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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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Nasarawa: Fulani Herdsmen Brutally Murder 3 SARS Officers, 8 Farmers |RN

Police-officer-brutally-murdered-by-Fualni-herdsmen

Linus Oota, Lafia

No fewer than three police officers of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) and eight farmers were reportedly killed in the Mararaba Udege, Aisa and Aguma communities of Agatu chiefdom, Nasarawa by suspected Fulani herders.

In addition to the killings, houses and food supplies were reportedly burned, with entire communities deserted.

The investigation by Daily Sun revealed that the murdered security operatives, who were on a mission to control the escalating conflict between Agatu and Fulani herders, were ambushed by the Fulani herders.

Police Public Relation Officer ASP Ismaila Usman of the Nasarawa State Command, who confirmed the incident to Daily Sun in Lafia, said: “There was a conflict between the Agatus and Fulani herdsmen, where an Agatu man shot a Fulani man on foot and went away with his motorcycle.”

According to him: “The Fulanis also went on reprisal attack. The attention of the police was drawn and the police quickly swung into action to ensure normalcy returned to the area. But, unfortunately, three of our men were ambushed and killed.”

The police spokesman said that the Command has deployed a team of officers headed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police to the area to maintain law and order.

The corpse of the deceased officers have been recovered and deposited in the morgue, he added.

Also speaking to Daily Sun, the paramount ruler of Agatu chiefdom, Alhaji Ahmed Kwanaki, said that about eight of his people were killed by the same Fulani herdsmen.

He gave the names of those killed as: Sale Ozala, Oyigoso Sale, Danladi Joko, Abdulahi Musa, Adamu Haruna, Musa Adamu, Yakubu Sale, and Shehu Sabo (a Bassa man).

The traditional chief, who was visibly angry, said the killings in his chiefdom continues unabated, and appealed to the state and federal governments to, as a matter of urgency, deploy the military to the area.

He confirmed that the security operatives earlier detailed to the troubled area were overpowered by the Fulani herdsmen, preventing them from accessing the interior where killings are rife.

State chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria Hussain Mohammed said that the Agatu people first killed some Fulani people before the Fulani retaliated.

He, however, condemned the killings of the three police officers, promising to help in identifying the perpetrators of the murders.    (The Sun)

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Herdsmen Murderous Activities Serious Threat To Nigeria’s Unity – PPN Chair |RN

Fulani-Herdsmen-Attack-Benue

By Ojieva Ehiosun 

Chairperson of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Edo State chapter, Pastor Tracy Ebun Agol, has warned Nigerians not to fall to the antics of the cabal, who are calling the shots in the country, using the Fulani herdsmen to cause trouble in the country.

Agol, who stressed that God would soon convert their craftiness into foolishness, said: “Presently, there is mopping up of firearms and also seizure of arms license across the country, this is sort of buttressing the fear that the government wants to disarm the generality of Nigerians so that when you’re attacked you cannot defend yourself. “We say no to this and we know that God will arise on behalf of Nigerians and frustrate all the plots of these people who call themselves cabal.

They’re so crafty but God will convert their craftiness to foolishness.”Agol, who was the governorship candidate of the party in 2016 governorship, said the menace of Fulani herdsmen should not be handled with kids’ gloves.

She added: “The issue of herdsmen should be taken seriously. The herdsmen we are talking about are not Nigerians. They are from neighbouring countries. “Some of them got into the country through jihad while others came into the country when a governor of one of the northern states employed their services for election purposes. Somehow, they became disgruntled and they started unleashing mayhem which spread to other parts of the country.

“Also, we should know that President Muhammadu Buhari is a life patron of the Fulani herdsmen and that’s why the issue of grazing has come up in Nigeria. They’re proposing a grazing bill and cattle colonies.  (New Telegraph)

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13 Killed In Fresh Clashes In Zamfara Community

Fulaniherdsman

AFP

About 13 people were reportedly killed in prolonged clashes between cattle thieves and local civilian militia in Zamfara State, police said on Thursday.

The militia and cattle thieves fought a gun battle, on Tuesday through Wednesday, in the remote village of Fankashi in the Maru district of the state, police spokesman Mohammed Shehu told AFP.

“Our men recovered 13 dead bodies from the criminal gang and the vigilantes from the village after the fight,” he added.

The village was attacked by the bandits, resulting in the fight with the militia, who were armed with locally made, single-shot muskets.

Police reinforcements were later sent to the area, said Shehu.

Rural communities in Zamfara have been under siege for several years from cattle rustlers and kidnapping gangs, who have raided herding communities, killing, looting and burning homes.

Villages formed self-defence forces in response but they, too, are often accused of killing suspected cattle thieves, prompting reprisal attacks.

It was not clear if the latest incident was a reprisal or a raid to steal cattle.

Last month, 27 people were killed in raids by armed bandits on Kabaro and Danmami villages in the Maru district.

The Nigerian Air Force sent special forces to Zamfara last month to help drive out the marauding gangs.

The state governor ordered troops to shoot on sight anyone seen with a gun in the area.

On Wednesday, national police chief Ibrahim Idris ordered the deployment of 200 combat policemen to Zamfara and neighbouring Kaduna state, which is suffering similar problems.

Idris was reported to have given the order during a visit to Birnin Gwari district in Kaduna state, where armed bandits killed 10 gold miners last weekend.     (AFP)

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