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Islamisation/Fulani-sation: ACF Warns Obasanjo Against Appending Ethno-religious Name To Criminality

Former President, Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo
Jude Johnson 

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has cautioned former President Olusegun Obasanjo against giving criminal activities ethnic and religious colouration.This point was made on Sunday by the Secretary General of ACF, Anthony Sani, during a chat with THISDAY in Kaduna, Kaduna Sani  was reacting to assertion by Obasanjo, that herdsmen were  plotting to ”Fulanise and Islamise” the country. Obasanjo had in a paper he presented on Saturday at  the 2nd session of the 7th  Synod of the Anglican Communion, Oleh Diocese, in the Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, was reported to have said the Boko Haram insurgents and herdsmen were plotting to ”Fulanise” and Islamise the country.

It maintained that giving ethnic and religious colouration to crime, will only embolden the criminals to continue with their evil deeds.

Sani said “former President Obasanjo may have his facts, for making such comments, saying that  ”for me, I do not want us to give ethnic and religious coloration to the criminal activities of some people, lest we provide them with platforms upon which to stand and commit crimes, knowing it is almost impossible to prosecute religion and ethnicity“.

According to him, there are moderate Muslims who are the majority and are opposed to religious fanatics, stressing that “such moderate Muslims need to be  enlisted  such in the campaign against Islamic terrorists whose aims are not for piety but political, albeit  attired in the garb of religious jihadists.”

Sani said ”if we offend the sensitivity of such moderate Muslims and push them to the side of the fanatics,we would be playing to the gallery by swallowing the bait put by the fanatics and  that is what they want.

“That explains why President Obama won the Nobel Prize for a speech he made to Arabs in Egypt where he made clear distinction between Islam and terrorism cast in the mould of Islamisation.

“Also, it is that distinction that enabled a coalition of 66 countries of all faiths, led by America that has defeated IS in Syria and Iraq.

”I therefore submit that the nation should have common narrative that emphasizes the trite that Islamic terrorists are not furthering Islamic faith when they desecrate by way of continuous killings of innocent people.

“They merely use Islam as strategy to enable easy recruitment of gullible cannon fodders.

”West African countries should also regard all violent herdsmen who kill innocent people as criminals and treat them as such.No ethnic or religious coloration to purely criminal acts”. (Globalsentinel)

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20 Killed As Fulani Herdsmen Attack Ukpabi Nimbo Community In Enugu |RN

RN file photo: Armed Fulani herdsmen

About 20 persons in Ukpabi Nimbo, an agrarian community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, were feared dead during an attack by Fulani herdsmen on Monday.
It was learnt that scores of armed cattle herdsmen, reportedly numbering more than a hundred, swooped on the sleepy community in the early hours of Monday.
Sources in the community disclosed that continuous gunshots were heard as the rampaging herdsmen moved to sack villagers from their homes.
Apart from guns, bows and arrows and machetes, or swords, were also wielded by the herdsmen, it was learnt.


Many of the villagers escaped to neighbouring communities in the Uzo-Uwani area, but it was gathered that people in the nearby towns are also worried about possible attacks from the herdsmen.
A police source told our correspondent that, as of the time of filing this report, the corpses of five persons who died in the attack had been recovered.


Our correspondent learnt that the corpses, which were deposited at the morgue in Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, were recovered from farmlands.


There were indications that more bodies would be recovered, as our correspondent learnt that the combined team of police and military personnel, who moved into the community to repel the attack, were yet to get to all the affected areas.


Also, sources in the Ukpabi Nimbo community insist more than 20 of their kith and kin were killed before a rescue could come.
However, Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu State Police Command, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, who informed to our correspondent that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nwodibo Ekechukwu, led other officers and men to the area, said the total number of casualties could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.


Amaraizu, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, said the situation in the community had been brought under control.
“We moved in to ensure that the situation did not degenerate beyond control and right now everything is under control.
“The Commissioner of Police is there with other officers and men and the area is being secured.

“We can’t give the total number of casualties yet, it is when the operation is concluded that we will collate figures and give a definite number,” Amaraizu said.
Many members of the Ukpabi Nimbo community, who are mostly farmers, have their homes around their farmlands.
It was gathered that several houses, as well as farms and crops, were also destroyed by the herdsmen.

Our correspondent learnt that the herdsmen had previously fallen out with the villagers over their grazing activities in the community.
Sources in the community disclosed that the villagers had been resisting the use of their farmlands as grazing fields by the herdsmen.
It was equally learnt that the situation further degenerated after some herdsmen who operate in Ukpani Nimbo and other communities in the Uzo-Uwani area claimed that their cows were missing.
There were also claims by the herdsmen that some of their colleagues were killed in the area.


The villagers alleged that most of the herdsmen that were involved in Monday’s attack were ‘imported’ from Nasarawa State by other Fulani herdsmen who were already operating in Enugu.
Our correspondent gathered that, before the herdsmen struck on Monday, there was tension in Ukpabi Nimo and other communities in the Uzo-Uwani area over a widespread rumour that about 500 herdsmen were mobilising to attack them.


It was learnt that the villagers, in anticipation of an imminent attack by herdsmen, had alerted the Enugu State Government, and the leadership of the Enugu State Police Command.


According to sources, the Chairman, Transition Committee, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, Cornell Onwubuya, who was said to have informed the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the police commissioner, Nwodibo Ekechukwu, of the fears nursed by villagers, also met the leadership of the Hausa-Fulani community in the area over the matter.


Interestingly, the rumoured planned attack by 500 herdsmen was the subject of an emergency stakeholders meeting in the Uzo-Uwani area council during the weekend, hours before the herdsmen struck.
The meeting, reportedly, also deliberated on incessant herdsmen-related problems in the area, including several cases of murder, kidnappings and rape recorded in the recent past.


At the meeting, Onwubuya, chairman of the Uzo-Uwani local council, reportedly disclosed that some leaders of the Hausa-Fulani community had confirmed the rumoured plan by the herdsmen to launch an attack in the area.

Also at the said emergency stakeholders meeting, leaders of the Hausa-Fulani community in Enugu reportedly assured that they would take urgent steps to avert the planned attack.


However, the attack still went ahead, as planned, despite the prior notice given to the authorities, and the assurances given at the stakeholders meeting. (Punch)

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Buhari Will Be Defeated, Shiites Vow With Anger |The Republican News

Wale Odunsi, Daily Post

 

 

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (Shiites) on Monday declared that President Muhammadu Buhari was on his way out of office.

“Buhari can feel the inevitable defeat coming his way, so the desperate attempt by the administration to cause chaos so that the elections will not hold, at the same time becloud its brutal and inhuman Saudi-sponsored Zaria genocide that resulted in the brutal death of 1000+ innocent children, women and men in Zaria in December 2015”, IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, said in a statement sent to DAILY POST on Monday.

IMN also alerted that it had obtained a secret circular written by the Department of State Service (DSS) which was dispatched to all Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police and heads of other security agencies.

It said the DSS, in the memo, urged them to take aggressive stance against the Islamic sect.

The letter reads in part: “Intelligence availed to this service revealed plans by the leadership of IMN to mobilise its membership in large numbers for a massive protest and other hostile activities, including the use of explosives and firearms in the days ahead. It was gathered that the group intends to besiege some major Northern cities and towns in Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the planned attack.

“The planned attack is to be carried out in league with members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), some opposition elements and a section of human rights movement, with a view to providing massive violence and attracting the attention of the International Community ahead of the 2019 general election.”

Reacting, IMN, assured Nigerians and the international community that the allegation was malicious and unfounded, aimed at maligning the Movement with a view to painting it in bad light.

“There is no iota of truth in their claim, and it is just mere fabrication to justify the killing of members of the Movement ahead of February 16, Presidential election.

“We have said it several times that our protests are peaceful and have demonstrated that on the streets. All protest staged by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria are peaceful including the Free Zakzaky protest in Kaduna, Kano and the Federal capital city, Abuja.

“It is the Nigerian Army and Police that turn some of these peaceful protests violent by their attacks with live ammunition and in some cases battlefield weapons on peaceful protesters. The comprehensive revelation by the New York Times video on the Abuja Shia Massacre by the Elite presidential guard is a pointer to this fact.

“Not only that, it is on record that during the 2011 election violence, Sheikh Zakzaky and other members of the Islamic Movement did all they could to stop the violence and even gave refuge to victims of the senseless killings, as a demonstration of its peaceful nature and its belief in mutual understanding between people of different tribes, regions and religions.

“For a secret security service to now accuse us of planning violence is the height of the rot in its intelligence gathering and manufacturing systems.

“In view of the foregoing, we categorically reject the unprofessional, unintelligent and baseless allegations made by the DSS and confirm that we do not know the existence of or have any link what so ever with any group called Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and we have no plan to besiege or attack any town, place or person.”            (Daily Post)

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Tinubu Slams Afenifere’s Odumakin Over Grazing Reserve Statement |RN

                                                 Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

Oladimeji Ramon

 

The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, came after Afenifere’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, for criticising his (Tinubu’s) suggestion that the Federal Government should take over unoccupied and isolated land in the country and convert them to grazing reserves as a solution to the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

Tinubu had on Monday made the suggestion during a seminar organised by The Nation newspaper and TVC in Abuja.

But reacting to the suggestion on Tuesday, Afenifere, in a statement by Odumakin, warned Tinubu against playing politics with the lives of Nigerians, saying his suggestion was backward for modern-day Nigeria.

Odumakin said Tinubu’s suggestion was tantamount to an endorsement of the alleged call by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association that the entire country should be converted into a cattle colony.

However, responding to Odumakin’s criticism on Wednesday, Tinubu, in a statement by his media aide, Tunde Rahman, said the only deserving response to the Afenifere spokesman was that “he needs a cure for his seeming selective comprehension.”

According to Rahman, Odumakin did not read Tinubu’s full speech before attacking the APC chieftain.

He said, “Asiwaju Tinubu did not mention South-West in particular and what he said had a context to it: ‘Unoccupied, isolated land can quickly be turned into grazing areas in the affected states’.

“It is not only some states in the South-West that are affected but several states across the country. Why Odumakin suddenly gets hot under the collar may not be far-fetched.

“The usual frenzy and self-righteous mentality he portrays is on full display. Perhaps next time, he should read through the whole submission and caution himself from self-righteousness and displaying in full glare anarchical emotions.

“And if Odumakin’s delusion still allows him to read, perhaps a read through of the full chunk of what was said by Tinubu at the summit will educate him better.”  (Punch)

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Scores Killed In Fresh Boko Haram Attack On Army Location |The Republican News

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

Boko Haram terrorists, in what appears to be an unending onslaught on locations of the Nigerian Army, on Wednesday evening attacked the troops’ base in Damasak, Borno State, resulting in a heavy gunfire which lasted for several hours.

The army has confirmed the attack, saying troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak, withstood the insurgents and killed scores of them in the firefight.

The army was, however, silent on the number of casualties sustained on the side of the troops.

Damasak is a town in the Mobbar Local Government Area, some 146 Kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.

It will be recalled that the Boko Haram insurgents only last week attacked troops’ location in Gudumbali in the Guzamala LGA and Baga in the Kukawa LGA, resulting in an undisclosed number of casualties on both sides.

The army’s Director of Public Relations and Information, Brig. Gen. Texas Chukwu, on Thursday confirmed that “many Boko Haram terrorists” were killed in the attack on troops’ location in Damasak.

He said, “Troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak engaged the Boko Haram terrorists who came to attack their location at about 6pm on Wednesday. This resulted into a fierce battle.

“The troops engaged and subdued the terrorists in Damasak following a superior firepower. The troops’ aggressive posture, tactics and marksmanship resulted in the neutralising of many Boko Haram terrorists.

“Consequently, the army wishes to state that the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East part of the country is yielding a positive result.

“We, therefore, advise members of the public, particularly residents of the affected areas, to go about their legitimate businesses as the army will continue to protect lives and property of citizens at all times.”   (Punch)

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It’s Unfair To Say I Have Done Nothing Over The Killings By Herdsmen – Buhari

Muhammadu-Buhari5
  • President not doing enough to end killings – Reps
  • IG removes Plateau CP
  • FG has failed, says CDHR

John Ameh, Olusola Fabiyi, Olalekan Adetayo, Friday Olokor, Adelani Adepegba, Alex Okere, Godwin Isenyo and Gibson Achonu

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday faulted those who accused him of being silent on killings being carried out by suspected herdsmen in parts of the country.

He said there was injustice in such aspersions.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke during an interactive session with stakeholders in Jos, Plateau State, over the recent attacks that left scores of people dead.

Buhari said people were blaming him for not talking to the herdsmen probably because he looked like them.

He appealed to Nigerians to avoid inflammatory utterances that could endanger peace or promote conflicts.

The President said, “Whatever is being given to the media, we have to be very responsible about it.

‘‘Take for instance the situation in Benue. The Benue subsistence farmer knows that the Nigerian cattle herder that he knows doesn’t carry nothing more than a stick, occasionally sometimes something to cut grass to feed his cattle.

‘‘But the present herder, I am told, carries AK47 and people are even blaming me for not talking to them because maybe (they say) I look like one of them.

‘‘There is some injustice in these aspersions.”

Buhari directed security chiefs in the country to remain vigilant and ensure the protection of lives and property.

He also urged traditional and community leaders to complement government efforts by persuading their constituencies to tolerate one another for peace and unity in the country.

The President added, “I will continue to pressurise members of the law enforcement agencies directly under me by the constitution as the Commander-in-Chief.

“About eight days ago, we had five hours security meeting of the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police.

‘‘What happened here in Jos is very bad. The question of leadership, from your household to whatever you are, is justice. The bottom line is justice.

‘‘That is why wherever I go, I will always appeal to the leadership of the communities and the law enforcement agencies, to always have control over their constituencies.”

Buhari, who was accompanied to the meeting by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and his counterparts from Kebbi and Niger, condoled with the affected families, the government and people of the state, and wished those injured a speedy recovery.

Others in his entourage were the ministers of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau; and Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed.

Also with Buhari was the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

The major stakeholders in attendance were senior government officials, National and State House of Assembly members, traditional rulers, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Ja’amatu Nasril Islam in Plateau State.

The President’s visit came less than 24 hours after a similar visit by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) who met with the stakeholders.

Earlier in his remarks, Lalong blamed parties in the conflict in the state for reneging on their agreement to maintain peace, leading to the recent upsurge in violence, after nearly three years of calm and normalcy in the state.

“We are concerned as a state that the sophisticated weapons used in these attacks, from the evidence on the ground and the narrations of victims, are not those conventional to our environment for self-defence but reflective of a terrorist invasion.

‘‘It, therefore, demands a justified response like that which was undertaken to address the Boko Haram insurgency,” he said.

The governor also requested that given the number of villages completely ravaged by the violence, the Federal Government should establish an Emergency Special Intervention Fund to help reconstruct the destroyed communities.

Killings, senseless, barbaric, says NLC

Meanwhile, the killings attracted more condemnations on Tuesday with the Nigeria Labour Congress saying that the government must design a framework for peace to end the bloodshed.

The Congress said it was disturbed by the range of targets, the duration of the attacks and the scope of casualties and destruction.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said in a statement in Abuja that the statistics were numbing, describing the incident as senseless and barbaric.

He added that it threatened to shatter once and for all the bonds of brotherhood and peaceful co-existence.

According to him, the security agencies, though stretched, must be seen to do more to restore the confidence of the civil populace.

“If the emerging allegations are true that the attacks went on unchecked for hours, then something needs to be done about the reaction time of our internal security operations in the state.

“Beyond this, the Federal Government and Plateau State Government in consultation with the parties to this bloody conflict should design a framework for an enduring peace,” Wabba insisted.

He called on the governments to quickly move to rebuild the devastated communities and restore shattered lives while admonishing the victims against reprisals, stressing that it could not bring the much-needed peace in the state.

Speaking in the same vein, the Nigerian Baptist Convention, FCT chapter, and the Christian Association of Nigeria, North-Central geopolitical zone, condemned in strong terms, the killings.

FG has failed, says CDHR

The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights said the killing was a sign that the Federal Government had failed.

The CDHR in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Henry Ekine, decried the state of insecurity in the country.

According to him, the right to life is guaranteed under Section 33 of Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, an amendment, as well as under the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Article 4); the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (6) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Articles 3).

The CDHR said, “The state has the primary responsibility to ensure the security and welfare of the people, as provided under section 14 (2) (b) of Chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as an amendment.

“Such mass killing was apparently akin to genocide and indicative of a failing state. The government has indeed failed in its core responsibility to protect lives and property of citizens at all times and in all parts of the country.”

Atiku condemns killings

Also a former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and a former Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, condemned the killings.

The two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party made the condemnation in separate interviews with journalists after their interaction with the Forum of  PDP Former State House of Assemblies Presiding Officials in Abuja on Tuesday.

Atiku, a PDP presidential aspirant, who described the killings as unfortunate, stressed the need to adopt measures including community dialogue to address the lingering crisis.

He said, “I just listened to a former deputy speaker, a lady for that matter, and she made two points; hard and soft powers in resolving the crisis. I like that idea.

“It is not every security breach you can you use hard power on. You need to establish the dialogue between the leadership of various communities that lived together over the years.”

On his part, Turaki, another PDP presidential aspirant condemned the killings saying every single life that was lost had the potential to do a lot for Nigeria.

He attributed the killings to the failure of the APC-led Federal Government and failure among various security agencies.

“If you recall, a few months ago the National Security Agency had appeared before the Senate and disclosed that the greatest problem that the Nigeria security agencies have today is that the agencies work at cross-purposes. There is no cooperation, there is no synergy.

“If critical security agencies are not sharing information or working together then how do you expect them to come up with tight security architecture that will safeguard the lives and property of Nigeria? And that is what is happening.’’

He commiserated with the people and government of Plateau over the loss of lives.

Buhari not doing enough to end killings – Reps

Also, the House of Representatives said President Buhari must take immediate steps to halt the killings by herdsmen in the country.

It noted that the country could not afford to continue to lose its citizens as if human lives no longer matter.

The Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, told The PUNCH in Abuja that to contain the killings, the President and the government should think harder about the appropriate measures to bringing a lasting solution.

Gbajabiamila added, “The President and the government will continue to do all they can to arrest these killings and surely more needs to be done.

“It is absolutely difficult to understand why human life should be so cheap.

“Christians are being killed; Muslims are being killed. What is important is that they are human beings and the killings must stop.

“This is a strange phenomenon in Nigeria. Perhaps, it requires the government to think outside the box and do something extraordinary.

“It requires an urgent and surgical fix.”

PFN tells Buhari to stop killings, warns against reprisal

On its part, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria commiserated with the families of the bereaved and urged Nigerians to refrain from reprisals to enable the government to perform its constitutional responsibilities.

The National President of the PFN, Rev. Felix Omobude, in a statement on Tuesday, lamented that the lives of Nigerians had been cheapened by mindless criminals who swooped on unsuspecting residents and killed them without restrictions.

He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to live up to his responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives and property, adding that “any government that cannot protect its people does not deserve to remain in office.”

The cleric stated, “President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately bring the mindless killings going on in the country to a halt because Nigerian lives, whether Christians or Moslems, are very important.  The perpetrators of these dastardly acts must be fished out and punished appropriately.”

Omobude added, “Never in the history of Nigeria have the lives of Nigerians been so cheap. Today, people in any guise can kill with impunity and get away with it.

“Hundreds of people are being slaughtered at regular intervals and the criminal elements seem not to be brought to justice. There is the need for our government and security forces to be proactive instead of reactionary.

The President had after a closed-door meeting with government officials, security agencies and traditional leaders in Plateau State said he was committed to the protection of lives and property and would not run away from the responsibilities for which he was elected in 2015.

The President appealed to the people to bury their differences and work together for the peace of the state.

IG removes Plateau CP

However, Idris has removed the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Undie Adie.

The removal of Adie followed the killing of more than 100 people by herdsmen in three local government areas of the state on Sunday.

The spokesperson for the Plateau State Police Command, Matthias Tyopev, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, in a statement on Tuesday, stated that a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, had replaced Adie.

Tyopev stated, “Today, 26th June 2018, a new commissioner of police, Bala Ciroma, has assumed duty as the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State command.”

He also said the IGP had directed Adie to report to the force headquarters in Abuja.

The new commissioner, who is from Yobe State, was previously a deputy commissioner of police, criminal investigation and intelligence department, at the force headquarters in Abuja.

Osinbajo confirms arrests of suspects

Also on Tuesday, Osinbajo confirmed that some persons had been arrested in connection with the killings.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande,  the Vice-President disclosed this during a meeting he had in the state on Monday with the leaders and representatives of communities related to the conflicts.

Osinbajo did not, however, disclose the number of the suspects arrested.

APC govs to visit Plateau on Friday

The Imo State Governor and Chairman, Progressives Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha, has indicated that the APC governors will visit Plateau State on Friday.

The governor disclosed this on Tuesday at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport on arrival from Abuja after the national convention of the party.

According to him, while on the visit, the governors will assess the situation and interact with the governor of the state.

He said, “I, with the rest of the governors of APC, condemn in its entirety these unwarranted killings of innocent souls, and shedding of blood. We have called them insurgents. We’ve called them Boko Haram, we have called them all kinds of baptismal names and because the situation is not properly defined, most people hide under the cloak of the religion of Christianity or Islam to create harm.” (Punch)

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Mass Killings: APC Angry Over Calls To Suspend Anti-grazing Law |RN

Benue-mass-burial-600x367

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has reacted to the recent call by Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan-Ali for suspension of the anti-grazing law in the state.

Hon Agbo Samuel Terkula, Publicity Secretary APC, Benue State, in a statement issued on Thursday said the call by Dan-Ali was an indication that there was an ethnic cleansing agenda against the people of Benue.

He called on the minister to withdraw his statement.

His statement reads:

These are not the best of times for our dear Benue State especially as a result of sustained efforts by herdsmen to decimate the people of the Benue valley and take over the land as evident in press conferences addressed firstly by the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and later by the forum of cattle breeders in Nigeria.

While our eyes are yet to dry from tears that keep flowing from them as a result of the mass killing of our rural populations, we are again confronted with anti-democratic, tyrannical and anti-people by Nigeria’s Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali as it borders laws regulating animal husbandry in the affected states in Nigeria.

Need by the Minister be reminded, since his utterances indicate that he is ignorant of trends in the state, it was the search for what will end skirmishes that began existing between crop farmers and animal rearers that the people of Benue State demanded a law that would regulate animal husbandry. The product of this agitation is the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law (of Benue State of Nigeria) 2017. The law among other things provides for the protection of the interest of these two categories of farmers because of stiff penalties for cattle rustling and open grazing.

It is also pertinent to draw the attention of the Defence Minister to the fact that public hearings for the purpose of collecting opinions in order to come out with a people-oriented legislation were conducted in the three senatorial districts that comprised Benue State namely: Benue North East, Benue North West and Benue South before ending up at a Town Hall meeting in Makurdi, the State capital. The bill was then passed into law and enjoyed the assent of the Governor His Excellency Samuel Ortom.

While the process for enactment of the law was in progress, herdsmen preferred to stand aloof only to start issuing threats after the passage of the bill into law and even indicated time to which they will strike. This they did as on 1stJanuary, 2018, while the people were still in the euphoria of the New Year Day, the herdsmen struck, leaving no fewer than 73 dead bodies in their trail. Since then, the killings have continued unabated.

We restrained ourselves from joining issues with the Defense Minister when he seemed to justify the New Year Day killings by alleging that they were as a result of the “grazing law” in Benue State and called for the opening of grazing reserves and cattle routes. Today, he is in the news again, this time with dictatorial. that a law that has been passed by a State House of Assembly be suspended.

He is said to have urged the President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the law and we ask: How? The law is not a decree; it is an act of parliament. A decree can be abolished; a law can only be repealed. Mansur Dan-Ali: Go to court! That is how it is done in a democracy or better still, go through the legislature that enacted the law for repeal; this is our candid advice.

But then, we ask, why is the Minister head bent on reactivation of cattle routes and grazing reserves with a skewed reasoning that had been the practice even before independence when the matter has been put to rest by the National Economic Council and the Northern Governors’ Forum? Is it not true that many policies of the Nigerian government have been changed with the passage of time? At Independence, we were practising the parliamentary system of government. Is it not true that it has been changed to the presidential system? Only recently, Nigeria’s system of education has been changed from 6-3-3-4 to 9-3-4, the fourth time since independence. Why is it being so difficult to adopt the global best practice of ranching? In any case, ranching is not being imposed on states as states that are comfortable with open grazing are free to continue with the outdated practice of animal husbandry.

Let it be known that as a political party that is trusted with the destiny of the people of the state, we stand with and by them in shine and in rain; we are absolutely behind our Governor His Excellency Dr Samuel Ortom in his unwavering stance in giving the people he governs what they want. The people want a law prohibiting open grazing that is what they got because the State Assembly stood on the side of the people and that is where we belong.

Our Governor, we beseeched you to remain steadfast; remain courageous as you have been. Benue is behind you. APC Benue is behind you. And God, in whom you believe will not forsake you. This too we shall overcome.

Lest we forget, what does Abuja wants of Benue State? Initially, when a delegation from the state visited Mr president after the burial of the 73 victims of the New Year day attack, the president told them to come back and learn to live with their neighbours. It was not long when the same president was in London accusing Libyans of the crimes in Benue State.

Now we ask, by advising the president to suspend the law, is the Defence Minister implying we do that for the good of the Libyans? They are not Nigerians, therefore, how can we suspend a law that is meant for the safety of Nigerians because it affects nationals of other countries? We beg to differ with Mr Defence Minister who is supposed to be at the forefront of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria but has descended so low to take sides with herdsmen who have vowed to resist the prohibition of open grazing law because a Mansur Dan-Ali is a defence minister.

Let it be known that we are in total agreement with the Senate’s directive that Mr Mansur Dan-Ali retracts his statement with respect to Anti-Open Grazing Law. It is unthinkable that a cabinet member in a democracy would make such utterances. We also in total agreement with the Benue State House of Assembly following their vote of no confidence on the Minister of Defence and their call for his immediate sack.

He has been insincere, blatantly trying to rewrite the history of killings by herdsmen in Benue State and elsewhere in Nigeria. Plateau, Kaduna and Zamfara have witnessed atrocities from herdsmen that predates the current dispensation, likewise Benue State. Is there a prohibition of open grazing law in operation in these states?

We are constrained to conclude that utterances of the Defence Minister have emboldened the killer herdsmen to continue their quest to decimate communities, without limit to areas where their archaic practice of open grazing is prohibited. Hence, “grazing law” cannot be the reason for the continued onslaught as erroneously reasoned by Dan-Ali in his desperate bid to protect his cattle business. Less than 24 hours when he came public again, the herdsmen saw reason to continue with their dastard acts, killing no fewer than 10 persons in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State.

We urge the President and the National Security Council to disregard the advice of Mansur Dan-Ali by adhering to the Rule of Law and give marching orders to security agencies to curtail the killings of Nigerians and enforcement of laws of the country be they local government, state or federal laws. Otherwise, undermining the laws of Benue State implies undermining the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Conclusively, there is no going back because Prohibition of Open Grazing Law has come to stay in Benue State whether or not a Mansur Dan-Ali likes it.

Once again, we reiterate sincerely that we remain behind His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom in his bid meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the state.  (Antisocialnews)

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