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South-East Senators, Ijaw Youths Council, CACOL Reject Budget Cuts

Buhari-signs-2018-budget-to-law

President Buhari signing 2018 budget

John Ameh, Sam Awoyinfa, Olaleye Aluko, Leke Baiyewu and Theophilus Onojeghen

The South-East Caucus in the Senate, the Ijaw Youth Congress, the Centre Anti-Corruption and Open Leaders and an Afenifere chieftain, Femi Okurounmu, have opposed the alterations made by the National Assembly to the 2018 budget.

While the South-East caucus faulted the reduction in the funds allocated for the Second Niger Bridge and the Enugu Airport projects, CACOL said the National Assembly did not follow due process.

The IYC, on its part, berated the lawmakers for cutting budgetary allocations for the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, and the East-West Road projects.

Enugu airport, 2nd Niger Bridge votes manipulated – S’East senators

The Senate South-East Caucus expressed surprise over the slashing of the N2bn allocated to the Enugu Airport Terminal to N500m.

The Chairman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, told journalists in Abuja on Thursday that members of the caucus were shocked to hear that the initial amount, which was jointly adopted by the Committees on Aviation at the Senate and House of Representatives, had been reduced.

Abaribe, who is representing Abia South Senatorial District, said an emergency meeting by senators from the South-East had been called to unravel who made the cut and at what point was it made.

The lawmaker, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, said the caucus was set to meet to find out what went wrong especially at what point the cut in the allocation was made.

He pointed out that budget documents were verifiable and “we are committed and determined to find out who made the cut.”

The senator recalled that the South-East lawmakers lobbied for the allocation to the airport to be increased to N3.5bn but were told by the Ministry of Aviation that it had an envelope budgetary plan, which would not allow an increment beyond the N2bn.

Abaribe alleged that N30bn was smuggled into the power budget without his committee’s knowledge.

According to him, the money was listed for expansion and re-enforcement of infrastructure in the distribution companies to reduce stranded firms.

The allocation, he said, “never passed through the Senate Power committee.” He asked, “Where did such huge sum of N30bn come from?”

“Let the Budget Office and other relevant bodies conduct a self-examination. Such self-examination will go a long way to clear certain grey areas,” Abaribe stated.

He added, “In the case of the Enugu Airport Terminal and the Second Niger Bridge, we want to find out at what point the cut was made.”

Abaribe said members of the caucus were collectively agitated. According to him, the geopolitical zone, which hardly receives a fair share of the national projects, had the little that came its way reduced.

He stated that no right thinking Igbo man would support slashing of allocation to projects in the South-East.

N’Assembly’s action, condemnable, says IYC

The IYC  said the National Assembly showed that it was selfish by reducing the budget allocations to developmental projects including the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko and the East-West Road,  and increasing its allocation.

IYC noted that a similar reduction in allocations to developmental projects was done under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. This, it stated,  led to the non-completion of the East-West Road.

The IYC, in a statement on Thursday by its President, Mr Eric Omare, described the reduction in allocations to major projects as retrogressive.

Omare, “We consider the action of the National Assembly as insensitive and retrogressive to the development of the country. It is utter selfishness for the National Assembly to reduce funds allocated to key developmental initiatives and increase its budget.”

He recalled the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University, Delta State was one of the agreements reached between the leaders of the Niger Delta and the Federal Government to ensure peace in the region.

Omare stated that it was in furtherance of the agreement that N5bn was budgeted for the establishment of the university.

The youth leader called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately send a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to enable it to correct the anomaly in the interest of the Niger Delta.

He said, “The IYC is compelled to ask if the members of the National Assembly were elected to serve the interest of the generality of Nigerians or their personal interest.  There is no single reason why members of the National Assembly would reduce funds allocated for key projects such as the Maritime University, East-West Road, Mambilla Power Project and the completion of Enugu International Airport and increase their own budget. This is, to say the least condemnable.”

N’Assembly’s action fraudulent says Okurounmu

Also, an Afenifere chieftain, Senator Femi  Okurounmu has described the action of the National Assembly as fraudulent.

He said this in Abeokuta on Thursday while fielding questions from journalists on the sidelines of an event organised by a Yoruba socio-cultural group, Omoluabi.

Okurounmu noted that the lawmakers usually hide their allowances and other expenses.

Okurounmu, a former senator, said, “They are fraudulent; not only do they do a lot of budget padding, they introduce a lot of extra-legal amounts just to meet all those illegal allowances that they are getting.

“To now accommodate their own demands, they inflate the budget. The President doesn’t know how to deal with the National Assembly; so there is always a stalemate between the National Assembly and the Presidency and the President is always going along with them because every budget the National Assembly inflates must accommodate their own demands or needs.

“These are the things that people cry about; about the horrible, extraneous allowances of legislators – senators and members of the House of Representatives. This is where it comes from.”

He noted that there was a lot of corruption to be fought in the National Assembly, arguing that it was immoral for those who were corrupt to be making laws for the nation.

He, however,  said the President had no choice but to sign the budget because there was a stalemate.

He said, “The National Assembly blackmailed him; he cannot dismiss all of them and he doesn’t have the courage to fight them. If he has the courage to fight them he can fight them but he doesn’t have the courage because he’s surrounded by corrupt people himself.

“So, just as the National Assembly can blackmail him, he too can blackmail the National Assembly. So, it’s a game of mutual blackmail.”

N’Assembly didn’t follow due process – CACOL

Also, a civil society organisation, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, blamed the National Assembly for not following due process.

It said the padding of the 2018 budget was due to the power tussle between the legislative and executive arms of the government.

The CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran,  in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “The legislature has not followed the right procedures. The executive is supposed to put the budget estimates together. What one expected was that during the budget preparation, there should have been room for the legislature to send their projects to the appropriate ministries, departments and agencies, but there has been power tussle between the executive and the legislature.

“This tussle has left Nigerians in limbo because the interests of the people are not the reason why the two arms are quarrelling. This is a kind of power show which should not be accommodated. What ought to have been done was for the legislature to go back to their constituencies to carry out a needs assessment. The legislature is also to blame for delaying the budget.”

Senators, Reps clash over inserted 6. 403 projects

Meanwhile, some senators and members of the House of Representatives have expressed different views on the issues raised by the President.

The lawmaker representing Yobe East Senatorial District, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, pointed out that Buhari should not be condemned if the 2018 budget was not fully implemented as it had always been impossible for successive administrations to do so.

Ibrahim stated this while addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

Ibrahim asked, “When in Nigeria have we implemented a budget 100 per cent.” It will take us another 100 years, maybe, to do that. So, irrespective of whatever we put in there, he doesn’t necessarily have to implement all of them. Every year we talk about 50, 60, 70 per cent budget implementation; we have ever had 80 per cent. So, does it really matter if certain things were inserted?”

But Senator Dino Melaye said Buhari only tried to whip up sentiments against the National Assembly with his criticisms.

He pointed out that the legislature was not expected to be a rubber stamp to the executive proposals.

Melaye said, “I notice that PMB is trying to whip up sentiments against the National Assembly again by alleging that the 2018 budget was padded.

“What the President is authorised to do constitutionally is to present a bill to the National Assembly.  A bill is a work in progress and not a finished work. The reason the constitution directs the bill to be submitted to the National Assembly is that it expects the National Assembly to vet it and make inputs into such a bill before passing it as the Appropriation Bill.

“The National Assembly is not just expected to rubberstamp whatever bill the President presents. If this was the norm, then there would have been no need for the constitution to direct that the bill is submitted to the National Assembly in the first place.”

The lawmaker stated, “ Mr President should, therefore, refrain from playing to the gallery and milking the naivety of the masses on the issue.

“In any event, he reserves the prerogative of refusing to append his signature to the bill passed if it meets with his displeasure. He is also free to return the bill to the National Assembly unsigned, with a note indicating his areas of disaffection.

“Therefore, Mr President should halt his chicanery and smear campaign against the National Assembly.”

On Wednesday night, Senator Shehu Sani said the National Assembly made adjustments to the 2018 Appropriation Bill to ‘slim fit’ the budget with his administration.

He said, “Baba took his cloth to the tailors and asked them to make agbada for him. They measured his frame and after six months, they made a kaftan for him. He angrily complained that they shortchanged his fabric (sic), made a wrong design and wasted his time. The tailors replied that the delay was because ‘you have been travelling a lot all this while’ and the size was because ‘you lost so much weight and now you have a slim fit.’

In the House of Representatives, some members, who spoke with The PUNCH also expressed different views.

The Majority Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, told The PUNCH that the matter was not for the two arms of government to take extreme positions, but to resolve it through a middle course.

He argued that the proper thing to do was to first examine the President’s observations.

Gbajabiamila stated,  “The President has made some observations.  The two arms of government will work it out in a way that is most beneficial to the Nigerian people for whom the budget is for.

“That is what democracy is all about.”

But, the Deputy Minority Whip, Mrs Binta Bello, disagreed with Gbajabiamila’s “diplomatic approach”, saying that the budget had become a law which Buhari was bound to implement.

She asked why in every budget year, the Executive would raise questions over the power of appropriation “vested in the National Assembly by the 1999 Constitution.”

Bello noted that the executive rarely admitted blame or accepted failure for non-implementation of the budget.

She added, “I think what the President is doing is to pit the National Assembly against Nigerians. He knows that elections are coming in 2019.

“When people ask him why there is non-implementation of the budget by his administration, he will blame it on the National Assembly or use insertions as the excuse.

“My advice to him is that he should implement the budget.”

The Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, Mr Kayode Oladele, said under section 14 of the constitution, government’s primary responsibility remained the security and welfare of the citizenry.

He explained, “Government here means both the Legislature and the Executive, both contributing to the budget to address the security and welfare of the citizenry.

“The power of appropriation belongs to the legislature. In the US, it is called the power of the purse, where there is also frequent debates over insertions.

“However, at the end of the day, what becomes the budget is the law that should be implemented, else there will be government shut-down

We’ll speak on inserted projects worth N578bn today – N’Assembly

Meanwhile, the National Assembly will on Friday explain the 6,403 projects worth N578bn allegedly inserted by the lawmakers into the 2018 budget.

This was made known in a statement by Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, in Abuja on Wednesday night.

“It should also be noted that the leadership of both chambers have directed the chairmen of our Committees on Appropriations to provide item by item, detailed explanations on all points raised by the President for the benefit of members of the public. They will, therefore, address a press conference on Friday, June 22nd, 2018,” the statement read in part.

Journalists at the National Assembly were on Thursday informed that there would be a joint press conference by the Chairmen of the Senate and House of Representatives’ Committees on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje and Mr Mustapha Dawaki.  (Punch)

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Calls For BBC To Drop Lord Sugar Over Racist Tweet About Senegalese Football Team

By Helena Horton and Anita Singh
a man looking at the camera         © Provided by The Telegraph

 

Lord Sugar could be dropped by the BBC and face a parliamentary investigation after he tweeted a “joke” comparing the Senegal football team to beach hawkers in Spain.

The businessman, who has appeared in The Apprentice since 2005, posted a doctored image of the team posing with sunglasses and counterfeit handbags and wrote: “I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multitasking resourceful chaps.”

Embarrassingly for the BBC, his tweet coincided with the publication of the corporation’s ethnic diversity report, which called for a “substantial culture change” and recommended that managers be given compulsory cultural awareness training.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by The Telegraph The cross-bench peer and former chairman of Tottenham Hotspur was initially bullish when Twitter users called his comment offensive, saying: “Frankly, I can’t see that. I think it’s funny.”

Babita Sharma, an anchor for BBC World News, wrote that his tweet was “vile”, to which Lord Sugar replied: “You make me sick.”

But an hour later, having perhaps taken some advice from the BBC, he issued a contrite statement that read: “I misjudged my earlier tweet. It was in no way intended to cause offence, and clearly, my attempt at humour has backfired. I have deleted the tweet and am very sorry.”

 

https://twitter.com/osasuo/status/1009390056195461120

Dawn Butler, Labour’s shadow secretary for women and equalities, promptly wrote to the House of Lords commissioner for standards and to the BBC, calling for an immediate investigation.

She said: “Racism has no place in Parliament or society. Swift action must be taken.”

The row overshadowed the launch of the BBC’s report into how it plans to reflect the UK’s ethnic diversity within its workforce.

Among the report’s recommendations are that two members of the 15-strong executive committee must be from a black or minority ethnic (BAME) background by 2020, and that shortlists for all jobs at middle management level and above must include at least one BAME candidate.

 

https://twitter.com/vonstrenginho/status/1009377232714981376

Cultural awareness training should be compulsory for all team managers, in addition to the currently mandated unconscious bias training.

The report canvassed staff who said that recent on-air blunders could have been avoided if the BBC had a more ethnically diverse newsroom. They included an obituary of Shashi Kapoor, the Bollywood star, is illustrated with footage of the wrong actor.

In a second gaffe, a BBC reporter asked Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, if his visit to Pakistan was “like coming home”.

Mr Khan replied: “Home is south London, mate.”   (The Telegraph)

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Buhari Weeps In Bauchi |The Republican News

buhari-cries

President Muhammadu Buhari was, on Thursday, in Bauchi State, moved to tears by the devastation caused by the fire incident that gutted no fewer than 750 shops in the central market in Azare.

President Buhari, who visited the state, said he was in the community to see things for himself and assess the damages suffered by traders in the area.

His words,  “I am here to personally sympathise with traders in Azare in the aftermath of the unfortunate fire incident in the market last week,” he said.

The President noted that the fire incident was a natural disaster, and expressed federal government’s sympathy for the victims.

He assured that the federal government will critically look into the matter through NEMA with a view to assisting the victims.

“Federal Government is committed to economic development and the market fire disaster is a great setback to our genuine commitment to economic recovery.”

On his part, Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar and Emir of Katagum, Alhaji Umar Faruk,  described President Buhari’s visit as ‘ very timely’.

According to them, the president’s visit demonstrated his concern to the citizenry of the state especially victims of fire disaster in Azare market.   (The Sun)

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2019: June 12 Recognition Will Boost Buhari’s Chance In S’West – Ogunyale

Buhari-honours-Abiola

 

Brown Chimezie

Shina Ogunyale is a lawyer and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).  He speaks on the posthumous awards bestowed on the winner of June 12 election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and others.

 President Muhammadu Buhari has honoured late Abiola and others in recognition of their role in nurturing the country’s democracy, how would you describe this development?

In my own view, it is a welcome idea. It is long overdue. It is a very good initiative in a good direction. This reminds me of the words of my late mentor; Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) that June 12 is symbolic. May 29 is not symbolic because May 29 is just like October 1st; May 29 is just a mere hand-over day from military to civilian and nothing more.

What made June 12 symbolic was because that was the only day that we had a free and fair election, well-conducted with over 40 million Nigerians across tribe and ethnic divide, went out to elect Abiola as their president. You will agree with me that we have never witnessed that type of election before and even now, an election where Abiola won across all the geopolitical zones. He even won in the hometown of his major contender, Alhaji Bashir Tofa of National Republican Convention (NRC).

The step to recognise June 12 as Democracy Day ought to have been taken since, but Chief Obasanjo may have refused to do this out of petty jealousy for the person of Abiola. Imagine a Yoruba man from the same state as Abiola failing to recognise him, but a Fulani man from Katsina has done it.

But some Nigerians have insinuated that President Buhari took this step for political reason to get the votes from South-West and spite Obasanjo. Do you agree?

I agree with them. In politics, you must be smart to outwit your opponent. That means the opposition is not smart enough to take the right step at the right time. With this, every average Nigerian will vote Buhari for removing shame from their faces. It is a thing of pride to us that our late son has joined the league of past head of state, a thing Obasanjo would have done but couldn’t out of hatred and jealousy.

Come to think of it, (Goodluck) Jonathan tried to immortalise Abiola by naming Unilag after him, but enemies of democracy scuttled that arrangement. In fact, I commended President Buhari for using executive order instead of consultation. Consultation would have run into the same hurdle that ruined Jonathan’s initiative on Abiola. I can assure you that more political moves to lure the South-east, South-south and other geopolitical zone is underway.

Were you surprised that the Late Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) also got an award?

No. The award bestowed on Gani is a well-deserved one. Remember that the award was given to him by the late Yar’Adua and he rejected it. Why? If Abiola had been honoured by Yar’Adua, Gani would have followed suit. So in this case, President Buhari honoured Abiola, Gani and others who fought for democracy and I am sure if Gani was to be alive today, he would accept the award wholeheartedly.

Do you think Kingibe deserves that award?

Looking at his political antecedent, maybe he should not have been honoured but by the virtue of the fact that he was the vice president-elect to Abiola in that election, so automatically he should enjoy all the benefits that go with that office.

But the Southeast is saying, Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, the then electoral umpire should not have been left out of the honour’s list, what’s your take on this matter?

Honestly speaking, Prof.  Nwosu is one of my mentors. Like I said when he was appointed NEC chairman then, I had confidence in his ability to deliver. He deserved to be honoured. We will continue to speak with President Buhari to see the reason why the former NEC boss should be honoured. He didn’t compromise. If he had compromised, he would have stopped the announcement of the result. But he stuck out his neck to announce all the results. For this singular reason, I think he deserves to be recognised. June 12 is symbolic just like Prof. Nwosu. So without him, Abiola’s mandate wouldn’t have been realised.

As the person who organised that election don’t you think IBB too deserves mention?

If there is anything IBB deserve, it is to retrieve the GCFR from him because of his act of cowardice. In many of his interview, he said he annulled the election because of fear of young officers in the military who threatened to kill him if Abiola becomes the president. So such person doesn’t deserve the honour of valour at tall.

Using Agbara Community in Agbara Igbesa LCDA, would you say APC has done well in the past three years?

In fact, I am ashamed to identify myself as APC member in my community because our people are disappointed in the leadership style of Senator Ibikunle Amosu for his gross negligence of Ogun West senatorial district. Today roads are in bad shape and economy of the people in the area has come to a halt.

Is Senator Olamilekan Adeola still in the governorship race?

As a member of APC and a member of Yayi forum, I am telling you that Senator Olamilekan Adeola is in the Ogun governorship race. Recently he addressed his supporters in Abeokuta where he reaffirmed his stance to run for the governorship race in 2019. The news that Yayi is no longer in the race is from detractors and come 2019, he will prove his worth at the poll.   (The Sun)

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Anger, Uproar Over Proposed Cattle Ranches In 10 States |RN

Fulani-Herdsmen3

•Igbo, Middle Belt, Yoruba groups reject FG’s plan

Chinelo Obogo

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has rejected the Federal Government’s N70 billion plan to establish pilot cattle ranches in 10 states.

The group, which comprises Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Middle Belt Forum, said in a statement jointly signed by Senator Bassey Henshaw, Yinka Odumakin, Prof Chigozie Ogbu and Dr. Isuwa Dogo, that SMBLF objects to government’s decision to spend public funds to build ranches.

On Tuesday, the federal government, announced plans to establish pilot ranches in Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara states and said it would shop for N70 billion to commence the project which it said would permanently solve farmers-herders crises.

But, the SMBLF has rejected the plans and advised the government to adopt recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

Although the group commended the government for embracing ranching, it, nevertheless, said cattle rearing is the private business where individuals make money.

“We commend the coming to terms with modernisation by the Federal Government, in embracing ranching for cattle rearers, against the erstwhile insistence on archaic open grazing and old century cattle routes.

“The 2014 National Conference had reasoned out this matter and recommended ranching as it is done in all civilized societies.

“The decision to ignore this sensible recommendation has led to a situation where untold terror has been unleashed on farming communities with needless loss of hundreds of lives in the last three years with not a soul under prosecution and top functionaries of the administration making excuses for the killers.

“We, however, object to the federal government’s decision to spend N179 billion of public funds to build these ranches over 10 years starting with N70 billion under this administration.

“Cattle-rearing is private business in which individuals make billions of naira with no record of what they pay as taxes and, it is unfortunate that the federal government is making this vexatious declaration while receiving the Chief Executive Officer of Friesland Campina of Netherlands without bothering to find out that that it was put together by cooperatives, with roots going back to 1879 and is one of the world’s top five dairy companies with annual revenue of 11 billion Euro.

“It is only reasonable that those who want to engage in the business should approach the states where they want to build ranches and acquire land to build such with firm commitment to abide by the rules of host communities. Rewarding the herders with public funds to build ranches would only mean that they have killed enough to beat the country into pacification mode and this can only encourage other people to arm themselves and cause sufficient killings to get the undue concession.
“What would our society become if fishermen, farmers and people in other trades begin to cause bloodbath so the federal government could give them special consideration?

“We call on the federal government to shelve the idea of committing public funds on ranches and allow the owners of the business to attend to their business needs in the spirit of “I belong to everybody” mantra of the president.

“To go ahead with the plan is to say that cattle owners own this government and that would make other segments of society to say “we have no inheritance in this arrangement.”’  (The Sun)

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Fulani Herdsmen Killings: FG Okays 94 Ranches In 10 States |RN

fulani-herdsmen1

Job Osazuwa; Agaju Madugba, Katsina

The Federal Government yesterday unveiled plans to shop for N70billion for the establishment and management of pilot ranches in 10 states for the first three years.

The listed states are Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara.

Benue State government, in reaction, however, said it has no land to give. According to the state government, Benue, being the food basket of the nation, does not even have enough land for cultivation of food produce let alone to give for ranches.

This was in response to the recommendations of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FEMARD) and the National Economic Council (NEC) livestock conference.
The Federal Government presented the plan in Abuja, to permanently solve the farmers-herders conflicts, which claimed thousands of lives over the years.

Hundreds of people were killed this year alone in violence involving nomadic herdsmen in states including Benue, Plateau and Kaduna.

Aside from the loss of lives, Federal Government said Nigeria loses about $14 billion (N5.04 trillion) annually to the conflicts.

The presentation, made by the technical adviser to NEC, Mr. Andrew Kwasari, was witnessed by public officials including the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh and Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.

Kwasari’s presentation showed that the plan stemmed from meetings and recommendations by the FMARD and the NEC in 2017. The NEC is headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with all state governors and some ministers as members.

The plan, tagged; “The National Livestock Transformation Plan,” was built on six key pillars.
They included economic investment, conflict resolution, law and order, humanitarian relief, information education and strategic communication as well as cross-cutting issues.

According to the plan, the economic investment pillar would support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches in seven pilot states for improved livestock productivity through breed (genetic) improvement and pasture production, in addition to efficient land and water productivity.

The government also said it would rebuild social capital at the community level to promote mutual trust, confidence building and consolidate the peace process, with regards to the conflict resolution pillar.

The plan also showed that the law and order pillar would support the strengthening of legal frameworks for improving livestock production, peace and harmony.

The fourth pillar, humanitarian relief would focus on rebuilding and reconstructing of common facilities – worship places, markets and individual homes that have been destroyed.

The fifth pillar would aid information, education and strategic communication on the development of grazing reserves in the frontline states, and mitigate the consequences of the conflicts such as wanton loss of lives, destruction of properties, including schools and facilities.

The cross-cutting issues pillar identified various issues necessary to realise the objectives of the programme, which included monitoring and evaluation; and research to contribute evidence base on programme implementation; as well as gender mainstreaming.

The 10 identified states would receive pilot interventions in line with the recommendations and specifications in the plan.

The plan would include the creation of large ranches in each of these states.

“A ranch design plan has also been proposed in models of various sizes clustered in 94 locations in the 10 pilot states.

“The government intends to transition pastoralism to ranching in order to reduce the struggle for common resources,” Kwasari stated.

He said in terms of size, the proposed ranch size models are: “Cluster 30, 60, 150 and 300 cows ranch models in a location within the donated gazetted grazing reserves; and a minimum 1000 cows breeder ranch in seven of the 10 pilot states.”

The well-equipped ranches would, however, not come cheap.

He said, “total spending over the 10-year period is slightly in excess of N179 billion.

“FGN-states funding is meant for the first three years in the pilot phase, totalling about N70billion.”
Some of the benefits of the plan included “expected milk output to be in excess of 200million litres by the second year of the project (but the first year of productivity.

“Expected milk output of 700million litres of milk by the fourth year of the project.”
Ogbeh said: “We want to bring this crisis to an end. We will begin action in a matter of days.”
He said nomadic herding was not sustainable and Nigeria must adopt ranching.
He added that there has been a “strong partnership” between the federal and state governments; a view also espoused by Ortom whose state witnessed some of the most violent crises involving nomadic herdsmen.

He, however, argued that apart from implementing the new plan, the Federal Government must ensure that perpetrators of previous killings in the state were arrested and prosecuted.
Meanwhile, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State said farmers should be held responsible for the widespread bloody clashes with herdsmen.

“It must be pointed out that the original grazing routes and grazing areas in many states of the federation have been encroached upon by people and this is one of the reasons herdsmen destroy peoples’ farms in search of food for their animals,” he said.
He spoke in a message he sent at the flag-off of the re-demarcation of cattle routes in the nine local government areas of the state.

He explained that the exercise would check the perennial conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, which he noted led to the loss of several lives and property.

Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Mustapha Inuwa, represented Masari at Kukar Babangida, in Jibia Local Government.

The project involved the re-establishment of 7,240 beacons in a stretch of 905 kilometres of local and international livestock routes.

Masari regretted that encroachment into grazing areas began several years back and but that most states failed to take necessary actions to address the matter.

He said: “We are determined to ensure peace and unity between herdsmen and farmers.”
“Our main focus is to change the unhealthy relationship existing between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, thus bringing to an end the culture of bloody violence.”

“Katsina State is the first to initiate and implement the programme but this cannot be sustainable if we do not complement the effort of government by ensuring that no one violates the rules of the initiative.”

The governor urged traditional rulers in the affected local government areas to give the committee executing the project, adequate support to enable it to discharge its assignment. (The Sun)

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Herdsmen Killings: CAN, PFN Kick Against Death Sentence On Five Christians In Yola

Samson-Ayokunle

Fred Ezeh, Abuja; Judex Okoro, Calabar

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) have kicked against a Yola High Court ruling which sentenced five Christians to death for allegedly killing a herdsman.

It was also a day CAN President, Dr Samson Olasupo, in a statement by his media aide, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, expressed worry that the Nigerian security system is gradually being infiltrated by people of questionable characters.

CAN be asked the Federal Government to prevail on Adamawa State Government, to reverse the death sentence passed on the five Christian youths who allegedly killed a Fulani herdsman.
The association made reference to recent media reports which indicated that Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri of a High Court in Adamawa, sentenced Alex Amos, Alheri Phanuel, Holy Boniface, Jerry Gideon and Jari Sabagi to death for culpable homicide.

The convicts were said to have allegedly, on June 1, 2017, at Kadamun village in Demsa Local Government Area conspired and attacked three Fulani herdsmen, killing one of them, Adamu Buba, whose body was later found in a nearby river.

CAN also insist it does not support jungle justice or criminality but was unhappy that hundreds of Christians in Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Plateau states, are killed on daily basis, with neither arrest nor prosecution from the government.

It, thus, solicited the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, in the death sentence passed on the Christian youths in Adamawa, even as it asked its legal team to carefully study the judgment to avoid a miscarriage of justice and recurrence.

On its part, the PFN National Publicity, Bishop Emmah Isong, told newsmen, in Calabar, yesterday said the leadership, at all levels, vehemently oppose some policies that tend to divide Nigerians along religious lines rather than uniting the people and that although they are not supporting criminality in any form, but there must seem to be justice done whenever there is a clash between Christians and Muslims.

“Although we are not backing anybody to commit a crime, we rather feel that justice must seem to have been done in the case of the five Yola people. The entire leadership of PFN protests totally against the judgment and call for an appeal to squash it.

“It is high time the federal government intervened, to ensure that those Christians are not killed to forestall further religious conflict within that axis. Instead of killing people for herdsmen, the federal government should rather find a way to curtail their activities and provide adequate security to all Nigerians, which the present administration promised on ascension to power in 2015.”  (The Sun)

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