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MUST READ: RUGA Saga: Give Us Sambisa Forest – Bodejo, Miyetti Allah Leader |The Republican News

National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, AlhajiAbdullabi Bodejo

• Nigerians not fair to Fulani

National President of Miyetti Allah Kautel Hore socio-cultural organization, Alhaji Abdullahi Bodejo has said that the Fulani herders can relocate to Sambisa forest if the facilities for carrying out their cattle business are provided. In this interview with WILLY EYA, he lamented the ugly experience the Fulani are going through in the country among other issues.

Following the massive protest against the Ruga settlement, the Federal Government has suspended the policy. As the National President of the Miyetti Allah Kautel Hore, how did that decision come to you?

Nobody requested for Ruga settlement in the first place. The Fulani already have their Ruga. What is the meaning of Ruga? Is it not a place where you have the Fulani houses? So, we already have Ruga but I do not know why all the confusion about all the issues concerning the Fulani in this country. This is because we have grazing reserve areas and people are not talking about it. They initially talked about the cattle colony and from there, they now started talking about Ruga. They said they wanted to settle the Fulani in one place but did anybody tell them what they wanted to do? Nobody had any meeting with them on the issue of Ruga but I noticed that there are now desperate people who claim to be Fulani leaders by all means. You can imagine, for instance, a Fulani man who has about 300 cows and nobody told him that they want to settle him in one place and suddenly, you started hearing about Ruga on the TV, radio and social media. See how innocent Fulani people are being chased away in the South East, South South and other places as if they are not Nigerians. What caused these things is the issue of Ruga but the Fulani being chased away do not even know about the Ruga policy. Even we the Fulani leaders did not know about the Ruga policy. We did not know any plan for that by the Federal Government or the Ministry of Agriculture. I have cows for instance and they are staying in Ruga but we have a problem with the cattle routes. If they are serious, let them come and discuss with the real Fulani leaders and not those who claim to be Fulani leaders and they go behind to collect bribe and speak for our people. How do you think you can settle the Fulani in one place? How many factories from the cow value chain do we have in this country now? If you say you want to put the Fulani in one Ruga settlement, how can you put for instance about 10,000 cows in one place? Do you want to kill the cows?

Don’t you think that why many Nigerians kicked against the Ruga settlement was because of your history? The fear in many quarters is that when they give you such settlements, your population begins to grow and after sometime, you not only claim ownership of such areas but appropriate more space to accommodate your growing population. The nearly intractable crisis between the Berom and the Fulani in Plateau State is usually a reference point to buttress this expansionist tendency–

Fulani people do not procreate more than the Tiv people. Some Tiv men marry more than 10 women. Who is talking that rubbish that Fulani grow in population and want to take over the land of other people? What about the Tiv people who give birth every second? Nobody is talking about them. Let me tell you, any place where you find the Fulani, they always progress because they are very intelligent. Do you want to stop my wife from getting pregnant so that the Fulani population will not grow again? Are you talking about the population of the cows or the Fulani? If you are talking about population of the Fulani, if they are not staying in the South South, South East, South West, Benue or Taraba, they can still give birth to children anywhere they are. Nobody can stop that one and nobody can drive them from Nigeria because they are indigenes. Forget what is happening to them now where they are chasing them away from here and there as if they are not Nigerians. Why they are doing all these things to us is because President Muhammadu Buhari is a Fulani man. They have turned every issue concerning the Fulani to politics in this country. Now, people who are thinking about the politics of 2023, they are using the Fulani issue to confuse the country. That is what they are using the issue of Ruga to do. In the case of Jos that you mentioned, nobody gave them any land there. They do not have any business with land but they settle there from time to do their cattle business. Do you know the meaning of Jos? It is how the Fulani used to call their cows that they got the name of Jos from and people are saying the Fulani want to take other people’s land. Like the issue of Ruga, if you do not create awareness about it, how can the Fulani benefit from it? If you take a Fulani man and keep him in NICON NOGA hotel, the following day, he would leave and run inside the bush to stay there. Nothing concerns the Fulani man with the hotel facilities. This is because it is not his culture.

But things cannot continue that way. All over the world, Nigeria is probably the only country now where you see cows still roaming about. Don’t you think it is time we embraced modern ways of the cattle business?

The problem in Nigeria is that both the federal and state governments are not serious about the issue of the Fulani. In the countries where you think the cows are not roaming about, they accepted the Fulani as their people. The threat that the Fulani are facing in this country today is because nobody wants to accept that they are Nigerians. Nobody wants to accept that the Fulani have rights in this country. Everybody is just trying to deny the Fulani their rights. For instance, the Benue, Taraba and other state governors are just working against the Fulani in their land. They behave as if they own the land but they do not own it; who gave it to them? Land belongs to God and everyone in Nigeria whether you are Tiv, Igbo, Ijaw and so on. If you are from Bayelsa for instance, do your business and allow the Fulani man to do his own. That is how God wants it to be. But see what is happening now in the country. The Fulani are facing so much threat in Nigeria.

Your argument is surprising, because many people see the Fulani as the major cause of the conflicts that we have in the country; in most of the clashes with farmers, they see them as the aggressors. So, you do not agree with that?

All these places that you mentioned now, the cows there belong mostly to politicians of those states. The politicians know about the value of cows very well. Most of the politicians want to collect the business of cows from the Fulani people. That is why they are creating all these problems. My position is that in anywhere there is conflict, anybody who breaks the law must be brought to book to face the consequences. For me, I have not seen any single man that the Fulani has killed. If you know any place where the Fulani killed somebody in the process of clashes with farmers, tell me. Mention the place and tomorrow, I will set up a committee to investigate it.

Some are toying with the possibility of settling the Fulani herders in Sambisa forest, which is a wide expanse of land that can accommodate any population. Don’t you think that with the proper facilities, such a place could permanently end the farmers/herders clashes?

Whether Sambisa or anywhere, the Fulani can stay. The Fulani people do not fear Sambisa or any forest. The Fulani are ready to stay anywhere there is bush but number one is that there must be water which their cows can drink and there must be grasses for their cows to eat. If Sambisa has all those facilities, you do not need to introduce it to the Fulani; they would go there and herd their cows. If you see any place where the Fulani do not go to, it is because such a place does not have water and grasses for the grazing of their cows. All the places like Enugu, Benue and Taraba, if Fulani don’t go there to fertilize their land, nobody will go there to farm. The Fulani have settled in many places including the Federal Capital Territory before the farmers came there. So, if the Federal Government could introduce the Fulani to the Sambisa forest, we are ready to go there. I will be the number one person who will go there.

Many people think that President Buhari is pampering the Fulani and that he is always coming out with some exclusive policies to favour his people; do you agree?

God will punish the father of any person who says Buhari is pampering any Fulani man. Let me tell you, in Nigeria, with what is happening to the Fulani, including when they are being killed, have you ever heard Buhari say anything? We love Buhari but even we the Fulani leaders, sometime we wonder the kind of president that God has given us. Even with what is happening to us, people do not want to leave President Buhari alone because he is Fulani. Do people want President Buhari to just delete us from the country so that they can be happy? Those who say Buhari is pampering the Fulani, no matter what the president does for them, they will still complain and be talking rubbish against him. That is why the Fulani is in a terrible situation in this country today. Buhari is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not for the Fulani. Look at the issue of Ruga, go and make your investigation very well, was it Buhari who gave the directive for the policy? It was done under the Ministry of Agriculture. Is the immediate past Minister of Agriculture a Fulani man? Like the issue of the cattle colony which was also shut down, did the Ministry of Agriculture consult Buhari before they started talking about the cattle colony? Ask yourself, why did the cattle colony fail?

Your sister organization, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) recently proposed the establishment of vigilance groups in the 36 states of the country; what is your view on that?

I do not support the move by MACBAN to establish vigilance groups. I do not know the crazy person that started talking about the establishment of vigilance groups in the South East. It is for what? It was the South East chairman of Miyetti Allah that started it. That man is not a Fulani man. He is among those sabotaging the interest of the Fulani in this country. God will punish him for that. Did he consult with the Fulani before talking about the establishment of vigilance groups in the country? Did he say that because he collected money or money for recharge cards? Is that why he can talk about the Fulani? He said they are cattle breeders but they can be breeding rats and all that there. He is not a real Fulani man. Let me tell you, some people are just trying to create confusion in this country. Most of the Fulani do not know anything happening including the recent issue of the Ruga settlement. You say you want to build houses for me and put me in the Ruga settlement and I am in the bush, are you going to arrest me from the bush and put me there? Nobody called the Fulani for any meeting to talk about the Ruga settlement. It is a big problem for the Fulani and we are really in trouble. I am calling on Mr President and the Inspector General of Police to protect the lives of the Fulani in this country. The Fulani are going through a lot of problems wherever they find themselves in this country. Mr President should suspend the Ruga settlement policy because we do not need it. (The Sun)

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Boko Haram Is Back To Sambisa Forest, Bombed 108 Times, Says Air Force

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File: Gallant troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE dismantling the official Boko Haram flag at Parisu, Camp Zairo, Sambisa Forest, Borno State after capturing Boko Haram’s headquarters on Monday. Photo: DHQ

Olalekan Adetayo and Olaleye Aluko

The Nigerian Air Force said on Thursday that the Boko Haram terrorists were back to the Sambisa Forest area of Borno State, but said its fighter jets and attack helicopters had bombed the terrorists’ hideouts 108 times between April and July 2017.

The Air Component Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, the military operation in the North-East, Air Commodore Tajudeen Yusuf, disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Yola, Adamawa State.

Yusuf said some of the challenges with the air operations were thunderstorms and rainfalls, which impacted negatively on some air operations during the period.

He noted that there were days that flights had to be delayed or cancelled on account of poor weather.

He stated, “Intelligence surveillance and Reconnaissance reports through the second quarter of 2017 indicated a gradual return of the Boko Haram terrorist activities to the Sambisa Forest. There have been sightings of a few Boko Haram activities in the Sambisa general area, particularly in Parisu.

“Hence, the air component conducted significant ISR missions in the Sambisa general area. On July 3, an air interdiction mission was conducted on Alagarno Camp. Several solar panels were seen on buildings in the location, which indicated that it was being used as a Command and Control facility.

“The NAF conducted air interdiction missions with the F-7Ni, Alpha jets, L-39ZA, Mi-17 and the Mi-35M attack helicopters to neutralise the Boko Haram terrorist targets within the theatre.

“A total of 108 air interdiction sorties were conducted from April to June 2017.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, on Thursday, regretted that the nation’s troops, fighting the Boko Haram sect, could not dominate the environment in the rainy season like they did during the dry season.

Notwithstanding the challenge, Dan-Ali said efforts were ongoing to stop the ambushes regularly laid by the terror group.

The minister spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting which acting President Yemi Osinbajo had with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Dan-Ali said the service chiefs were directed to move back to the Command Centre in order to be abreast of what was happening there.

The minister stated that it was resolved at the meeting that the government should procure more surveillance devices that would be able to see potential attackers from a distance.

Dan-Ali added, “We just finished a meeting with the acting President and the three service chiefs. We agreed that they should move back to the Command Centre and see what are the things happening there.

“We have also agreed that we should get more surveillance devices, cameras that will be able to see distant attackers coming to the position of our troops.

“Also, the rainy season is a difficult moment for us. We cannot dominate the environment like what we did during the dry season but effort is geared towards regaining our areas.

“We assure Nigerians that all these ambushes that are happening regularly would be stopped.” (Punchng.com)

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Troops Recover Shekau’s Qur’an, Flag From Sambisa Forest |The Republican News

Our Reporter

Troops recover Shekau’s Qur’an, flag

 

The military gave more details yesterday about the capture of Sambisa Forest, including Camp Zero and Camp S (shape), the last bastion of the Boko Haram insurgents.

The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, the military team that battled the sect, Major-Gen. Lucky Irabor, said yesterday that sect leader Abubakar Shekau’s Qur’an and flag were recovered.

Gen. Irabor, who gave an update on “Operation Rescue Final’’ in Maiduguri, said: “We believe that the Holy Book and the flag were abandoned by Abubakar Shekau while he escaped.

“The book will be taken to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Burutai, for onward presentation to Mr President.

“We have also made a lot of arrests. Our troops in Damboa arrested about 15 Boko Haram members. We also arrested one Musa from Potiskum on Christmas Day.

“On Dec. 26 our troops also intercepted two Boko Haram suspects in Maiduguri.

“We, therefore, warn residents of the state to be wary of people coming to hide in and around their houses.

“We are also warning residents to report any suspected Boko Haram members hiding in their houses to the relevant security agencies and any failure to do that would be tantamount to supporting and sympathising with the sect’s activities,’’ he said.

Gen. Irabor added that troops arrested about 1,240 suspected terrorists during a mop-up operation by troops inside the forest.

According to him, 413 of the suspects were adults; 323 were women; 251 male children and 253 were female children.

He said: “We are interrogating them to know whether they are Boko Haram members, because there is no way somebody that is not their member would live inside Sambisa forest.

“We are still on the trail of the terrorists and I want to assure you that all escape routes have been blocked.

“Within this period, also, about 30 fleeing suspected Boko Haram members have surrendered to the Niger Multinational Troops on the shores of the lake Chad and we learnt that they were taken to Diffa in Niger Republic.

“The suspects include 24 male and six female.

“We would like to use this opportunity to encourage the terrorists to give up the fight because the window is still open,” the commander said.

Gen. Irabor noted that the Sambisa Forest was abandoned without any government presence which made it easy for the insurgents to take advantage of the area.

He said the activities of the army in the area would not affect the original purpose of the land which is a game reserve.

He added that the army would construct roads into the forest, and called on the government and other individuals to support the army in its endeavour to succeed in the fight.

He said the operation was still on going at the Sambisa forest and other parts of the North East to ensure a total wipe out of the terrorists

Gen. Irabor pleaded with individuals and organisations to assist the military with useful information about the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in their midst and support or logistics to end the insurgency completely and permanently.

He urged the government to move in quickly and establish civil authorities in the liberated areas to enable residents  return to their various communities.

“Let me state that we have won the war by destroying terrorists’ fortress, and smoked them out from this forest. We are however in a transition phase after winning the war against Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism. We need to win the peace now”

The Theatre Commander also denied the picture of a Whiteman being circulated on the social media as a suspect arrested by troops during the operation in Sambisa forest.

“That picture of the Whiteman being circulated as an arrested Boko Haram suspect from Sambisa Forest is not from us. That picture is not from the army. It is not our picture”, Gen. Irabor said.

Niger Republic’s Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum said dozens of Boko Haram fighters had given themselves up to authorities in southern Niger.

The minister said 31 young people from Diffa, who were enrolled a few years ago in Boko Haram, decided to surrender.

The fighters arrived in the remote desert town of Diffa in groups and were being held by local authorities.

“I learnt that the first who surrendered were not arrested, and I surrendered.

“We expect a pardon from the government so that we can participate in the development of the country and help us get rid of the trauma,’’ a former Boko Haram combatant told reporters.

In June, tens of thousands of people fled Diffa as Boko Haram swept the region.

Five Niger Republic soldiers were killed by the militants near Diffa in September.

It was not clear what would become of the ex-Boko Haram fighters, but authorities said there was the possibility of reintegrating them back into society.

A security source said a meeting had been  held in Diffa to discuss “the conditions of surrender”, without providing further details.

Boko Haram has killed 15,000 people and displaced over two million during a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic state in Nigeria.

In recent years, its attacks have spilled into neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

Hundreds of Boko Haram fighters surrendered in Chad in October and November as the group ceded territory.

The group controlled an area about the size of Belgium in early 2015 but has since been pushed back by international forces, including troops from Niger.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday announced that the army captured Boko Haram’s  last enclave in the vast Sambisa forest on Friday.  (The Nation)

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How Nigerian Army Captured Sambisa Forest, By Buhari |The Republican News

Augustine Ehikioya

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President Muhammadu Buhari

•Hails troops for taking Boko Haram stronghold

Nigerians yesterday received one of the most soul-lifting messages yet from President Mohammadu Buhari: the routing of the terror sect Boko Haram from its stronghold of Sambisa Forest in Borno State.

The entire 1300 square kilometre forest fell into the   hands of the soldiers at about 1.35pm on Thursday, according to Buhari in what he himself called “the long-awaited and most gratifying news.”

He said he was delighted at the news and “most proud of the gallant troops,” which made it all possible.

He particularly acknowledged “the determination, courage and resilience of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole at finally entering and crushing the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents at ‘Camp Zero’, which is located deep within the heart of Sambisa Forest.”

He was briefed on the development by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.

Buhari confirmed that that the terrorists “are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide.”

His message: “I am delighted at, and most proud of the gallant troops of the Nigerian Army, on receipt of the long-awaited and most gratifying news of the final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa Forest.

“I want to use this opportunity to commend the determination, courage and resilience of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole at finally entering and crushing the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents at “Camp Zero”, which is located deep within the heart of Sambisa Forest.

“I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the Camp fell at about 1:35pm on Friday, December 22, and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide.  I urge you to maintain the tempo by pursuing them and bringing them to justice.

“I, therefore, call on all Nigerians to cooperate and support the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies by providing useful information that will expose all the terrorists hiding among the populace.

“Further efforts should be intensified to locate and free our remaining Chibok girls still in captivity. May God be with them.

“I also want to congratulate and commend the able leadership of the Nigerian Army in particular and indeed, that of the Armed Forces in general, for making this possible. This, no doubt, will go a long way in improving the security situation not only in the North East, but the country in general.  But we must not let our guards down.

“Once more, congratulations to our troops and all who, in one way or the other, contributed to this most commendable and momentous effort. May the Almighty continue to be with you.

“I wish you a Merry Christmas and a most rewarding and peaceful Year 2017 ahead.”

Buratai separately lauded the efforts and sacrifices of “gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Army currently engaged in the counter insurgency operations in the North East and other operations across the country and abroad.”

He gave the commendation in a Christmas and New Year message to the personnel.

He congratulated them for their “bravery, doggedness and loyalty in these endeavours,” and urged them to “maintain the momentum and remain steadfast as we continue to professionally and responsively carryout our constitutional roles.”

He pledged to continue to “ensure that troops’ welfare and that of their families, remains my utmost priority.”

He also assured them of “Federal Government’s commitment to providing the Nigerian Army with the requisite support for us to perform our duties.

“The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, has pledged his total support to the Armed Forces to bring all ongoing operations to an end in favour of our dear country.

“This festive season heralds peace as well as a time for merriment, sober reflection and introspection. I enjoin us all to continue to pray to the Almighty God for the repose of the souls of our fallen comrades and the wellbeing of the families of our brave fallen heroes,” the army said.

While thanking the officers and men for the good job they had done in 2016, he said they should look forward to “making greater progress in 2017.”

He wished them all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

However, the ouster of the insurgents from Sambisa does not necessarily translate into an end to other forms of terrorism by the extremists.

These include suicide bombings, and assaults on villages, gatherings and military locations in the Northeast.

The Sambisa Forest which Gen. Buratai last March said is  about the size of Enugu State had served Boko Haram in various ways including its operational base, training camps, and hideout for its leaders, foot soldiers and their families.

Most of the over 200 Chibok school girls that were abducted in April 2014 are believed to have been kept in the forest for some time.

Some of the girls were released in October after protracted negotiations with the terrorists. (Punchng.com)

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