidency, in response to Ortom’s comment, has expressed disappointment in the Governor.
Read Ortom’s full statement on El-Rufai:
EL-RUFAI IS ONE OF THOSE WHO HAVE MISLED PRESIDENT BUHARI
We read the statement credited to Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai in which he accused Governor Samuel Ortom of using the insecurity in his state to attack the Federal Government in order to cover up what he termed as the Benue State Governor’s failure.
We want to believe that El-Rufai was wrongly quoted. A man who has failed in several aspects as Governor of Kaduna has no moral justification to accuse another Governor.
A Governor who has divided the good people of Kaduna against one another by not hiding his hatred of indigenes of the state on account of religion and ethnicity is not qualified to judge another Governor on any issue whatsoever. A Governor who chose a Muslim deputy in a state where Christians have a huge population is certainly not one to preach unity and peaceful co-existence.
El-Rufai’s attack on Governor Ortom is merely to make him look good before the Presidency. He has apparently fallen out of favour at the Villa and wants to use Governor Ortom as a launch pad back to reckoning. How has he handled his own problems in Kaduna? This is a man who has insulted almost every prominent Nigerian including the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and former President Olusegun Obasanjo; a man who is his former boss and one who brought him to limelight.
Nigerians have not forgotten the unprintable things El-Rufai said during Goodluck Jonathan’s time as President. He insulted the then President and publicly supported terrorists attacking parts of the country. His statements on the abduction of Chibok girls and several other acts of terrorism are still fresh in our minds. El-Rufai is on record to have said repeatedly that Fulani people must retaliate any wrong done to them no matter how long it takes.
Is Governor Ortom responsible for El-Rufai’s inability to ensure peace in Kaduna State where bandits have taken over some communities while kidnappings and killings occur on daily basis?
El-Rufai admitted to paying Fulani herdsmen whom he invited from other West African countries in the name of stopping attacks in Southern Kaduna. Since he made the confessional statement, attacks on the people of Southern Kaduna have escalated. This is why he wants men of good conscience like Governor Ortom to be silent to pave way for the conquest and expansion agenda to succeed.
Kidnapping has become a common crime in Kaduna State under Nasir el-Rufai. Aside the much celebrated cases, it has been estimated that at every given time, not less that 300 persons are abducted in Kaduna by kidnappers who are always identified as El-Rufai’s kinsmen. He pays them billions to embolden them. He has turned the state into one of the most unsafe places to live in Nigeria today.
Talking about taking someone seriously, if other Nigerians take El-Rufai seriously, we in Benue do not do same. A man who has no regard for humanity does not deserve our attention.
Nasir el-Rufai is a sycophant, ethnic champion and religious bigot who hates anyone who does not share the same faith with him. He is among the very few persons who have misled President Muhammadu Buhari. El-Rufai is one of the real enemies of this country who do not hide their divisive tendencies by elevating nepotism and ethnicity above the good values that have held Nigeria together over the decades.
Nasir el-Rufai doesn’t possess the credentials to counsel anyone on payment of salaries and the welfare of workers. This is a Governor who recently sacked 4,000 workers for no just cause. He ought to be ashamed of himself. What happened to the lofty promises he made to Kaduna people in 2015?
The Kaduna Governor should know that only two days ago, the people of Benue State met at a stakeholders meeting in Makurdi and unanimously passed a vote of confidence on Governor Ortom in recognition of his performance. That meeting was attended across party lines with leaders of All Progressives Congress, APC also present.
El-Rufai and his conspirators must note that Benue State will not repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, no matter the amount of blackmail, hatred and threats they wage against Governor Ortom.
We advise the Kaduna State Governor to focus on addressing the numerous problems he has created in his state and leave Governor Ortom to lead Benue in peace.
■ Nasir El-Rufai explains why he now says negotiating with criminals is objectionable.
By Alfred Olufemi
Six years ago, before his election as Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai said he would explore all means, including negotiations with Boko Haram terrorists, to rescue the kidnapped Chibok girls if he were the president, a statement that contradicts his present stance.
After a video clip of his 2015 statement went viral this week, Mr El-Rufai has explained why he as governor has moved in the opposite direction.
No fewer than 270 schoolgirls were abducted when Boko Haram terrorists attacked their school in Chibok, a community in Borno State, in 2014.
While some of the girls managed to escape, others spent over two years with their abductors before the Nigerian government negotiated their release.
Seven years after the kidnap, about a hundred of the girls are still in the captivity of the insurgents.
Reacting to the federal government’s handling of the kidnap of the Chibok girls in 2015, Mr El-Rufai blamed former President Goodluck Jonathan for not exploring all possible means.
in an interview with Sahara TV, Mr El-Rufai, whose All Progressives Congress was in the opposition then, said: “We have no apologies for pointing out to Nigeria’s that this government is incompetent and has failed to provide security. If you say we are politicizing it, fix the problem so that we cannot politicize it, okay?
Asked for the way forward, Mr El-Rufai said: “The government has the solution to this problem. Several committees have given them recommendations. They should just implement the recommendations in their drawer, okay?
“As for rescuing the girls, we have seen examples of what countries do when this situation happens, you should have military action, on the one hand; the negotiation on the other. You should not foreclose anything because the lives of your citizens are at risk and you don’t want to lose one life. You don’t want to lose the life of one person.”
Asked if he was in support of negotiation, he said:
“I’m in support of every option. When you have the lives of your citizens at risk, you should not take any option off the table. You should be flexible. You should listen. You should negotiate and look at the price. You have to be and get those girls out,” he told the interviewer.
In crisis But today, Mr El-Rufai is faced with a similar situation in Kaduna but has said he will never negotiate with kidnappers or pay their ransom demands to free their victims.
In what seems like a test of Mr El-Rufai’s previous statements, several attacks have been launched in Kaduna with many kidnapped persons still with their abductors.
Last month, 39 students were kidnapped at Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka. While a few of them have been rescued nearly 30 students are still with the abductors.
Last week, bandits attacked Greenfield University, a private university in Kaduna State, and kidnapped an undisclosed number of students. Five of the University students have been found dead, suspected to have been killed by their assailants.
Others are still in captivity with promises to secure their release by the state and federal authorities.
Meanwhile, Mr El-Rufai has repeatedly emphasised his stance not to negotiate with the bandits.
“Our position on Kaduna State has been clear and consistent: bandits, cattle wrestlers and armed militia must be degraded and decimated to a state of unconditional submission to constituted authority.”
While speaking at the presentation of the state 2020 security report last month, Mr El-Rufai said the government would never negotiate with bandits of any kind or support any grant of amnesty to them.
This “no ransom, no negotiation” was reiterated in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Muyiwa Adekeye, on Tuesday.
In the statement sent to this newspaper, Mr Adeyeye said those sharing the video clip of the previous interview took Mr El-Rufai out of context.
“The years since 2014 may have led some people to forget the denial and doubt that defined the FG’s response to the Chibok abductions, especially the initial refusal to acknowledge that it happened. That was the context under which civic pressures were brought on the government.
“Nigeria’s journey since the 2014 Chibok tragedy has proven that the solution to violent crimes, including terrorism and banditry, is a robust response from the state and its coercive agencies. The quantum of money paid as ransom following many negotiations with bandits have not stopped kidnappings, reduced their frequency or deterred the criminals.”
He said negotiating with the criminals does not conform to the current realities.
“Mass abduction was like a novelty in 2014. But the facts have changed since then. Negotiations and ransoms have been undertaken, but these have not stopped the criminals. It has only encouraged them.”
Mr Adekeye further stated that the fact that criminals seek to hold the state government by the ‘jugular’ does not mean it should surrender and create an incentive for more crime. (Premium Times)
■ In the video, the pregnant woman the bandits identified as Hajiya pleaded with their parents to rescue them.
The remaining 29 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State, who were abducted by bandits appear to be having it rough at the hands of their captors, according to a video released by the gunmen on Tuesday.
The gunmen had on March 12, 2021 invaded the institution and abducted 39 students, including a pregnant woman.
A day after the abduction, a video surfaced online, where the students were seen sitting on the ground in an unknown location and guarded by armed men whose identities were concealed.
The victims, who were seen being tortured by the armed men, appealed to the government to rescue them.
Between April 5 and April 8, the bandits released 10 of the abducted students, leaving 29 of them in captivity.
In another video released on Tuesday in an unknown location, a bandit was heard speaking in Hausa and later Fulfulde.
In the video that is four minutes and 56 seconds long, which was shot at night, the gunmen asked some of the students to come forward and speak to the camera.
In the video, the pregnant woman the bandits identified as Hajiya pleaded with their parents to rescue them.
“We are appealing to our parents to help us, we are tired and there is no food. They should do their best to get us out of this place. We have spent 47 days, almost all of us are ill and there is no food. We sleep in the open even when it rains,” she said.
Kaduna is one of the states in Nigeria facing the worst cases of kidnapping by bandits.
On April 20, an unknown number of students were kidnapped from Greenfield University, a private institution in the Chukun Local Government Area. A security guard was also shot in the attack.
There is no official confirmation of the number of students kidnapped from the school but five of them have already been killed by their abductors.
On April 22, two nurses were kidnapped from Idon Hospital in Kajuru LGA of the state after an attack by gunmen.
The armed men were said to have gained access to the hospital through the fence, opened fire before abducting the nurses who worked the night shift. (SaharaReporters)
…Says 50 arrested over Owerri Police, Prison attacks
…Alleges some people outside Southeast behind Imo attacks
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State on Friday, charged the security agencies to publish names of those sponsoring banditry and terrorism in the country so as to shame such persons.
The Governor also said that about 50 persons have been arrested in connection with the recent attacks of the Police headquarters and Correctional Services in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, the governor revealed that some of those arrested in connection with the Owerri arson are neither from Imo State nor Southeastern geo-political zone.
He said that his meeting with the President centred more on security matters.
Recall that many divisional police offices in Imo State have been razed by unknown gunmen in recent times.
But the Imo State governor alleged that those behind the dastardly act were funded by disgruntled politicians, adding that it was a high time the names of the sponsors were made available to the press.
He described the meeting with the President as successful as he had the opportunity to discuss all the security challenges facing the state.
Asked what she discussed with the President, he said, “Of course, there is nothing new, you must have heard of the various banditry activities in Imo State and how even at a time a few weeks ago, the Police Headquarters was attacked and a correctional services facility was also attacked, inmates released and since that time, there have been a couple of breaches here and there.
“Thank God that the federal government came to our aid and beefed up security. The situation in Imo State is now relatively calm. Every other support I asked for the President also approved and granted.”
On the of support he was asking from the government, he responded, “To increase manpower and also give the security agencies logistic support to be able to do their job.,
Fielding question on the recent revelation from the Close Circuit Television, CCTV, that those behind the recent attacks in the state are not from Imo State, he said that not only that some of them are not from the state, investigation revealed that they are not from southeast.
According to him, “It is not only CCTV, some of those arrested by security agencies, some of them are not from Imo State or the Southeast, it was a combination of those within the state and those from outside the state.”
On the number of arrest made so far over the incident, he said, “As at the last count, we arrested almost 40 to 50 people who also made useful statements and confessed to the crime.
“I continue to tell you that this issue of banditry is something that we must all rise up as people to condemn and then support security agencies to be able to provide an enabling environment for people to go about their businesses, without fear of any molestation.
“The job of security of a country cannot be left to security agencies alone. The job requires the citizenry to support security agencies through intelligence gathering, also government at all levels, including traditional leaderships to support government because the bandits stay among us, the criminals live among us and if we are not in position to report them, or report their activities to security agencies, then we are undoing ourselves.
“So I encourage everybody to see this as a collective challenge that all of us must join hands; whether you are from the local government, community level, to state, up to the federal government, we must join hands because we don’t have another country.
“The only country we can beat our chests and call our own is Nigeria and we must work to towards ensuring that the integrity of our country, the security situation in our country, is such that allows people, residents and citizens to go about their businesses without the fear of molestation
“Any problem anywhere, in any part of the country is also a problem everywhere in the country. Today it may be Imo State, you don’t know when it will be your own state. So if we don’t come now and nip this thing in the bud, it means that one day we may not have a country. So let us defend our country, it is very important.”
Also asked how much confidence he has with the new proposed security network by governors in the Southeast, Ebube Agu, Uzodinma said he believes in the Constitution of the country.
He said,” Well, I believe in the rule of law and the Constitution has a procedure and the punishment for every criminal, If confirmed a criminal, is also defined in the established statutes.
“So a criminal is a criminal, once confirmed, but what I don’t agree to is that anybody will want us to discuss and negotiate with confirmed criminals.
“What is important is making sure that the person has been confirmed to be a criminal and through due process, the confirmation came, you must face the law of the land.”
Further asked his opinion on how Nigeria could manage the sectional and ethnic crises and the cessesionist agitations so that they don’t go out of control, the governor said the country would be better staying together than being disintegrated.
“I don’t think that I will support any call for cessation, I want a united, strong Nigeria. Our strength is in our diversity and today, we are supposed to play a leading role in this continent.
“We don’t want to whittle down our strength. Rather, what I advise is that we must appreciate the gift of nature, in our land and support the government. Listen, let me tell you something, this country is blessed by God.
“From 2015 till today, I thought what the problem would be is people saying that there is no job creation, people are not feeding, salaries are not paid, infrastructures are going down, social interventions are not approved by the government.
“These things are there, available, a passmark for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Now, people are no longer talking about that, rather what they are doing is to sponsor crisis, to the extent that those funding this banditry are politicians, which I challenge and call on security agencies to make their names available to the press because what they want to do is to distract a government that is focused.
“If this government is not doing well, I will be one of those that will declare that the government is not doing well, but a situation where you will live the formal way, ethical way of doing politics, and you are now sponsoring banditry to bring down a government, for Christ’s sake, we should rise up and condemn it, all of us.”
Asked to mention names of those suspected to be sponsoring banditry and terrorism in the country, he said,”This is a security issue, a lot of investigations are going on here and there, preliminary reports are there. People are furthering the investigations. I think I have given you something to go home with. When you go home, think about it and do the homework by yourself.”
Further asked how the President feels about the happenings in Southeast in the 40 minutes meeting, Senator Uzodinma said,”I know the genuine interests of the President for Nigerians, I have had series of discussions and at every given time I have asked for one intervention or the other, it is given to me and it is for the interest of my people.
“But then, for those things to function, we need an enabling environment. That is why the enemies of progress, not deterred by the progress the government is making, are now out to scuttle good governance
“Opposition and politics are about the people. Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Why are people hiring people to kill the people? There is no responsible government that will not want those who voted him or her to power to be happy and this government I have seen is a responsible government.
“This party, APC, is a responsible party. That is why some of us are members of this party and we promised that we would deliver to our people, and I am committed that this government will deliver.
“However, I think we are rising to the occasion. I can tell you that sooner than later, today will become a thing of the past and Nigeria will move forward.” (Vanguard News)
With growing insecurity across the country, secessionist agitations and ethno-religious crisis, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has warned that Nigeria is heading for the brink, urging that there is an urgent need to pull it back.
“Despite huge human and material resources the country is heading for the brinks and there is an urgent need to pull it back from this catastrophe,” he said in a letter inviting leaders of opinion to a town hall meeting scheduled for tomorrow in Kaduna.
Also concerned by the raging strife across the land, the Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd)-led National Peace Committee (NPC) is also convening a meeting today in Abuja to discuss the way forward. Nigeria has recently witnessed increasing insecurity, leading to the killing of security agents and innocent citizens by bandits.
The security crisis has made many Nigerians and members of the international community to express concerns about the state of the nation. Mohammed, in a letter, inviting prominent Nigerians for a town hall meeting in Kaduna tomorrow said the manifestations of the general state of insecurity in the country, especially with secessionist narrative, crass politicisation of ethnic and religious differences need to be addressed urgently. He said with the situation, the country is heading for the brink.
He said: “As you may observe, Nigeria has failed to manage its diversity. Despite huge human and material resources the country is heading for the brink and there is an urgent need to pull it back from this catastrophe.
“Increasingly, we are seeing this lack of capacity to manage our diversity manifesting in a general state of insecurity as witnessed in the heightened incidences of farmers/herders clashes, Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, ethno-religious clashes and intolerance, cultism, drug addiction and kidnapping.
“Closely tied to all these are the dangerous threat to the unity of the country and its continued existence as one indivisible nation. But the story of Nigeria has not always been this negative. How did we get here and what can we do to change the narrative to present our country in the best of light? This requires teamwork, reflecting all diversities, leveraging on all our collective creativity to pursue with diligence the project of rescuing Nigeria.’’
Mohammed added that the correct starting point towards addressing the problems is building an elite consensus on the security, unity, indissolubility and peaceful existence of Nigeria. He said such elite consensus had worked in the past and there is a need to find out why it is not working again as well as to proffer solutions because Nigeria is truly at a tipping point.
In the invitation letters sent to many opinion moulders nationwide, the minister said a broad-based and inclusive town hall meeting has been fixed for Kaduna tomorrow to discuss some of the manifestations of the general state of insecurity in the country, especially with secessionist narrative, crass politicisation of ethnic and religious differences.
“The proposed town hall meeting will aim at developing concrete implementable resolutions because a lot of theoretical talks and postulation had taken place with little or no requisite outcome. “The event will be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari. Reputable scholar, Prof. Jibril Ibrahim, will be the lead presenter and will set the tone for discussion with Prof. Saka Nuru, Prof. Chudi Uwazurike and Prof Kokunre Eghafonaas as guest discussants,’’ the letter stated.
The meeting is expected to be attended by the leadership of the legislature, governors, ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, service chiefs, Inspector-General of Police, heads of security agencies, religious and traditional leaders and members of the international community amongst others.
Similarly, the Abdulsalami-led peace committee has also scheduled a meeting of prominent leaders for today in Abuja to address what it described as the “escalating spate of insecurity, banditry, kidnapping, regional agitations, the killing of innocent citizens and other forms of violence.’’ It added that the vexed issues have continued to cause deep concern to well-meaning citizens at home and abroad. NPC said it had been receiving requests from Nigerians, urging it to intervene. (ThisDay)
The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a factional umbrella body for herdsmen in the country, has said it is opposed to the ban imposed on open grazing of cattle by South-West governors. It said the enforcement of the ban was tantamount to an eviction notice.
This is however against the position of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, which at a meeting with some governors in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on January 25, said it agreed with the position of the governors.
The meeting in Akure was attended by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Governors Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Muhammad Badaru of Jigawa State, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State. MACBAN was led to the meeting by its chairman, Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, among other attendees.
Apart from South-West governors, governors in the South-East had previously banned open grazing and movement of cows on foot into the South-East.
The Secretary General of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Saleh Alhassan, said on Friday, “They can’t put an end to open grazing by fiat because grazing is not motorcycle business; there must be an alternative. Secondly, if they say they are going to end open grazing, what is the timeline for it?
“They want to displace herders from where they earn their livelihood. It is not different from an eviction notice – it is just putting the eviction notice into effect. This is very unfortunate because they cannot come out to say they are embracing peaceful herders and then say they are ending open grazing. What do they mean by that? Is there closed grazing?
“From history, right from the time of Moses, grazing is open. By now, they should realise that they will not get the result they are looking for. We are in total support of the National Livestock Transformation Plan. I was part of the committee that reviewed the final document. The programme has a lot of components, and if implemented, it will address a lot of challenges.
“Look at Benue State and how the approach has created a militia. You can’t end open grazing by fiat as if someone is looking for a crisis, and these crises have a way of reverberating.”
Alhassan argued that asking herdsmen to stop open grazing and begin ranching was tantamount to asking farmers to begin mechanisation, without which they wouldn’t be able to do their farming activities.
He added, “If they say herders must begin ranching today, where is the ranch? For someone to develop a ranch, they need at least three to five years for it to mature. The facts are there. Ranches cannot be created overnight but they are just playing politics.”
On the issue of insecurity, he said herders had been victims of rustling and kidnapping and that if insecurity was to be addressed, it was not by making it an ethnic issue, because according to him, there are criminals in every ethnic group.
“It’s sad, because at the end of the day, we end up radicalising the herders,” he said. “When they are radicalised, who will benefit? The country will suffer worse insecurity. That’s why we are against this issue of eviction or ultimatum because it doesn’t work like that. There have not been proper laws at the national level to address these challenges and the National Assembly is just playing to the gallery. Let there be proper laws.”
He said if there had been an increase in the herders moving from the North to the South, it could be due to climate change, insecurity in the North-East, drought caused by environmental factors or Boko Haram.
“All these need to be properly addressed via articulated policies. Politicians should address their differences; they should leave the herders alone, they are in the bush dealing with all kinds of challenges,” he added.
When reminded that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, who is also a northerner, had canvassed the restriction of the movement of herders from the North to the South, Alhassan said, “That is where I disagree totally with the Kano State governor. Are they going to stay inside his house in Kano? You must create space for them and not to just talk.”