Defence Minister Blames Herdsmen Killings On Anti-Grazing Law, Route Blockage

Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of defence
                       Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, on Thursday described the blockage of grazing routes across the country as the remote cause of recent killings especially in Benue and Taraba states.

He also identified the implementation of anti-grazing law in some states as the immediate cause of the killings.

Dan-Ali spoke with State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the National Security Council presided over by President Muhamamdu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the recent killings formed part of discussions at the meeting and the proposed National Commission on Proliferation of Arms was one of the steps being taken by the Federal Government to tackle the violence.

The minister said, “Whatever crisis that happens at any time, there are remote and immediate causes.  Look at this issue (killings in Benue and Taraba), what is the remote cause of this farmers’ crisis? Since the nation’s independence, we know there used to be a route whereby the cattle rearers take because they are all over the nation.

“If you go to Bayelsa or Ogun, you will see them. If those routes are blocked, what do you expect will happen?  These people are Nigerians. It is just like one going to block the shoreline, does that make sense to you? These are the remote causes of the crisis. But the immediate cause is the grazing law.

“These people are Nigerians and we must learn to live together with one another. Communities and other people must learn how to accept foreigners within their enclave. Finish!”

Asked if he was justifying the killings because of the blockage of the routes, the minister said, “I have told you that the remote cause is part of the grazing law. Since independence, there are clear routes where these people pass.

“On the issue of arms, they are all over. In those killings you are talking about, there are also militias that did the killings. Some people were caught with arms and they call themselves Forest Guards or whatever with AK47.

“There is nowhere in this country where arms are allowed to be carried apart from legitimate security forces.

“So, anybody carrying any arm is doing so illegally. Militias were caught in the same land doing the same killings, so the killings are not done by any particular group, it is a communal issue.”

Asked which one should Nigerians believe between his position and the government’s earlier position that the killings were done by foreign terrorists, Dan-Ali said, “Of course, that is why I said they are militias. Militias are part of illegal immigrants. They are the people.”

The minister said the meeting also featured discussion on the stringent conditions imposed by the United States government for the sale of 12 Super Tucano A29 planes and other weapons worth $495m to Nigeria.

He said while the US government insisted that the payment must be made by February 20, it also maintained that the aircraft could only be available in 2020.

Apart from that, he said the US government had also stopped Nigerian personnel from being sent to understudy the production process of the aircraft as Nigeria did in the case of other countries.

The minister said the council had approved that the Ministry of Defence met with the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, to iron out the contentious issues.

He said, “The contract include cost which is $494m to acquire the Super Tucano A29 plans as well as training, where the facilities will be accommodated and continuous servicing among others.

“Some of the stringent measures include that we will start having them from 2020, which is two years from now. They are also thinking of not allowing our technicians to be part of the production inspection.

“But this is what we normally do in all the defence contracts: we send our personnel to go and understudy especially when it comes to specialised aircraft like in Russia, our personnel are permanently based where the production is being done for this MI35 helicopters.”  (Punch)

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PDP Trashes APC In By-Election For House Of Reps In Buhari’s Own State

Image result for inec election in Katsina
As the results of the election trickle in Kastina by-Election, PDP is already leading with a wide margin. Below are the results that have been counted and collated at the various Polling units in Katsina State.
The by-election was called due to the death of late Alhaji Sani Bello in February this year, and Mansur Ali is the candidate for the ruling All Progressive Congress in Muhammadu Buhari’s own state of Katsina.
Primary School in Dutsi A
PRP = 6
PDP = 229
APC = 159
Rumfar Hon Haruna Ali Yamel
Kaura A
PDP = 94
APC = 72
Kaura B
PDP = 105
APC = 74
Dogon Gari
Kayawa 1:
PDP =113
APC= 95
Kayawa 2
PDP =95
APC= 67
Gamji Ward
PDP= 160
APC. =183
Sirika B
APC =178
PDP =98
Dutsi B
PDP =82
APC= 76
Tamilo Yamma Polling Unit.
PDP =163
APC =76
PRP= 2
Dankudu Ward 008
PDP =96
APC =59
Turke Polling Unit
PDP =176
APC =108
Dutsawa B
PDP =186
APC =51
Dankudu B 007
PDP =96
APC =59
Yamel Ward 002
PDP= 232
APC =56
Yan Riga PU
PDP =207
APC= 128
PRP =1
PDP =114
APC= 108
Dutsi A Primary 001:
PDP 200
APC 114
Dutsi A Transformers:
PDP 141
APC 96
Dusti B:
Machinawa Polling Unit
PDP 103
APC 84
Garo 2:
PDP 191
APC 64
Invalid 20
Tsintsiya Primary School 008:
PDP 83
APC 179
Yemel B:
Fakarawa A
PDP 116
APC 74
Yemel A:
PDP 105
APC 74
Majigiri word Godi:
PDP 119
APC 105
Tamilo Yamma Polling Unit:
PDP 163
APC 76
PRP 2.
Meanwhile, ruling APC won one of the polling units while PDP won the rest. Mansur Ali is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
Some people opined that the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari led to the failure of APC candidate in today’s election. The by-election was conducted as a replacement of late Alhaji Sani Bello, who died in February this year.
Whether this is a confidence vote to Buhari and his APC-led government or not remains to be seen. But it is definitely a strong message to President Muhammadu Buhari especially when it is in his own state, Katsina.

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FG Spends $100m To Fight Boko Haram, Says Defence Minister |The Republican News

•Shekau threatens more bombings after UNIMAID attack

By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, BillyGraham Abel, Yola and Magnus Eze, Abuja

The Federal Government has spent $100 million in fighting Boko Haram insurgency.

Minister of Defence, Mansur Ali, who disclosed this, yesterday, during his visit to the operational base of the 103 Air Strike Squad, also known as Operation Lafiya Dole, lauded President Mohammed Buhari for his support in fighting insurgency.

“The sum of $100 million released by this administration has gone a long way in the provision of logistics and equipment to fight the war,’’ he said.

On his part, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar disclosed four aircraft have been deployed for Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance towards capturing fleeing Boko Haram members as well as rescuing the remaining 196 abducted Chibok school girls.

“Finding and returning the Chibok girls and other abducted Nigerians is at the heart of the air force operations. is a significant milestone in the fight against the terrorist group.

“Sufficient intelligence gathering is essential before launching attack. The air force has four highly equipped aircrafts undertaking Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance as against the single aircraft it had in the past. We are doing everything possible to ensure the Chibok school girls and every other abductees are rescued,” he stressed.

But, Convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, Mrs. Obi Ezekwesili was not convinced. She said “Nigerians are still questioning the supposed capture of Sambisa since it does not amount to the defeat of Boko Haram, as the insurgents are still killing people and Chibok girls, among other abductees, are yet to be found.’’

Regardless, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed insisted that “capturing Sambisa is a huge success in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency,” and added that “the endgame of the fight against insurgency is society without war and violence.’’ The minister also reassured Nigerians that negotiations for the release of other Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram are on-going.

Mohammed said the success recorded by the military in the Theatre of War was helping the negotiation because of the carrot and stick approach of government to ending insurgency. He recalled that a meeting was recently held which was a near success and added that the federal government will not rest on its oars in ensuring safe return of all the missing girls and others in Boko Haram captivity. Negotiations are still on.  Unfortunately, unlike the search operations, we cannot take you along to the negotiation table.

“I want to assure you that these negotiations are going on, but they are very complicated and delicate and shift from time to time,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, hours after bombs from a seven-year-old went off in a mosque in the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, killing Professor Aliyu Mani and three others, Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau has claimed responsibility for the attack and boasted that more attacks would come.

The sect leader, in an Hausa audio message on Monday night, claimed his sect bombed UNIMAID because the institution mixed “Islam with democracy.”

He added: “We carried out the University of Maiduguri bomb at the mosque. We did it because they are mixing Islam with democracy. We carried out the attack in the morning and I am speaking to you this evening; and you will see more attacks.”

A day before, on Sunday, January 15, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai said the army could not capture Shekau during clearance of Sambisa  because he fled before they got there. Buratai said the insurgents could not withstand the “firepower of the Nigerian troops…” and so,  “he had to move to another location, although the army is on his trail…”

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has condoled with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the suicide bomb attack which claimed some lives, including a professor at the

NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, in a statement, in Abuja, commended the military and security agencies for the successes achieved so far.  (The Sun)

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