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)
Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams on Sunday said with the killing of over 50 people in Igangan town, Ibarapa, Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, it is evident that war is imminent in the country.
Adams, while condemning the gruesome murder of innocent residents of the town, warned Fulani herdsmen and bandits to stay away from the southwest or be ready to face stiff resistance.
The killings in the early hours of Sunday brought the entire Igangan town and its environs to its knees with over 50 people dead, cars burnt and over 20 houses razed.
After news of the killings and destruction filtered in, with gory videos of the massacre, Adams said the North had waged war against the Southwest.
Makinde reacts as gunmen invade Igangan, kill scores
He said the North had unleashed terror on the region, stressing the need for the people to rise and defend themselves “without looking back”.
“In a situation like this, you rise and defend yourself. Where are the police when the bandits started killing our people in Igangan today?
Even the palace of Asigangan of Igangan land, Oba Adewuyi Olaoye, was not spared and the monarch, according to reports had been whisked away by the bandits.
“Three days ago, the Director-General of Oyo State Southwest Security Network Amotekun, Gen. Kunle Togun(Retd) raised the alarm that herdsmen had invaded the southwest.
“I corroborated his statements and called for urgent surveillance across the southwest. Now with the recent onslaught on Igangan people, it is evident that the Fulani herdsmen are on a predetermined mission to kill, maim and decimate the southwest.
This is one killing too many, I will not fold my arms seeing the blood of innocent people being shed like it is in Igangan.
“Now that North had declared war on the Southwest, we will never silent or compromise on the homicide going on in the southwest. I want to charge all the governors in the Southwest, as well as the traditional rulers to rise to this occasion.”
The Yoruba generalissimo warned criminal herders to stay away from the region, as the Southwest can no longer accommodate killers. OPC and other local security operatives will continue to ensure that the region is safe for residents.
Those killed in Igangan town have their families and friends, there is blood flowing in their veins and in a moment their lives were cut short by killer herdsmen and bandits in their home”.
Adams disclosed that information at his disposal indicates that bandits and killer herdsmen have invaded the Southwest thus pushing the security outfits to the wall.
He urged all governors to beef up the security of their respective states to provide adequate security for the people of the region.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the South West geo-political zone of the country has concluded arrangements to meet with all the six governors of the region with a view to ensuring security in the region.
The chairman, Ondo State chapter of the association, Alhaji Bello Garba who disclosed this in Akure said the association would soon meet on how to work with governments in the South West to tackle the issue of kidnapping and other crimes in the region.
Garba said the association had been working with security agencies in the region on the issue of security.
He said the organisation discovered that some herdsmen who were not their members were coming from Edo, Ogun and other neighbouring states to operate in Ondo State, especially along the Shagamu-Ore expressway.
According to him, the National Chairman of the association, Alhaji Mohammadu Kirwa, had directed that the Ondo State chapter should cooperate with the state governors, police commissioners and other security agencies in the South West to deal with the issue of kidnapping
This development followed the spate of kidnapping and killing on highways in the South West, especially along the Lagos-Ibadan, Lagos-Benin, Ondo-Ore, Akure-Owo-Akoko and Ibadan-Gbongan-Akure expressways.
In one of such attacks on July 12, 2019, suspected kidnappers shot dead Mrs Funke Olakunrin, the 58-year-old daughter of an Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.
Garba asserted that the Ondo chapter of MACBAN and the national body had resolved to deal decisively with the scourge of kidnapping and killings in the South West region.
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Hassan Dantawaye is the commander of bandits who recently renounced violence following peace talks in Zamfara State. The bandits, who are Fulani herdsmen, had been engaged in killing, kidnapping and other crimes, which they blamed on cattle rustling and harassment by security agencies and local vigilance group. Dantawaye tells MAIHARAJI ALTINE about the peace initiative and some of the atrocities they had committed
Q: You recently said your people were forced into a life of kidnapping, killing and other crimes because you were unjustly treated by the government and society, how were you treated unjustly?
A: Thank you so much for this question. We the Fulani have been facing serious challenges, both from the government and cattle rustlers, some of whom are our own people. I mean some bad eggs among us. Most of them are not even citizens of this country.
We were living peacefully about 10 years ago. There was nothing like cattle rustling or kidnapping let alone killings or destruction of innocent people’s properties. The only issue we had then was Fulani herders/farmers clashes and they were always addressed by community leaders of both the farmers and the Fulani.
Let me tell you the truth of the matter, cattle rustling was the genesis of armed banditry in this country. Many Fulani like me have lost their cattle to the rustlers. You know that the Fulani are neither farmers nor traders; they depend solely on the rearing of animals. So when cattle rustling started in our state in 2013, we did all we could to draw the attention of the government to the problem, to do something about it, but nothing was done to stop the menace. The government ignored our numerous complaints. So as time went on, most of us lost almost all of our animals, and as a result of that, many decided to also engage in cattle rustling to regain their lost animals and also sell some of the animals to buy food and other things.
As time went on, the government realised that cattle rustling was on the increase. So, the former governor, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Yari, quickly ordered that no cow should be sold or taken out of the state until it was certified that the person selling it or taking it outside was the genuine owner of the animal.
So that was when we started having serious problems. We have stolen cows but we had no money to buy food because we didn’t know how to sell the animals. One day, an idea came to us that since the kidnapping of people for ransom was being done in some parts of this country and people were making money from it, we should adopt that to get money for our needs. So you see, if the government had acted fast and arrested the issue of cattle rustling at the time we complained about it, we wouldn’t have been involved in these heinous activities.
Q: You said you also faced serious harassment and intimidation from security personnel and Yan Sakai (a local vigilance group), can you expatiate on your experience?
A: Of course, we faced serious harassment and intimidation from the security personnel and the vigilance group, a factor that further worsened the security situation in the state. The security agents, particularly the police, have been levying charges on our people. They had been collecting money from us unnecessarily simply because both the government and society consider every Fulani man as a criminal. When the ban on the sale of cattle was imposed by the state government, the police took advantage of that to extort money from even genuine Fulani people who own animals, whenever they see them. This issue seriously aggravated the insecurity problems in the state.
The vigilance group and Yan Sakai have also contributed to the insecurity issue considering their negative attitude towards the Fulani people. These two groups have turned themselves into groups that are licensed to kill. They killed any Fulani man they perceived as a bandit or cattle rustler and the government did not take any serious action to stop the menace. Many of our people were killed by these people. After realising that the government was not ready to stop the killing of our people by these two groups, we decided to pay back with reprisals. From that day, we decided to kill at least 50 people whenever one of us was killed.
Q: You mentioned cattle rustling, how many cows are you aware were rustled in the last one year, or example?
A: Nobody can answer this question but l can tell you that more than half of our people have lost their animals. Many of them have died of hypertension, while several others have turned to beggars as they have nothing left with them.
Q: What was your personal cattle rustling experience?
A: Believe me, I lost 372 cows and a large number of sheep. My family members have also lost many. In fact, that was my reason for leaving my village and moving to the forest as an alternative home and becoming a bandit, because I had nothing left to depend on.
Q: In the course of all that, did you share your concerns with the government before your people resorted to kidnapping and killing?
A: How many times do you want me to explain this? I told you that we did all we could to convince the government to come to our aid, particularly with regards to cattle rustling. The police had a bad attitude towards our people and there was the persistent killing of our people by the villagers and volunteer groups, but our appeals to the government fell on deaf ears.
Q: What specific response did you get?
A: Not much attention was given to our plight.
Q: How did you become the commander of the bandits?
A: I became the commander because of my total commitment to the plight of my people. They have respect for me because I am very sincere and committed to protecting their interest. I am always contacted by the present administration of Governor Bello Matawalle for any peace accord and whatever he says is accepted by the group.
Q: What do you do normally?
A: As to how?
Q: How do you discharge your duty as the leader of the bandits?
A: The issue is now over. We have embraced peace moves initiated by Governor Matawalle, as such; there is no need for me to tell you the mode of operations since the chapter is now closed.
Q: Are you all Fulani herdsmen?
A: Yes, the people under my command are all Fulani herdsmen. But I cannot say that all bandits are Fulani people because there are several instances where people from other tribes were arrested for banditry. There are many people arrested for banditry and when you look at their identities, you find out that some of them are not Fulani.
Q: How was the group formed? Did you all come together after identifying one another as victims of cattle rustling and so on?
A: You are very correct. The majority of those in our group are victims of armed banditry or other forms of intimidation by either the security personnel or vigilance group. But there are also others who only joined us to fight our enemies and also get something for their families.
Q: Did they undergo any training before they started kidnapping and killing?
A: No, they didn’t need any special training except only on how to operate AK 47 or other weapons. Once a person knew how to use a gun and fight his enemy, he had met our requirements. The kidnapping issue is not something one can be trained on. We normally had our targets. So we only sent our boys to go and kidnap this or that person. We also blocked some roads and kidnapped motorists.
Q: Many of you have surrendered weapons, guns and so on after renouncing, how many have been submitted to the government so far?
A: We surrendered some guns, but you know, the peace process is still ongoing. We are still studying the situation in order to ascertain the level of commitment and seriousness of the government before we finally surrender all of our weapons. Don’t forget that we had a similar peace accord with the past administration of former Governor Yari, when thousands of weapons were surrendered to the government. But at the end of the day, the peace accord failed to yield any positive result. But, I trust the current peace accord of the new governor, Alhaji Bello Matawalle. The governor is really serious; that is why we have released almost all those people we kidnapped in various places. We will soon surrender all the weapons in our possession.
Q: How do your people get the weapons?
A: This is top secret. I cannot disclose this for now but when the time comes, I will answer your question.
Q: Why did you see kidnapping and killing as the solution?
A: I told you earlier that we resorted to kidnapping because we were left with no option as the government at that time banned the sale of animals and we were almost out of cash to purchase food. Similarly, we resorted to killing in order to avenge the killing of our own people by the vigilance group and Yan Sakai.
Q: How many people were you involved in their kidnap?
A: They were many. I cannot precisely tell you their number.
Q: What about killing? Is that something you can talk about?
Q: How were the peace talks with the vigilantes initiated?
A: The peace talks were initiated by the state police commissioner, Alhaji Usman Nagogo, who invited all the stakeholders, that is the Fulani people, vigilance group and Yan Sakai to a meeting where every group was given a chance to voice their grievances. After a series of meetings, we all agreed that there was a need for all of us to forgive one another and embrace peace. We agreed to release the people we had abducted if the government could also release our people that had been imprisoned.
Governor Matawalle has not only accepted our request but has also promised to provide us with government assistance for us to live happily like our counterparts, the farmers. He has also proscribed the activities of the vigilance group and Yan Sakai.
Q: The public has also had problems with the way your herders also roam from place to place with their cattle, destroying farm crops and so on? Will you say that is fair?
A: I will not say that it is fair. You see, farmers depend on their farms to survive and the Fulani depend on their animals. So it is very unfair for the Fulani to destroy food crops. But sometimes we have no alternative because more than 80 per cent of grazing areas have now been encroached into by farmers. There used to be enough grazing lands demarcated by the government in those days mainly for cattle. They are called cattle routes. These lands have been taken over by farmers and the government did not bother much about it. So that is why we are having problems with those who have encroached into the cattle routes and grazing lands. If this issue is addressed by the government, I am telling you, the issue of destruction of crops will be over.
Q: Many of your kidnap victims are still in captivity; will you ensure the release of all these people following the peace initiative?
A: As far as I am concerned, nobody is currently being held captive in Zamfara State. We have released our captives and the government has also released our people arrested by security agents.
Q: But people are still being kidnapped, though the situation has gone down, what are you doing to ensure that killing and kidnapping stop totally?
A: We have not kidnapped anybody in one week as the government is doing its best to fulfil its promise. Nobody was kidnapped or killed during the Eid el Kabir festival. So there is relative peace in the state now.
Q: How do you pass the message of peace across to the various cells of bandits?
A: It is easy to communicate nowadays with mobile phones. So we communicate with our people through phone calls.
Q: What do you think is the solution to all the problems of insecurity in the country?
This is very simple. Justice is the solution to the problem of insecurity in Nigeria.
Q: What do you mean?
A: I mean everybody should be treated justly and with fairness. All Nigerians must be treated equally. The government should try as much as possible to make sure that the right of every Nigerian is adequately protected. If this is done, I assure you, the problem of insecurity would be adequately addressed. (Punch)
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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.
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
Col Abimbola Sowumi (rtd) Mallam Salau Ahmed Akorede For Apapo Oodua Koya, (AOKOYA) The Yoruba self determination group
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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 →
The Federal Government has denied an allegation that it is persecuting Christians in Nigeria.
The government also denied that Boko Haram was propped up to carry out attacks targeted principally at Christians.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said on Thursday that Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Justice George Oguntade, gave the government’s position in a letter he wrote to the British Parliamentary Group.
It said a group in Nigeria, the Northern Christian Elders Forum, had made the allegation against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, whom the group said was practising “bigotry and alienating Christians.”
The Presidency said letters were written to Rt. Revd. Philip Mounstephen, a former Secretary of the Church Missionary Society and now Head, Independent Review of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Support of Persecuted Christians, and “Baroness Berridge, the Chair of All Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief,” in which the Nigerian Government dismissed the allegations.
“It would be useful for me to engage with this process to ensure that you are thoroughly briefed on the situation in Nigeria,” the Presidency quoted the envoy as writing.
He wrote further, “The safety and security of all Nigerians, whatever their faith, is a fundamental priority of the Buhari government. The government knows that Nigeria can only achieve its potential if there is religious tolerance and cooperation.”
He also mentioned the fact that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo being a Christian, regularly briefed Christian leaders both within and outside Nigeria.
The high commissioner also wrote that Buhari’s cabinet was “balanced,” having Muslims and Christians as members.
The Presidency stated further what Adetola Oguntade wrote, “According to Justice Oguntade, Vice-President Osinbajo has maintained regular contacts with the Christian and Muslim leaders as part of efforts to build and sustain inter-faith dialogue.
“Stressing that the country’s security challenges had no ethnic and religious coloration, the High Commissioner said the farmers/herders’ clashes pre-dated the Buhari administration, noting that such clashes bordered on the desire for pasture by the herders and the desire to protect crops from encroachment and destruction by the farmers.
“Oguntade explained that these clashes had a long history and the Buhari administration is taking a major step to address the root cause of these crises and violent clashes pitting Muslim and Christian farmers alike against the herders.
“According to the High Commissioner, ‘the issue of grazing routes is historically central to these conflicts and the Buhari administration is taking a holistic approach to the matter with a view to ending it once and for all, so that Nigerians can live in peace with one another.
“He, therefore, assured the international community that the Buhari administration would ensure that ‘the competition over scarce land is resolved peacefully for the benefits of all parties.’”
Specifically on Boko Haram, the envoy denied that it was a government-backed group against Christians, saying that the terrorist group was in existence before Buhari assumed office in 2015.
“Boko Haram is a murderous death cult whose savagery has destroyed thousands of lives. The government is totally dedicated to eradicating their stain from our land.
“Since the Buhari administration has been in power, Boko Haram has been significantly degraded – with the support and assistance of the UK Government. We shall not rest until this mission is completed and the people of North-East Nigeria – both Christians and Muslims – can live in peace again,” he added.
The Presidency added that Oguntade enclosed in the letters, Buhari’s opinion article published on November 30, 2018, by London-based Church Times, with the title, “Don’t Politicise Religion in Nigeria.”
It quoted some paragraphs from the article where Buhari wrote that Christians and Muslims could live peacefully in Nigeria.
Buhari had written, “These two great religions (Islam and Christianity) cannot only peacefully coexist but flourish together. But we must first turn to one another in compassion. For as Amos teaches us: ‘Do two walk together unless they have agreed to meet?’
“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities because if we do, our palette of possibilities will remain primary. It is only when we mix them together that we can imagine new and greater possibilities.
“As our constitution spells out, politicising religion should have no place in Nigeria. However, it is all the more reprehensible when in doing so; it feeds fears and plays to man’s baser instincts.
“For it makes us turn away from one another; it makes us retreat into our communities and walk different paths; and it blinds us to each other’s God-given dignity.”(Punch)
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The Eastern Region Assembly, ERA has responded in strongest terms the demand from the Miyetti Allah from South East governors for the Fulani herdsmen to be part of the vigilante group which are to be formed in the Eastern region. The idea of the vigilante is to form a security outfit to check against the menance of the murderous and marauding killer Fulani herdsmen, and the fact that the same group wants to be part of the vigilante security outfit raised eyebrows.
ERA, in their press release had this to say:
THE POSITION OF EASTERN REGION ASSEMBLY ON MIYETTI ALLAH RECENT REQUEST FOR VIGILANTE IN THE EAST
ERA (Eastern Region Assembly) is putting it to the entire governors in Alaigbo and the coastal parts of the region that a successful formation of alien vigilante translates to a successful invasion, occupancy, and outright takeover of our region.
The governors manning the state houses in the region should not forget that they are the custodians of our social pact – common will – and as such will be the ones to be held responsible for whatever social, political, and economic quagmire the region is faced with.
ERA, most especially, frowns at the persistent disunity of the state actors that dot the region, considering the fact that their contemporaries in the West work n-sync with their people. ERA wonders why the needed regional consciousness still remains a spook in the minds of both state actors and traditional leaders in our dear region.
It is the terse submission of ERA’s that as long as the led and leaders in the region cannot sit together and discuss the future of the region the way the West did and was able to anoint Gani Adams, our region will continue to float without any projected destination. Of course, the real reason behind our travails before and after the Civil War is our inability to talk as one people.
ERA was formed with the evasive consciousness of one people, related regional culture, diverse dialects from one language etc. We urge the entire people in the region to borrow a leaf from the West and start doing the needful. We must begin to think of our region first, since it is only in doing so that our tribes will fare better; for no tribe can stand alone: there is so much strength in unity.
ERA will not fail to blame the governors, legislators, and judicial activists in our region should any part of the region fall under indirect administration of aliens whose real goal is to conquer us – religiously, politically, and economically. But we cannot complain without proffering solution. ERA recommends as follows:
1) that the entire people, traditional actors, and state actors fashion out a way to come together vide a regional summit
2) that the regional summit be used to produce a generally acceptable leader who will be supported by the leaders and led in the region
3) that all wrongs in the past be discussed and forgiven in the interest of the region
4) that local vigilante groups in various parts of the region (Egbesu in Ijaw, Bakassi in Alaigbo etc) be reawaken by the state actors and traditional rulers for effective defense of the region
5) that regular meetings be held on rotational basis across the entire states that constitute the region, where issues affecting the tribes and region will be discussed.
Finally, ERA wishes to state that the recommendations put out is not exhaustive per se, since there are numerous others; however, we are sanguine that a successful implementation of these will be a good takeoff. Our governors, legislators, traditional rulers, ohanaeze, PANDEF, IYC, Akwa-Cross Council etc must arise and shield our entire region from this impending disaster. We are one people. We must reinvent our regional consciousness now. A united people are always invincible. God bless us all.
Comr. Russell Idatoru Sunju Bluejack P.R.O.
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At least 25 people have been killed in fresh bandits’ attack in four villages of Ghandi District in Rabah Local Government Area of Sokoto State at the weekend.
The bandits stormed villages of Tsage, Rakonni, Kalhu and Gee’re villages on Sunday, killing 25 people and wounding many. The state governor, Aminu Tambuwal was among dignitaries who attended the funeral prayer for the deceased on Sunday. Condoling the families, people of Rabah Local government and the state as a whole at the palace of district head of Ghandi, Mr Tambuwal appealed to the security agencies to redouble efforts towards containing the menace.
Tambuwal praised Ghandi community for being their brothers’ keepers and urged them to continue with the good job of providing accomodation to the internally displaced persons. He, therefore, directed the state Zakkat and endowment commission, Isa and Sabon Birni Local governments to come to the aid of the internally displaced persons.Briefing newsmen on the incident in Ghandi town, the state commissioner of police, Ibrahim Kaoje, said four suspects including a woman have been arrested.
The police commissioner however assured that they are on top of the situation.The Governor also attended the funeral ceremony of the deceased.
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Prof. Clement Adebooye, who is the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University and Secretary-General, Governing Board of African-German Network of Science, tells FEMI MAKINDE that the present government lacks the political will to tackle insecurity
Killer herdsmen are on the rampage in many parts of the country and there is Boko Haram in the North-East while banditry is ravaging the North-West. What do you think are the implications of these crises?
Definitely, these problems will lead to food crisis. The attacks on farmers and destruction of their farms as well as attacks on their households are dangerous. If you sack farmers from their production zones and they are not able to produce, then there will be nobody to contribute the little proportion they contribute to food production capacity of the country. As things are now, many farmers in the North are at the mercy of donors. They are living at the Internally Displaced Persons camps. Producers have been reduced to beggars and when producers are reduced to beggars, then shortage is looming. So, it is implied that there will be food crisis soon if things do not change.
How do you think the herdsmen crisis can be tackled since it will have a negative effect on food security?
Nomadic life is not new in this country and cattle rustling is not a new phenomenon within Nigeria. The question is why have these two suddenly become big issues? Why do the herdsmen now need to carry sophisticated weapons around instead of rods they used to goad their animals? We should ask questions from those that are older and learn from history. We grew up to know herdsmen and the kind of crisis we are witnessing now was not there then. Are we saying the number of the cattle has increased so much that herders now have to carry AK-47 to protect their animals? The answer to these questions is no. The issue is that Nigeria is facing a serious and fundamental problem now. This problem is caused by people who have political motives.
What kind of political motives do the herdsmen have?
The political motives are two-pronged. The first is this Boko Haram issue which, in a way, is saying that western education is useless and that people should shun it. It is a political objective and there are some people behind it. The other one may be extreme politics about who governs the nation and who rules where. It appears as if there is a scheme to annihilate the whole of Nigeria and convert it to a particular dynasty that I don’t want to mention. What is happening now is not new to Nigeria. Anybody that has read history will remember that there was a war similar to this before. Between 1840 and 1860, there was a similar war which was launched from the northern Nigeria and the war raged down the South until they were defeated around Osogbo. They were fighting down the South all in the name of Jihad. So, what is going on now can be something like that. The current attacks are not targeted at farmers only; they are killing students, teachers, doctors, chiefs, kings, their subjects and anybody they see. This is not a war against farmers only; it is a war against the generality of Nigerians. Those who launch such wars like the ones we are seeing always have a date that they will launch the major one. They may launch the final war soon. What they are doing now is just to do a trial run and see the level of resistance.
Are you saying they are planning to unleash terror on the nation and overrun it?
They are just ‘test-running’ now to see the level of resistance of the people but unfortunately, there is no resistance anywhere.
But why has it been difficult to arrest those behind this?
The reason is because there is no political will to tackle the problem. We all know that when armed robbers strike in a place and the police want to work, they get those robbers arrested within two weeks. But how many of these herdsmen have been arrested and prosecuted since they have been killing? They have been killing for about four years now; unfortunately, none of them has been caught. This points to the fact they are enjoying a kind of socio-political backing and it is sending a signal that what we are witnessing is a kind of trial run with the hope that in no distant future, they will launch the bigger attack and it will be total.
Is it possible for outsiders to perpetrate these criminal acts without the support of the locals?
It seems to me that the killer herdsmen are not acting and working alone. They have collaborators within the other ethnic groups in Nigeria. For example, I’m still wondering how brave the herdsmen could be to operate around Asejire along Ife-Ibadan Expressway without the support of the locals. This is the worrisome part of the whole saga. It means that the nation has been held hostage. Everybody is just looking for a way to make money at the expense of the masses. That is why some of those at the lowest rung of the ladder are engaged in criminal activities.
Those in the political as well as ruling class have also held the nation hostage by creating disharmony among the people through politics, religion and ethnicity. We have been disorganised to such an extent that all social structures have been destroyed. Pressure groups are no longer there and we are all praying on the mountain in order to solve social problems that could be solved by one day protest. The psyche of our people is damaged by the political class and that is why our youths have lost the necessary societal values and therefore, cannot think correctly.
As an agriculturist, what will you suggest as the solution to the problem of open grazing?
This problem is political and that is why ranching may never solve it. Ranching and cattle colonies as they are proposing are a way of handling the land of some people over to other people. That is the reason it will not solve the problem. It is a tactical way of grabbing land and giving the same to some people. Israel is in the desert and they practise agriculture on a large scale including raising livestock but there is no problem with herdsmen there. About 75 per cent of the land in Australia is desert and Australia has much more cattle than human beings; yet this problem does not exist there. Israel is in the desert and the number of cattle there is much more than the cattle we have here in this country. Despite that the landmass is very small compared to Nigeria’s. Have you heard of herdsmen destroying farms there? They are raising cattle in many countries much more than we have here and they don’t have the kind of crisis that we have.
How are they handling it?
What the government here should do is to create an enabling environment in the areas where people raise cattle. They should set up irrigated pasture in the North. If they establish that, those who carry AK-47 will have no excuse for killing, raping and destroying people’s property all over the country in the name of looking for greener pasture for their animals. Irrigated pasture is a practice in agriculture and it will solve this problem coupled with a strong political will. I am sure you are aware that they grow tomatoes in Kano State, Borno and other states and they grow onions and other things as well. They raise these crops during the dry season with the help of irrigation. Why can’t government use similar irrigation method for pasture instead of coming to seize land from the South-West, South-East and South-South in the name of ranches? Israel produces enormous citrus and many other crops through irrigation. Why is our government running away from doing that?
Are you saying the government should assist pastoralists by setting up irrigated pasture in areas where cattle raising is their major business?
Yes, this should be done in the North where cattle raising is their business. It makes sense. Why are the people of the South-West not asking government to give them land in the North to grow kola nuts, cocoa and palm trees? Why is the government not providing the enabling environment for the people in the South to go and plant these crops in the North? Why is the government not allowing farmers to go to Kano and other states in the core North to raise pigs? Why can’t government set aside 50 hectares of land to raise pigs in Kano or Sokoto State? Government should create the enabling environment in the North for those raising cattle, not seizing the land of some people under the guise of cattle colonies or ranches.
Insurgency can’t thrive except it is supported by government. Look at what happened in Kano State during the Maitasine riot in 1983. It was put at bay by the troops of the nation. The government troops drove those militants outside the country. What is the difference between the war by the killer herders and the Maitasine rioters? It is the will of the government that is lacking to address the problem. This government in Nigeria has no political will to stop the carnage going on around the country. There is no where people are kidnapped in Nigeria and such is not traced to killer Fulani herdsmen. Most kidnappings in the country are done by these herdsmen. Chief Olu Falae was kidnapped by the herdsmen; the Obafemi Awolowo University professor recently abducted was kidnapped by the Fulani people. Some Methodist priests were kidnapped in Osun State as well as in Ekiti State. This shows that the government has tacitly legalised all these criminal activities and that is why they thrive. Those behind this crime are not arrested or prosecuted; and this has emboldened them to do more. You can’t see this happening in any sane society.
Let us put things in perspective. How many armed robbers have been arrested in the last four years? They are many. How many robbers have the police attacked and killed in the last four years? I am sure many of them have been arrested and some killed. So, why have the security agencies not been able to arrest any of the herdsmen killing people all over the country? Why is it very difficult to arrest these people? The situation is becoming worse in the South-West.
Are you also saying the South-West is under the siege of herdsmen as alleged by the Yoruba Council of Elders?
The South-West is under the siege of these people. I said something earlier that these people are engaged in trial run of their weapons and strategies and that the day of final onslaught is coming.
How do you think this can be prevented?
It is the government that has the security forces that can do that. The ordinary people are incapacitated. The people that have the instrument of authority should act now before it is too late. I doubt if anybody in the South-West or the South-East is ready to go to war now. These attackers will just overrun us if they strike because the government is not interested in protecting the people.
What do you think is the motive behind the alleged plan to overrun the people?
Do you know that these people have a veiled mission? We have heard that the ISIS has joined the fight and you can never tell their strategy. It appears like they are trying to convert the whole of West Africa to come under a political dynasty that will have one identity. Some people are trying to convert our region to a political entity known to them. It is a conversion process that is going on. From what we have read, people who do this kind of things, all over the world, first carry out trial runs just like the ones we are witnessing now. And after that, they will strike. They will first test the strength of their opponents and the quality of their resistance after which they will strike. Let me make it clear that this has nothing to do with Islam. I say this because we have Muslims in the South-West but have you heard that they slaughter people of other religions because of Islam? Also, In Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other countries where Islam is the dominant religion, such killings do not happen. Why are those ones killing here? You will know that it is part of their culture.
If the executive is not willing to act to prevent the looming disaster, why are the lawmakers at the National Assembly not putting pressure on the executive?
Cheap money impairs thinking. There are no people that will collect the amount of money they collect and will be able to think about the people. They are only representing themselves and not the people. People who get such huge amount of money with little or no work won’t put the people first. Also, the political parties we have do not have ideologies and that is one of the reasons those elected on their platforms do not consider the people in what they do. Nigeria was programmed by God to succeed but some Nigerians have held the country hostage and there can’t be development until the nation is liberated.
You have won many grants for your universities from Germany and Canada. What will you say is making it difficult for many Nigerian scholars to achieve this feat?
The number one thing before you can win grants from these foreign countries is the quality of your research work. Your work must be of good quality before they will agree to fund it. Also, you must have built good reputation for yourself. Those who have given you money before must be able to vouch for your reputation. You must have previous records of ground-breaking research work. Your reputation as a researcher builds the reputation of your university. Those people won’t give you their money because your university has a big name but if somebody from a small university has done a quality research and such has good reputation, it will be easier for others from the same university to receive grants provided they also have good research work they want to do.
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