Army Kills Four Armed Herdsmen, Arrests 20 In Benue

Nigerian soldiers hold their weapons as they sit on a military pick-up truck at their base in the town of Banamba
FILE PHOTO: Nigerian soldiers hold their weapons as they sit on a military pick-up truck at a military base.

 

The Nigeria Military on Tuesday said four armed herdsmen have been killed and about 20 other suspects arrested in Benue State.

Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General, Texas Chukwu in a statement on Tuesday said the troops of special forces arrested the armed herdsmen during a patrol at Teguma village.

READ ALSO: Troops Kill Herdsman, Rescue Two Persons In Benue

“Troops of 72 Special Forces Battalion on April 16, 2018, on Operation MESA at Yogbo in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State encountered about 20 militia herdsmen at Teguma village while on patrol.

“Four of the militia herdsmen were neutralised during the encounter while others fled following superior gun power,” the statement read in part.

Items recovered from the suspects include four AK 47 rifles, five 7.62mm rounds of ammunition and 28 rounds of 7.62 police special ammunition.

The Nigerian army also recently killed one herdsman in Benue.

Benue State has been a hotbed of herdsmen-farmers crisis which has led to several attacks that have since sent many Benue residents to their early graves, most notably on New Year’s Day. This resulted in military intervention in the Benue and the commencement of military operation tagged Operation Cat Race.

Troops deployed in Army Exercise Ayem Akpatuma, also known as Cat Race on Wednesday, April 4, killed the herdsman and two persons after intercepting a large number of armed herdsmen on Tuesday, April 4, in Asom village, Guma Local Government Area of the state.

Lingering Attacks

The attacks in Benue took a surprising turn recently when some gunmen laid ambush on police officers in the state.

Four police officers were killed and about 11 others are still missing after the gunmen, on Sunday, laid an ambush on police officers in Benue State.

The attack occurred when the police officers were on a patrol from Anyibe to Ayilamo in Logo Local Government Area of the state.

Soyinka Asks Nigerians To Resist Armed Herdsmen Invasion

Professor Wole Soyinka

 

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka on Tuesday called on relevant authorities to check the wave of attacks being perpetrated by armed herdsmen across the country.

Professor Soyinka told journalists in Lagos that the phenomenon of herdsmen and farmers clashes is not new but an issue that has graduated to an alarming state in the last eight years.

He called for an organised resistance to the menace, describing the armed herdsmen as a new breed of Boko Haram and internal colonialists.

“The important thing is the consciousness of a need for organised resistance against the incursion of cows.

“In Ogun State, we have formed a sort of informal organisation called OSHA, Ogun State Hunters Association and we intend to collaborate with similar movements, the police and the military,” he said.

Commending state governments who have set up organisations to protect their citizens from attacks by the armed herdsmen, Soyinka said these organisations need to be taken seriously and well equipped to successfully disarm the armed herdsmen and prevent recurrent invasions.

“I wish to commend the governors in the various organisation which are now beginning to understand that they must start policing themselves.

“If we want to take the phenomenon seriously, it will be to ensure that anytime they see an armed herdsman, they report to the nearest police station. If by a certain time that group of armed herdsmen are not disarmed, then this organisation will move and disarm them.”

The Nobel laureate said further that he is not happy with ‘the body language’ of the government in handling the matter.

He also condemned the proposal for the establishment of cattle colony, insisting that ranching is the preferred option to resolve the crisis.

Osun Police Holds Peace Meeting With Farmers And Herdsmen

Police Inspector Allegedly Kills Man Two Days To His WeddingThe Osun State Police Command has frowned at the use of underage children for cattle rearing business by Fulani herdsmen in the state.

This was made known during a peace meeting organised by the state command of the Nigeria police to iron out issues of disagreement raging between some farmers and herdsmen in the state.

At the meeting, the police said it discovered that asides lack of communications, the use of underage children who can’t handle cattle has led to consequent clash with farmers.

The Commissioner of Police, Fimihan Adeoye ‎who trying to make peace between the farmers and the herdsmen, noted the use of underage children to  rear cattle as one of the key causes of cattle tramping upon farms of indigenous people in the state.

He said the police will soon take legal actions on the use of underage children by the Fulani herdsmen in enforcement of the Child Rights Act which protects the children.

While the meeting was ongoing, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Osun State command, paraded three suspected Fulani men believed to be terrorising farmers and residents of Ikoyi in Isokan Local government Area of the state.

Addressing newsmen, the state commandant, Ayodele Phillips said the men were apprehended in possession of several guns, pellets, charms and many other dangerous weapons in the bush.

He called on the public to be open and give relevant information to security agencies when necessary.

Meanwhile, the NSCDC boss says thorough investigation will be carried out to ascertain claims of the men and apprehend the other two, who are presently at large, if found guilty will be brought to book.

800 Herdsmen Now In Custody Over Violent Attacks – Osinbajo

800 Herdsmen Now In Custody Over Violent Attacks – OsinbajoSecurity agencies in Nigeria have arrested about 800 suspected violent herdsmen across the country, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Prof. Osinbajo made this disclosure in Houston, Texas in the US on Friday at a Townhall event where he interacted with US-based Nigerians who asked questions live at the event and also via the internet,

According to a statement issued by his spokesperson Mr. Laolu Akande in Houston, the Vice President fielded about 30 questions at the well-attended townhall event moderated by Mr. Rudolf Okonkwo of Sahara Reporters and Prof. Nimi Wariboko of Boston University.

Asked about the issue of Fulani herdsmen attacks in certain states across the country and what the Federal Government was doing to curb the problem, the Vice President said: “The President has given firm instructions to the security agencies to arrest not only herdsmen who are attacking communities anywhere in the country but anyone of them or anyone at all in possession of firearms.”

He added that “there are about 800 of suspected violent herdsmen in the country that are currently in custody.”

The Vice President however decried the slow pace of the criminal justice system which is affecting the prompt trial of such suspects.

Prof. Osinbajo reminded the audience however that the issue of killings by such violent herdsmen has been a perennial issue especially as grazing lands continue to disappear over the years and the cattle feed on people’s crops on the farmlands. He clarified that the matter just did not crop up when President Buhari assumed office.

Vice President Osinbajo then advised the audience against the tendency of interpreting the herdsmen issue as a religious issue, stressing that it is important for all Nigerians to refuse such divisive narratives and tendencies.

He reminded his audience that there has always been conflict between herdsmen and communities across the country and that people should disabuse the notion that the problem has just started because President Buhari, a Fulani is currently at the helm of affairs in the country.

Community Policing

Answering question on the need for community policing, the Vice President indicated that community policing via State Police is indeed a cardinal programme of the ruling APC. However the party agenda cannot be introduced until there is an amendment to the nation’s constitution.

He gave a scenario where a policeman from Bayelsa State for instance is working in Borno State where he cannot even speak the language or understand the culture of the people he is policing, noting that such is counterproductive.

The current situation where Police activities is controlled at the federal level sure has some limitations, he conceded, adding that the “the federal government is currently working to introduce community policing that would be in line with the constitution”.

Judges’ Arrest

Commenting on the recent arrest of judges in the country, Prof. Osinbajo told his Nigerian audience in Texas that impunity could be very dangerous in any sector and that the federal government is only exercising its executive function in attempting to check excesses.

He pointed out that the important thing is that due process is being followed as the judges were released about 24 hours after their arrest and once they had given their statements.

The Vice President also responded to a question on the state of the nation’s economy and attributed the current recession to the loss of about 60% of government revenue due to pipeline vandalism and endemic corruption in the system.

He, however, stated that getting back oil production is a sure way to get out of the recession and the federal government is working to sort it out.

Anti-Corruption

Answering question from the internet on when former President Goodluck Jonathan would be arrested, Osinbajo pointed out that the Buhari administration is not in the business of arresting just anyone anyhow.

He said all the Buhari administration does is to empower the security agencies and the anti-corruption agencies to do their jobs, without the administration trying to teleguide them.

He also added that the fight against corruption in the country is not fought on ethnic, hasty or premediated grounds.

According to him, “corruption is not an ethnic thing, there is an equal representation in the stealing as no one operates with his/her ethnic group alone, the culprits are in every case seen so far, united by greed to steal and not by ethnic or religious interest.”

He frowned at a situation where for instance as much as $15 billion has disappeared from the national coffers into private pockets, pointing out that no responsible government would wave that aside so as not to offend people.

Commenting on the declining fortunes of Nigeria in international sporting competitions occasioned by poor funding by the government, the Vice President said that a long-term solution to inadequate funding of sports is private sector involvement.

According to him, looking around countries that have excelled in international sporting competitions, the private sector in those countries are directly involved and that is exactly what should happen in Nigeria.

By the time companies and organizations take up sports sponsorship, he believes that the tide would change for good.

Nigerians from all walks of life in Houston, Texas and from other parts of the US attended the town hall meeting which was preceded by a Nigeria Infrastructure summit which showcased opportunities for foreign investors in Nigeria.

 

Agatu Killings: Benue Lawmakers Condemn FG’s ‘Lukewarm Attitude’

BenueBenue State lawmakers in the House of Representatives have condemned the “lukewarm attitude” of the Federal Government towards the killings in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the lawmakers on Friday in Abuja, Honourable Orker Jev, said that over 1,000 people have been killed and over 100 villages razed in Agatu area by armed herdsmen, who are yet to be apprehended by security forces.

The lawmakers said that the Federal Government must take active steps to stop the killings in the area.

They also urged the Federal Government to provide intervention funds and programmes for the displaced people in the affected communities.

The lawmakers maintained that government must ensure that peace returns to the state that is known as the ‘Food Basket of the Nation.’