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Gov. Ishaku Supporters Give Oshiomhole Seven Day Ultimatum |The Republican News

Justin Tyopuusu, Jalingo

 

A group, Taraba Network for Peace and Development on Wednesday asked the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, to retract his verbal attack on Governor Darius Ishaku or face court action.

At a press briefing in Jalingo, Chairman of the group, Alhaji Haruna Musa, who was flanked by the Secretary, Yusuf Illiya, said Governor Darius Ishaku was duly elected by the generality of the Taraba people and affirmed by the Supreme Court and wondered why Oshiomhole kept saying his election in 2015 was not by popular votes.

Oshiomhole had on Monday, while inaugurating Tukur El-Sudi as the APC chairman in Taraba, accused Governor Darius Ishaku of running a non-resident administration and promised to give the people of Taraba in 2019 a resident governor.

The group called on the APC national chairman to retract what they described as ‘reckless statements’ against Governor Darius Ishaku within seven days or risk lawsuit.

“We can no longer sit back and watch Oshiomhole make wild and false allegations and cast aspersions on the integrity of the nation’s judicial verdicts which upheld the election of Governor Darius Ishaku.

“Oshiomhole benefited from judicial verdict when the Supreme Court installed him as the Governor of Edo State and for him to turn today and make unsubstantiated claims against Gov Ishaku and the court is uncalled for.

“We reject falsehood as weapon of political opposition and advise Oshiomhole to retract his statements and apologise to Governor Darius Ishaku and the people of Taraba State for this act of political blackmail.”  (Punch)

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Bloodbath In Taraba: Over 50 Killed By Fulani Herdsmen Militia |RN

Fulani-Herdsmen3

File Photo: Armed Fulani herdsmen

  • 50 killed in fresh attacks

Billy Graham Abel, Yola

Over 50 people were reportedly killed in another bloody attack in several communities bordering Adamawa and Taraba states on Monday night.

Residents told Daily Sun that some Fulani militia attacked several ethnic villages of Gojefa, Bujum Yashi, Bujum Waya, Sabonlayi and Bujum Kasuwa in Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

Other communities affected by the onslaught included Anguwan Bishop Yotti, Todung, Budon, Bunzum and Bamga Dutse in Taraba State.

Galilee Ishaku, a resident of Sabon Layi, who survived the mayhem said: “The people who attacked us are Fulani. They came when we were in the market because it’s market day. They suddenly entered our village and started shooting. We ran and crossed over the river; they followed us and kept on shooting. Right now, as I am talking, they are in our village, grazing in our farms.

“The people I know that were killed are about 13 but many of our villagers are still unaccounted for.”

Gerald Na’allah, a community leader claimed the attacks have become regular occurrence.

“It usually starts as a rumour and we report it to the appropriate authorities and it eventually happens that they come in and attack and kill and loot. People have stopped going to the farm. No one is farming again.”

The member representing Numan in the Adamawa State House of Assembly, Sodomti Tayedi condemned the attacks and lamented that poverty and starvation loom as residents could no longer go to farm because of the wave of incessant attacks.

She said over 30 people were feared killed in the recent attacks.

According to the lawmaker, hardly a week pass without an attack in her constituency by suspected Fulani militia.

 

She said the rate at which people were fleeing their ancestral homes for fear of the unknown is alarming, adding that the situation might soon result in food crisis in the state.

“Our people are farmers and grazers but my community is now living in fear since these attacks started in November last year and has persisted up till date.

“We are hopeless and helpless; economic activities have stopped. This is farming season and if we cannot go to farms, then poverty and starvation is what is left.

“We are calling on government, as matter of urgency, to come and secure our people and constituency. Since no one is allowed to take up arms, then it is the responsibility of the government to protect the people.”

The Adamawa State decried the attacks on agricultural communities, saying it could lead to serious food crisis.

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ahmad Sajoh, while condemning the attacks on communities in Numan and Demsa, expressed government’s concern over the number of people fleeing their ancestral home for fear of impending attacks.

He said government was working with security agencies to restore peace in the affected communities.

Sajoh added that government would provide assistance to victims of the recent attack in Numan and Demsa.

The attack, the fourth in a fortnight by yet to be apprehended killer herdsmen, has led to the death of hundreds of people and destruction of several homes destroyed.

Observers of the situation in the state have called for more proactive measures by security agents to apprehend the attackers and contain the constant attacks on Taraba and Adamawa communities by armed militia.  (The Sun)

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Court Convicts Ex-Governor Of Taraba, Nyame |The Republican News

By Tunde Oyesina Abuja

JOLLY-NYAME

An Abuja High Court yesterday convicted a former three-term Governor of Taraba State, Rev. Jolly Nyame of fraud to the tune of N1.64 billion and was consequently sentenced to 14-years imprisonment without an option of fine.
The judgement came about 11 years after the Federal Government docked the former governor.In the 41-count charge dated May 13, 2007, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged that the former governor perpetuated the fraud between January 2005 and May 2007, through various bogus contracts.
Nyame had pleaded not guilty to the charge which he insisted was not only incompetent but brought against him in bad faith.

The trial emanated from a petition jointly signed by one Umar Baba and Kelas Obadia, entitled “Taraba State in a mess, the Commissioner of Finance goofed” written on behalf of concerned citizens of the state.

However, delivering judgement in the matter, the trial judge, Justice Adebukola Banjoko, in a 300-page judgement that lasted for over six hours, found the defendant guilty on 27 out of the 41-counts.

The court, in its pronouncement, sentenced Nyame to 14 years for criminal breach of trust, two years for misappropriation, seven years for gratification and five years for obtaining valuable public properties without consideration.
Justice Banjoko held that the sentence would run concurrently.

The court, however, discharged the defendant on 14 counts of the charge.

Before the final judgement was given, Nyame had pleaded for leniency.

The trial court, however, turned down the plea for leniency on the ground that the court was “morally outweighed by facts of the case.”

In her judgement, Justice Banjoko held: “Citizens of Taraba had elected the defendant, a clergyman, in three separate occasions to govern them, which shows a constant level of trust. The expectation must have been so high.

“As a Reverend, he must have been seen as an epitome of morality, piety and everything good. How will Reverend Nyame begin to explain to people of Taraba State his actions and inactions?
“How can he justify causing such a colossal loss to the state?”

The judge further held that the defendant committed “catalogue of crimes” a month before he vacated office “while under intense searchlight from security agencies.”
She added that the court would be failing in its responsibility “if it fails to impose the full sanction.

“The evidence before the court showed that while officials that served under the defendant were returning their loot to the EFCC after they were questioned, the defendant was still busy committing more crime.

“One of such crimes included N100 million the defendant withdrew from the state treasury to host former President Olusegun Obasanjo who paid a one-day visit to Taraba State in 2007.

“After a careful examination of all the evidence, prosecution tendered before the court, it is my opinion that either the defendant entered into office without a corrupt mind and became corrupted, or he was corrupted ab initio.

“There was such a crazy level of corruption in the air in Taraba State Ministry of Finance. It is, however, amazing that none of the officials was arraigned,” Justice Banjoko added.

The court also held that Nyame “behaved like a common thief with unbridled greed,” adding that his sentence would serve as a deterrent to other public office holders.

“With the overwhelming evidence before the court, the court is left with no option than to do justice in this trial. And the justice in this trial is to impose a punishment that will serve as a deterrent to others.

“The defendant is hereby convicted of the charge before the court. He is, therefore, sentenced to 14 years for criminal breach of trust, two years for misappropriation, seven years for gratification and five years for obtaining valuable public properties without consideration.
“The terms are to run concurrently,” the court held.

The court later directed EFCC to return all the funds it recovered in the process of its investigation into the case, to the coffers of Taraba State.

The EFCC had, on November 22, 2016, closed its case after it called 14 witnesses that testified before the court.

Thereafter, the ex-governor testified in defence of himself and called additional three witnesses that attempted to exonerate him of all the allegations against him.

Nyame had, during the pendency of his trial, approached the Supreme Court seeking to quash charges against him.

He was, however, turned down by the apex court on March 5, 2010.

In the charge, he was among other things, accused of diverting N180 million out of N250 million meant for the purchase of stationeries by Taraba State Government between January and February 2005, as a reward for the award of the contract to USAB International (Nig.) Ltd and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 115, 309 and 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990.

Justice Banjoko had earlier noted that there was a nexus between Nyame and the fictitious N250 million contract that was awarded for the bulk purchase of stationaries and office equipment.

The court noted that Nyame had, through his then Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Abubakar Tutare, approved a memo for that contract which was awarded to a firm, Saman Global Ventures, on January 1, 2005, sidelining key officials of the Ministry of Finance in the process.
“The defendant gave that memo life by giving his approval,” the court held.

The court also noted that N180 million was subsequently diverted from the contract sum and handed to the ex-governor.

Though the court held that the evidence EFCC tendered against the ex-governor in respect of the transaction was “circumstantial” as no other document had his signature apart from the memo, it, however, stressed that the manner funds were approved and released from   the Taraba State treasury, showed that the defendant acted in breach of his oath of office.

“It is disheartening to note that between 2004 to 2005, the Ministry of Finance in Taraba State was especially an enclave, it was a den of criminal activities best illustrated with Ali Baba and the 40 thieves.
“The court finds the defendant guilty as charged.

“The clear purpose of the money was diverted. There was no evidence of purchase of the stationaries,” the court held.

The Judge also held that convict repeatedly approved the release of funds to the firm despite being aware that it neither purchased the stationaries nor executed any contract.

The court held that there was no evidence that Nyame, who had within five weeks, moved over N345 million from the Taraba State coffers for the purchase of stationaries, made any attempt to prosecute the firm or to set up a panel of inquiry when the fraud was brought to his attention.
“The progenitor of this impunity was no one else than the defendant himself. The defendant cannot feign ignorance of this colossal fraud.

“He who approves must be accountable to what he approved. The defendant had the dominion over the state fund and only him could say open-Sesame to the vault of Taraba State.
“The defendant cannot escape responsibility or cling to the thin plank of mere approval,” the court held.

The court also held that the defendant “dishonestly” diverted public funds through the Taraba State Liaison Office, on the guise that it was used for the purchase of rice that was shared with his supporters.

It further held that the defendant committed “criminal breach of trust beyond a reasonable doubt” when he approved N111 million to host guests when the Mambilla Power Project was commissioned, even as it equally found him guilty of receiving gratification to the tune of N80 million.
The court held that it was amazing that Nyame had, in his bid to defend the charge, “provided the entire arsenal for the prosecution.”

Justice Banjoko held that the defendant admitted to certain offences, seeking at the end for a plea bargain.

“He was also very inconsistent, especially regarding the presidential visit and the issue of security votes,” the court said.

Nyame had, after he was found guilty, prayed the court through his counsel, Olalekan Ojo, to temper justice with mercy, insisting he had no previous criminal record.
In his plea, the former governor told the court that he has dependents that rely on him for their subsistence.

Ojo, however, prayed the court to punish the convict by imposing fine rather than imprisonment.

Prosecuting counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, urged the court to impose the maximum sanction to serve as a deterrent to other public office holders.

Aside the former finance commissioner in Taraba State during Nyame’s tenure, Tutare, among those that testified before the court included a compliance officer with one of the banks, Mr. Olubunmi Ogunode, as well as the Permanent Secretary to Taraba State government, Mr. Dennis Okuma Nev.
In his own witness, Nev told the court that he was, at a time, compelled to raise three separate memos for the withdrawal of N100 million, which he said was used by Nyame to host former President Olusegun Obasanjo when he visited the state in 2001.

Similarly, an Accountant with the Rural Electrification Board in Jalingo, Taraba State, Mr. Abdulrahman Mohammed, narrated before the court, how the ex-governor used his name to withdraw N282 million from a bank, using 20 separate cheques.

Mohammed said the illicit transactions took place between 2005 and 2007 when he functioned as an accountant in charge of Taraba State liaison office in Abuja.                (New Telegraph)

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Get Back To Kano, Gov. Ganduje Tells Fulani Herdsmen |The Republican News

Fulaniherdsman

Fulani Herdsman

  •  Herders in bloody clash with Adamawa residents

John Alechenu, Chukwudi Akasike, John Charles, and Ted Odogwu

The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, on Sunday called on all Fulani herdsmen in some parts of the country, especially in Benue and Taraba states, to relocate to Kano State.

Ganduje said Kano State had “vast grazing land” to accommodate herdsmen and their cattle.

The governor stated this during the monitoring of the state’s “free vaccination of over one million cattle and other small animals” at Kadawa Artificial Insemination Centre in the Garum Malam Local Government Area of the state.

The exercise titled, ‘Towards Conservation of Livestock Resource and Animal Protein for Citizens of Kano,’ was part of activities marking the 2017/2018 livestock vaccination programme.

Ganduje, who condemned the “recent killings during the clashes between farmers and herdsmen,” said they were unacceptable.

The governor said the vaccination was initiated to keep animals healthy and improve the economy of the state.

He said as part of the government’s commitment to encouraging herdsmen in the state, Kano State Government had been providing facilities that would accommodate the herdsmen and their cattle to discourage them from moving to other states in search of grazing land.

Ganduje said, “Fulani herdsmen of Kano origin do not move out of Kano to other states because we have enough grazing land, ranches and traditional stock route. They don’t have any reason to move out of the state. We take care of them and we accord them the respect and dignity they deserve.

“I am inviting herdsmen from all parts of Nigeria to relocate to Kano because we have enough facilities to accommodate them. We have grazing land in Rogo, Gaya, Kura, Tudun Wada, Ungogo and other places, where facilities have been provided to accommodate the herdsmen and their cattle.”

The governor added that his administration was already in collaboration with the Federal Government and foreign agencies to convert the Falgore Game Reserve into a modern grazing land.

“Falgore Game Reserve can take care of millions of herdsmen and their cattle in Nigeria. The location has been designed to accommodate schools, human and animal clinics, markets, recreational centres and other social amenities that would provide the herdsmen enough comfort to take care of their animals and transact their business without any hindrance.

“These killings must stop. We cannot afford to continue to witness these senseless killings in the name of Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash over lack of grazing land when we have a place like the Falgore Game Reserve, which is being underutilised.”

Ganduje also said his administration had embarked on the registration of herdsmen and their cattle to enable the government to take care of them through free vaccination and other incentives.

‘Tiv people flee 25 villages’

The indigenous Tiv people of Kadarko in the Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa State have reportedly fled 25 villages over attacks by herdsmen.

Community leaders, under the auspices of the Concerned Indigenous Tiv People of Kadarko, said this at a press briefing in Abuja on Sunday.

Spokesman for the group, Dr Benjamin Agbede, said they decided to cry out because there appeared to be an orchestrated plot to force them out of their ancestral land.

He explained that they were worried that since the outbreak of hostilities on January 15, 2018, Tiv farmers had been left to their fate.

Agbede said, “It is on record that the governor (Tanko Al-Makura) visited the areas and saw the dead bodies on January 30, 2018, but he merely directed that the corpses should be buried by the families of the deceased without any assistance.

“We were shocked that a paltry sum of N500,000 was made available to be shared by the families of those killed and those in different hospitals.

“For the avoidance of doubt, 12 people were killed and more than 30 are receiving treatment in different hospitals.

“We are deeply worried that although the area is inhabited by other ethnic nationalities, only the Tiv people are targets of the terrorists.”

Another community leader, Felix Akie, said, “We wonder why the police did not respond on time to save our people after we made distress calls when the shootings and killings were going on in Agwan Tiv.”

They appealed to the federal and state governments to come to their aid by ensuring that peace returned so that they could return home and resume their normal lives.

The community leaders named some of the 25 affected villages to include Azer, Tamen Bature, Dooga, Che Utsaha, Nyam Adaga, Cha, Igbacha, Shatse, Ngur and Nguchi.

Gunmen kill cop, resident in Benue

Two separate attacks on communities in the troubled Logo and Guma local government areas of Benue State have left two persons dead, including a policeman, while many others are missing

The first incident, according to sources, occurred at Anyiin community in the Logo LGA when suspected herdsmen on Saturday attacked and killed a trader, identified as Abuchi, believed to be of Igbo origin.

It was gathered that the gunmen, suspected to be Fulani militia, opened fire on Igbo traders who were coming back from a local market around 6pm, killing Abuchi and injuring others.

A resident of Anyiin, Terkaa Tim, said Abuchi was a popular Igbo trader in the area.

According to him, the attack which led to his death took place along Gbeji-Anyiin Road.

He said the victim’s remains were recovered by the police near Ayoo Udu village.

Our correspondent further learnt that following the attack, the Igbo people in Benue threatened a showdown.

Although efforts to reach the President of the Igbo Community in Benue State were unsuccessful as of press time, a friend of the victim,  Chima Wanchukwu, lamented the action of the herdsmen.

But the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said he was not aware of the incident in Logo.

He said the only report on his table was from Tarka, where a man and his family, who were travelling to Calabar, were attacked by bandits while they were changing their vehicle’s flat tyre.

“The family’s car had a flat tyre around the Police Training School in Tarka; and while he was changing the tyre, he was attacked by bandits, but they managed to escape unhurt into the college.

“I am not aware of the killing of an Igbo man in Logo, but we have decided to provide escorts for the man and his family to their destination,” Owoseni said.

In a related development, the team deployed by the state police command in Yogbo community in the Guma LGA came under attack on Sunday.

The state Police Relations Officer, ASP Moses Yamu, who confirmed the attack, said the police team responded and engaged the gunmen in a shootout, which led to the killing of three of the gunmen.

He added that their corpses were taken away by their fleeing members, who “also suffered severe gunshot injuries.”

Yamu stated that the command lost one officer, while another one had yet to be seen.

The PPRO said, “The police are intensifying efforts with the aim of curbing armed attacks and apprehending criminal elements using tribal sentiment to cause mayhem.

“The command will also ensure adequate security to encourage residents to return to areas hitherto deserted.”

Declare herdsmen terrorists –Seadogs

The Nigerian Association of Seadogs, also known as Pyrates, has called on the Federal Government to declare and treat herdsmen in the country as terrorists.

The group explained that declaring cattle herders in Nigeria terrorists had become imperative following their activities that had led to the death of scores of  Nigerians.

NAS President, Arthur Boje, who made the call during a medical outreach organised by the association at Oro-Ochiri community in Rebisi town, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said herdsmen were also responsible for the sacking of some communities in the country.

The medical outreach was part of the association’s programme to mark its Quarter 2 Pyrates Working Committee meeting.

Boje said, “We are not happy with the killings going on in parts of the country. There is no way you will be satisfied when your brothers and sisters are killed senselessly and the government is not doing enough to save the situation.

“What those herdsmen are doing is orchestrated. It is tactically planned. These are people that have infiltrated into the country, aided by some people on the ground and also sponsored by people here.

“They are terrorists and the Federal Government should treat them as such. They are not herdsmen; they are professional killers brought from outside into the country to cause havoc.”   (Punch)

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Two Taraba Chairmen Survive Two Separate Attacks By Suspected Herdsmen Militia

Darius-Ishaku                         Taraba State Governor, Darius Isiaku

Justin Tyopuusu, Jalingo

The chairman of Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State, Daniel Adi; and his Takum counterpart, Shiban Tikari on Sunday escaped death in two separate attacks at different locations in the state.

Adi told our correspondent on phone that he came under attack from suspected Fulani herdsmen around Gidin Dorowa town in Wukari council.

According to him, some suspected Fulani herdsmen had, on Saturday evening, killed a Tiv man in his farm at a village close to Gidin Dorowa and that upon receipt of the information, he mobilised his security team to the area.

“On sighting me and the security team which was made up of the Police and Civil Defense corps, they opened fire, but the security overpowered them and they took to their heels.

“It was in the course of pursuing them that we apprehended three Fulani men who later confessed that they were called for reinforcement by the Fulani militia that attacked us.

“Those arrested have already been taken to the state Police command in Jalingo for further investigation,” he said.

The council chairman who linked the unprovoked attacks in his domain to the rumour early last week of arms delivery in Jibu, a village in Wukari LGA by a yet-to-be-identified helicopter, called for the deployment of more security for thorough investigation.

Meanwhile, gunmen suspected to be armed robbers in the early hours of Sunday whisked away the driver of the chairman of Takum, LGA, Shiban Tikari, who was later released.

Emmanuel Bello, a Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Governor Darius Ishaku, told our correspondent that the attack happened when the council chairman was going to Donga for a thanksgiving service.

Bello, who said the chairman was driving in another car with his Donga counterpart in a convoy when the incident occurred along Takum-Chanchanji-Wukari road, called for reinforcement of the Joint Benue/Taraba military task force to help check the level of insecurity in the area.

But the Taraba State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP. David Misal who confirmed the incident, said it was a robbery attack and that the council chairman was not personally involved, but his personal car was snatched by the robbers.

On the attack in Wukari, the Police image maker said he was yet to be briefed by the Divisional Police Officer, in charge of the area.  (Punch)

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Mass Murder By Herdsmen: Soyinka Blasts FG, Death Toll In Taraba Rises |RN

Wole-Soyinka
                                  Prof. Wole Soyinka

Gbenga Adeniji, Adelani Adepegba,  Olaleye Aluko and  Justin Tyopuusu

Renowned playwright, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says the Federal Government is responsible for the wanton killings perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen in the country.

Soyinka in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Holy Cow: Impunity Rides Again,’ said the government was “looking the other way” as the herdsmen went on the rampage across the country.

He said, “Yes, indeed the government is culpable, definitely guilty of “looking the other way. Indeed, it must be held complicit.”

The Nobel laureate said history was repeating itself with the herdsmen’s case, recalling that Boko Haram was still at that stage of “putative probes when cries of alarm emerged.”

Soyinka said, “Boko Haram was a product of social inequities, they preached – one even chortled: ‘We stand for justice, so we are all Boko Haram!’  We warned that – yes indeed – the inequities of society were indeed part of the story, but why do you close your eyes against other, and more critical malfunctions of the human mind, such as theocratic lunacy? Now it is happening again. The nation is being smothered in Vaseline when the diagnosis is so clearly – cancer!

“We have been here before – now, ‘before’ is back with a vengeance. President Goodluck Jonathan refused to accept that marauders had carried off the nation’s daughters; President Muhammed Buhari and his government – including his Inspector-General of Police – in near identical denial, appear to believe that killer herdsmen who strike again and again at will from one corner of the nation to the other, are merely hot-tempered citizens whose scraps occasionally degenerate into communal clashes – I believe I have summarised him accurately. The marauders are naughty children who can be admonished, paternalistically, into good neighbourly conduct.

“Sometimes of course, the killers were also said to be non-Nigerians after all. The contradictions are mind-boggling.’’

The acclaimed writer recalled that a more hideous massacre was perpetrated by the group he termed Murder Incorporated during a peace meeting in Benue in 2016, describing the development as a climax to what had been a series across a number of Middle Belt and neighbouring states, with Benue taking the brunt of the butchery.

He noted that the peace meeting attended by the state government and security agencies, including the Inspector-General of Police, also had the herdsmen in attendance.

He added, “They freely admitted the killings but justified them by claims that they had lost their cattle to the host community. It is important to emphasise that none of their spokesmen referred to any government neglect, such as refusal to pay subsidy for their cows or failure to accord them the same facilities that had been extended to cassava or millet farmers. Such are the monstrous beginnings of the culture of impunity. We are reaping, yet again, the consequences of such tolerance of the intolerable.’’

Warning against what he described as the ‘‘enervating lure of appeasement in face of aggression and will to dominate,’’ the playwright also drew attention to Volume III of his Interventions Series, and to the chapter on ‘The Unappeasable Price of Appeasement.’

Soyinka said, “There is little to add, but it does appear that even the tragically fulfilled warnings of the past leave no impression on leadership, not even when identical signs of impending cardiac arrest loom over the nation.’’

He recalled that the first active policy of appeasement and the language of endorsement came when Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, on assuming office, proudly said he had raised a peace committee and successfully traced the herdsmen to locations outside Nigerian borders.

Soyinka added that the governor said he made payments to them from state coffers to cure them of their homicidal urge which, according to the herdsmen, were reprisals for some ancient history and the loss of cattle through rustling.

He said, “The public was up in arms against this astonishing revelation. I could only call to mind a statement by the same el-Rufai after a prior election which led to a rampage in parts of the nation, and cost even the lives of National Youth Service Corps members. They were hunted down by aggrieved mobs and even states had to organise rescue missions for their citizens. Countering protests that the nation owed a special duty of protection to her youth, especially those who are co-opted to serve the nation in any capacity, El Rufai’s comment then was: No life is more important than another. Today, that statement needs to be adjusted, to read perhaps – apologies to George Orwell: “All lives are equal, but a cow’s is more equal than others.”

Disclosing that though he called on the government a week ago to stop passing the buck over the fuel crisis, Soyinka stated that he never intended that a reverse policy should lead to exonerating – or appearing to exonerate mass killers, rapists and economic saboteurs.

According to him, the conduct of the saboteurs subverts the efforts of others to economically secure their own existence and drives other producers off their land in fear and terror.

“This promises the same plague of starvation that afflicts zones of conflict all over this continent where liberally sown landmines prevent farmers from venturing near their prime source, the farm, often their only source of livelihood, and has created a whole population of amputees. At least, those victims in Angola, Mozambique and other former war theatres, mostly lived to tell the tale. These herdsmen, arrogant and unconscionable, have adopted a scorched-earth policy, so that those other producers – the cassava, cocoa, sorghum, rice farmers are brutally expelled from farm and dwelling.

“Government neglect? You may not have intended it, but you made it sound like the full story. I applaud the plans of your ministry, I am in a position to know that much thought – and practical steps – have gone into long term plans for bringing about the creation of ‘ranches’, ‘colonies’ – whatever the name – including the special cultivation of fodder for animal feed and so on and on. However, the present national outrage is over impunity. It rejects the right of any set of people, for whatever reason, to take arms against their fellow men and women, to acknowledge their exploits in boastful and justifying accents and, in effect, promise more of the same as long as their terms and demands are not met. In plain language, they have declared war against the nation, and their weapon is undiluted terror. Why have they been permitted to become a menace to the rest of us? That is the issue!”

Soyinka said he was unaware that the Indigenous People of Biafra came anywhere close to the Fulani herdsmen’s homicidal propensity and will to dominate before it was declared a terrorist organisation.

He said, “How do we categorise Miyetti? How do we assess a mental state that cannot distinguish between a stolen cow – which is always recoverable – and human life, which is not? Villages have been depopulated far wider than those outside their operational zones can conceive. They swoop on sleeping settlements, kill and strut. They glory in their seeming supremacy.

“These crimes are treated like the norm. Once again, the nation is being massaged by specious rationalisations while the rampage intensifies and the spread spirals out of control. When we open the dailies tomorrow morning (today), there is certain to have been a new body count, to be followed by the arrogant justification of the Miyetti Allah.”

Saying that President Goodluck Jonathan only saw ‘ghosts’ when Boko Haram was already excising swathes of territory from the nation space and abducting school pupils, he added that the ghosts of Jonathan seemed poised to haunt the tenure of President Muhammed Buhari.

Residents put Taraba’s death toll at 56

Residents said the death toll from the killing of people of Taraba communities by Fulani herdsmen have risen to 56 on Wednesday, as survivors continued to recount tales of sorrows.

Some armed Fulani herdsmen had on Friday and Saturday attacked many communities in the Lau Local Government Area of the state, including Donaddo, Lavoro, Katibu, Didango and Maku, leaving blood in their trail.

The attack in Lau villages came barely 24 hours after suspected herdsmen killed a family of five and seven others in the Wukari and Gassol local government areas of the state.

The residents of the affected communities in Lau LGA said the death toll in the attack had hit 56 persons, mostly children and women, while over 200 houses were recorded to have been burnt.

They called on the Federal Government to declare Fulani herdsmen a terror group, just as 29 of the victims killed in the attacks on Donaddo, Lavoro, Katibu, Didango and Maku communities in the Lau LGA were on Wednesday given a mass burial in Katibu and Didango.

The affected communities on Wednesday remained deserted as residents had fled; and it was gathered that only security personnel deployed in the area were visible.

One of the affected residents, Mr. Sani Marafa, who said six of his relations were among those given the mass burial, added that the attackers were over 100.

“They attacked us at about 3pm on Friday and Saturday, killing people and setting them on fire. Six of my relations are among the victims. I almost could not recognise my relations after the killer Fulani attack my village

“The government must deploy soldiers in Taraba immediately to contain this situation. The attackers were well armed and I don’t think the police have the capacity to deal with them.

“As I speak to you, all our houses, foodstuffs and other valuable items have been destroyed. Many families here are passing through serious trauma,” he said.

Another resident of one of the attacked communities, Mrs. Paulina Habila, a mother of four, said apart from killing her husband, the Fulani herdsmen made her homeless.

She said, “The Federal Government have failed to protect us here. My husband was slaughtered like a goat by the Fulani men who invaded our village. They killed over 35 people in our village alone and razed the entire community.”

Another victim of the attack, Pastor Titus Makovini, said, “The killers came into the community church and they slaughtered some worshipers, while others fled.

“The security personnel failed to protect us for the two days that the attackers laid siege to our communities.”

A survivor of the attack, who gave her name simply as Joy, said she escaped death by a whisker when the armed herdsmen struck.

Joy, who lamented the death of her 69-year-old mother and other relations in the attack, said, “The Federal Government must find a lasting solution to this senseless and mindless killing of innocent people by rampaging herdsmen.”

However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP David Misal, said 12 people were killed during the attack on the communities.

“The attack happened on Friday and Saturday, but because the attackers were still laying siege to the communities, bodies of the dead could not be recovered and buried until we provided security for them to do so.

“Our men are currently on the ground in the area and the situation is now under control,” he said.

On his part, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Bala Abu, told our correspondent that 29 corpses were recovered from burnt houses, bush paths and nearby farms where the victims tried to hide from the killer Fulani herdsmen.

“It is really a disturbing sight. A combined team of armed soldiers and policemen have to provide security cover for the villagers to enable them conduct the funeral rites for the dead,” he added.

The Permanent Secretary, Taraba State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Nulvaga Danhabu, said the state government had provided relief materials to the Internally Displaced Persons who fled the areas for safety.

“The IDPs from the Lau crisis are currently camping in Kufai, Mayo Dassa and the Federal Character Commission office in Jalingo, Mayo-Lope and Abari Lau. In the days ahead, we will see what we can do to alleviate their sufferings,” he said.

Killings going on in Benue despite IG presence –Group

A group, Community Development Coalition, has raised the alarm that Fulani herdsmen are still carrying out killings in the Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State.

The group added that the atrocities were occurring despite the deployment of police operatives and soldiers and the relocation of the Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, to the state.

The CDC Convener, Prof. Yima Sen, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, that he had visited the affected communities and was informed that attacks by the herdsmen had not abated.

Continued from page 7Sen noted that the security forces on the ground had been unable to stop the bloodshed across the state.

“I left the crisis area about five hours ago and from my consultations with the people, killings are still going on. I am not satisfied with the security situation; I have also consulted with the people and they are not satisfied with the situation,” he said.

The CDC said it would do all that was legally possible to ensure the full implementation of the Benue State Anti-open Grazing Prohibition Law.

It said it would also facilitate “the emergence of a robust, reliable and sustainable community-driven security system.”

The group rejected the proposed cattle colonies for herdsmen by the Federal Government, insisting that no inch of Benue land would be given out to the herdsmen.

Sen said, “We can’t be colonised by the Fulani; they can ranch, but if anyone is talking about cattle colonies, they should find another location, not Benue.”

The CDC convener accused President Muhammadu Buhari of turning a blind eye to the atrocities of the herdsmen.

He said, “We are left with no option than to conclude that the President, who by the way is the grand patron of Miyetti Allah, has turned a blind eye and is bent on keeping deaf ears to these atrocities.”

A former Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprise, Bernard Verr, argued that the open grazing of cattle constituted a danger to the nation’s agriculture, food security and the economic diversification programme of the government.

When asked about the reported killings, the state Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, said he was not aware, adding that the CDC should furnish him with  the names of the communities so he could ascertain the claims.

DHQ coordinates  response to Benue killings

The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, is coordinating the deployment of more ground and air troops to curb the crises in parts of Benue State, sources told our correspondent on Wednesday.

Although the DHQ had yet to make any official statement, our correspondent learnt that more troops had joined in the operation going by the “orders from above.”

It was learnt that the army had detailed troops from the 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba State, and the 72 Special Forces Battalion, Makurdi, Benue State, while the air force is deploying assets from the Tactical Command, Nigerian Air Force, Makurdi.

The source said, “It is the Defence Headquarters that is coordinating the response to the Benue crisis. The army and the air force have deployed men in the troubled areas. I cannot give you the number of the troops because they are drawn from bases in the region.

“The figures of the armed gang members run into 100s. More arrests will still be made.” (Punch)

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Restructure Nigeria Now, Declares Nyame (ex -Governor Of Taraba)

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Rev Jolly Nyame

By Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo

It’s been ten years since Rev Jolly Nyame left office as the governor of Taraba state. But he has remained very active in the political arena both at the state and National scene. In this interview, he shares his personal experience of the last ten years and also bares his mind on the current political structure, state of the economy and political developments in the state and the country at large.
Tell us about your experience in the last ten years after serving as the Taraba state governor?
The last ten years or thereabout have been a mixture of experience- you have the good, the bad and even the ugly. I have faced a lot of travail from the federal government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, and no one can imagine what I’ve been through in the last ten years or so, going to court. As it stands now, it is difficult to say where my case stands with the EFCC. All I know is that the challenges form part of God’s plan for my life. I don’t take it personal.
As you are aware, I have not received my entitlement since leaving office. All the governments that came after me are aware of my predicament but I don’t know what the problem is. In fact, I contemplated going to the Industrial court this year to seek their intervention but they said there is no need as the government is working on it. I wrote a letter to the government through the SSG and I understand that it is been given serious attention. So hopefully, this administration would pay me.
What is the reason for the nonpayment of your benefits ten years after?
It is pathetic and I can only speculate as they have not given me any reasons. We’ve had other governors and or acting governors and deputies who have left office and are enjoying their benefits. Some even paid themselves before leaving the office but I was been a gentleman and felt paying myself my entitlement before leaving office was not gentlemanly. I wanted someone else to pay me like every other pensioner. I never knew I was cheating myself.
What’s your take on the current wave of defections in the PDP to the APC especially in Taraba state?
It is very pathetic. When you have top PDP members defecting to the now ruling APC, then it calls for stock taking. It is even more worrisome that some people still seat in their offices as party officials and government functionaries and just wave it aside, as nothing. It is a very bad thing for the party, I can tell you that. I’m most touched by the recent defection of the immediate past minister of labour, Senator Joel Ikyena because I worked with him and I know what political weight he has got. He is someone that has his way politically. He is a force you can always count on for results. You know he came from the very bottom of the ladder to the top and that makes him a core grassroots politician. So for him to defect to the APC and you have people in position try to make it look as if nothing has happened, is pitiable. In the last elections, the PDP got a chunk of its votes from his homestead of Wukari, even when someone from the same Wukari was also vying for governorship. I know there must be a reason for his defection and I don’t want to hold brief for him but I passed through the same thing too. For instance, party congresses were held in this state last year up to the zonal congress and no one informed me about it. So when you have people that are not mature enough, they would feel slighted and would simply opt to move on.
In as much as I am not comfortable with the development, I think the PDP needs to move out of her cocoon and do a post mortem of the developments leading to the last general election and up till this time. If that is not done, I can assure you that there is no future for the PDP anywhere. Look at what is happening in the state now preparatory to the council elections. If you cannot organize primaries for local government elections, then there is problem. The issue of consensus candidate is wrong. People are not happy about it. It is as a result of this same issue that the governor is still battling for his mandate at the Supreme Court. Allow internal democracy to prevail. I however believe that the party would put its head together and correct some of these mistakes soon.
What is your take on new Mega party and its implications for the PDP?
Well, the APC itself came up as a mega party. It was a merger of political parties who felt dissatisfied with the way PDP was handling the affairs of this country. In the end we all saw what happened. So this is the same thing that is about to happen. It is no longer something new. That however, is not a guarantee that they would come and take over leadership as the APC did. It would of course provide for vibrant opposition which is healthy for any democracy globally. And like I said, the PDP would also learn her lessons and step up the game to meet the challenges hopefully.
As the longest serving governor of Taraba state and the political leader, you were accused of been silent while things were going wrong in the state. Is that correct?
Well, people who say that may do so based on their level of knowledge. I have been doing a lot just that I am not militant about it. But if my disposition to this position as an elder statesman is taken as cowardice, I may soon become militant about it. A lot of things happen in Taraba awkwardly. The entire money we got in eight years as a government is what Suntai got within a year. Subsequent governments after him too got a lot of funds. Unfortunately, the structures we put on ground before leaving office are still what you see around.
No government has been able to build one more hospital, or any viable project. Some of the projects we started and could not complete before leaving are still there. The structures we put in place are very fast decaying for lack of maintenance.  I’ve always asked people to be patient with those in government but there is a limit to what they can take. People must also understand that my influence is to the extent that they are willing to listen and take corrections. There are times you would make efforts to reach out and nobody would listen to you. You can’t force yourself on the people, you know. And even when you see them and give them your advice, they are not obliged to take it. Of course as someone who ruled the state for about ten years, I should know the state well enough to give viable solutions to those in government and I have been trying my best. Whether they take my advice or not is not within my power. But I’m sure time is going to come when all these would change.
Some of the major structures in the state are suffering serious decay. The Stadium, Motel, Specialist Hospital and several others. How do you feel when you see these projects?
It pains me. I weep each time I see these structures in their current shape. When we built these things, we used the best of everything that was available at the time. Look at the motel for instance, it was furnished with the best furniture we could get at the time but today, things have fallen apart. You have grasses growing in some of the rooms. I was there to visit a guest recently and the main door to his room was not working. I mean, it is a mess.
I did these things because I thought we would have subsequent governments with a maintenance culture. And for everything, we even had the spares in place. There were reserves of all the equipment on ground. The specialist hospital was fully equipped with spare equipment in place. Those spares were all sold. There are no more there. Those on ground are poorly maintained. Look at the stadium, we had hoped that these projects would boost the economic viability of the state and make it attractive to investors. The state government does not have to benefit from it directly. We hoped that they would be handed over to someone with the ability to manage them effectively to run and keep them afloat.
Why didn’t you put in place measures for sustainable maintenance of these structures after you left office, since your successor was seen as just a continuation of your administration?
What happened were my fears. And I was correct when I was afraid to do certain things. Like you said, Danbaba’s administration was supposed to be a continuation of my administration but remember he set up a commission to probe me. So if I had done certain things that one would think it was to my advantage, it wouldn’t have just been a commission that he would have set to probe me. It is the same Danbaba that put me in this mess I’ve been in for the past years since leaving office. So like I said, people may not understand me but all my decisions are based on conviction. I was certain that if I paid a contractor at that time to continue with the maintenance of these things, I would be charged of having interest in it. I paid a contractor N1million for the Jalingo airport through the office of the SSG, and Danbaba was the SSG then, but that is one of the reasons I was taken to EFCC. I have to answer for it. The same airport was done elsewhere costing billions. So I knew that with the kind of mentality we had, if I did some of these things, somebody would come after me. Now that I even avoided these things, I’m been accused.
Your younger brother, Godwin is warming up to contest the governorship of the state in 2019. Are you aware and what your take?
Sure, I am aware of it. He is a mature person and is of age enough to take his decisions. He is my blood brother as you know and my younger brother for that matter. But as far as I am concerned, he is a man and can take his own decisions. For instance, I am in the PDP while he is in the APC. I can’t stop him if that is what he wants. Of course, in this case, I may not support him because he is in the opposition party and I cannot support another party to win my party. But like I said about people defecting from the PDP, you ordinarily wouldn’t want to leave the house you have built and furnished well to go and start a new one, but when you are forced to, you would have no choice. I know that if it comes to it and I am left with no choice, I would go.
If I am going to decamp to the APC, nobody would stop me. I want you to understand that people don’t just decamp to other parties. When Danbaba made it unbearable for us in the PDP we decamped to ACN. There we contested the governorship fronting Joel Ikyena. Danbaba may not be there now to tell you anything but his deputy Sani Danladi is there.  For now, I’m in PDP and I am still working for the PDP but if my hands are tied, there is nothing I can do. Just as we were forced out of the PDP then by Danbaba, if we are forced out now, we still may leave, at their own detriment.
Are you now saying that Joel Ikyena’s defection is such a big blow to the PDP?
It is not good for the party. It is not good at all. Some novice may say that his exit means nothing thinking that there are other people on ground to do the magic but I’m afraid they are wrong. Like I said, I worked with Joel Ikyena so I know what he is made of. You can’t find his kind in the whole area. If there is any, they should come out and let’s see them. There is none. Remember Ikyena started from the bottom to the very top. His exit is bad for the party, very bad. And I don’t think anyone should be comfortable with this
There is suffering across the country and this current administration is still blaming the last administration. Where do you see this leading us to?
I think the blame game is over now. From what I have gathered, the 2017 budget would propel us out of recession and from my little experience as a village economist, the more you encourage people to produce, the better for the economy.  People have to go more into production. Small, medium and big industries have to be put in place to herald a sustainable growth for the economy. We found ourselves in a recessed economy because we have just been buying without producing anything. So basically, this hardship should be over soon. Don’t forget that, now, more than ever, everyone is looking for ways of earning a living outside the government. Most people have returned to the farm and other sectors of the economy. This is good for us. I just hope that we would come out it stronger than we ever were.
What is your take on the current agitations for secession and the call to restructure the country?
To be honest, I would never support secession for any reason. I know that people from various zones have their reason to fight the fights they are fighting, but I want to encourage one Nigeria. Federal government should be sensitive to the yearning of the people across boards. Then, there should be decentralisation of power from the federal to the component states. Of course, there should be a certain remittance to the Federal Government but the states should be made more viable. They should be able to do some things on their own. They should have some level of control over their resources. This would help every state to seat up. There is no state in this country that does not have enough resources to survive very well. They all do but these things are grossly underutilized. Take Taraba for example, just last week, I got a huge lump of stone here. We took it somewhere and they said it is lead, and one of the best qualities. So in Taraba alone, there are so many resources that if the state government is allowed to exploit, they’ll be able to do a lot and still remit to the federal government. What is happening in the South- South and South- East is pathetic. The people have to be taken care of. But I still believe that if we take a referendum now, most of the Igbo would not support it. We have to be one Nigeria but the current structure has to be done away with and the government has to be sensitive to the plights of their people.  (The Sun)

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