Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has attributed the farmers/herdsmen crisis in the country to persons outside the country.
The governor during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, said “In most cases, the crisis is precipitated by those outside Nigeria. When there is a reprisal, it is not the Fulani man within Nigeria that cause it.
“It is that culture of getting revenge which is embedded in the tradition of the Fulani man that attracts reprisals from all over the place”.
When asked if Fulani herdsmen from outside the country will benefit from the Federal Government’s RUGA initiative aimed at addressing the farmers/herders clashes, the governor replied in the affirmative.
“It has to be done through sensitisation, telling them you have to buy into the project, and you use a language that seems to convince them,” the governor said.
Speaking about his administration’s agenda, the governor lamented that the previous administration looted the state’s treasury. He, therefore stated that he is working towards improving the standards of living of the people.
At least five people have been killed and many houses burnt down following an attack by gunmen at Kiri village in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Confirming the incident to our correspondent, the Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna State Police Command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, says the attackers stormed the village at about 5 pm on Thursday, and started shooting in every direction, killing five people in the process.
He also added that the hoodlums escaped into a nearby hill which bounds Kaduna State with Riyom Local government Area of Plateau State upon sighting a team of Policemen that were dispatched to the village.
The statement also says that the Kaduna police Command has taken firm control of the situation by fortifying security around the area in order to avoid further breach of peace, while assuring the residents that the culprits will be fished out to face justice.
The Benue State Security Council has suspended three traditional rulers following the crisis which resulted in the killing of nine persons in the state at the weekend.
Those suspended include the district head of Mbacher, Mr Luke Atomigba for allegedly inciting and sponsoring the crisis while the Third Class chiefs of Chongo and Ipuusu were suspended for alleged negligence and pursuit of clannish interest, fueling the crisis.
Briefing journalist on the resolutions reached after a long meeting, Chairman of the Council and Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, recommended the suspended chiefs for further disciplinary measures.
South Africa’s Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, has described as false, the reports of targeted killings of Nigerians in their country.
Dr. Pandor who was accompanied by the Minister of Police Bheki Cele, at a press conference on Sunday, said this in response to a planned protest by the National Association of Nigerian Students following the recent killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
President of the association, Daniel Akpan had last week, issued a week-long ultimatum to South African businesses to leave Nigeria.
He also called on all Nigerians living in South Africa to return home to prevent further attacks.
The Nigerian army has described as unfortunate, the incident which led to the death of three police officers and a civilian.
According to a statement by the Acting Director Of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, troops of 93 Battalion Nigerian Army Takum, pursued and exchanged fire with some persons suspected to be kidnappers but it turned out they were members of an intelligence response team on a covert operation from Police Force Headquarters, Abuja.
The attention of the Army Headquarters has been drawn to the Press Release by DCP FRANK MBA FORCE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER FORCE HEADQUARTERS
ABUJA Ref No. CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.2/68 Date: 7th August, 2019 on the unfortunate incident that occurred on the 6th of August 2019 in which troops of 93 Battalion Nigerian Army Takum pursued and exchanged fire with some suspected Kidnappers who indeed turned out to be an Intelligence Response Team from the Police Force Headquarters Abuja on a covert assignment from Abuja resulting in the death and injury of some members of the Team.
On the 6th of August 2019, the said Nigerian Army troops, while responding to a distressed call to rescue a kidnapped victim exchanged fire with the suspected kidnappers along Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State.
The suspected kidnappers numbering about ten (10) and driving in a white bus with Reg No LAGOS MUS 564 EU refused to stop when they were halted by troops at three consecutive checkpoints. The flagrant refusal of the suspected kidnappers to stop at the three checkpoints prompted a hot pursuit of the fleeing suspects by the troops. It was in this process that the suspected kidnappers who were obviously armed opened fire at the troops sporadically thus prompting them to return fire.
In the resultant firefight, four (4) suspects were shot and died on the spot while four (4) others sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds and 2 others reportedly missing. It was only after this avoidable outcome that one of the wounded suspects disclosed the fact that they were indeed Policemen dispatched from Nigerian Police, Force Headquarters, Abuja for a covert assignment.
However, following inquiries from a Police Station officer who was asked by the commander of the Army troops whether he was aware of any Nigerian Police team being dispatched to operate in the LGA, the Divisional Police Officer of Ibi Police Division responded that he was not informed about any operation by the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters thus lending credence to the distressed call from members of the community that the suspects who turned out to be Policemen on a covert mission were rather suspected kidnappers.
This incident is indeed quite unfortunate and could have been avoided through proper coordination and liaison as the Nigerian Police Force are partners in the fight against crimes such as kidnapping amongst myriads of other internal security threats confronting our nation of which the Nigerian Police is the lead Agency.
In order to avert future occurrences of this nature, the Army Headquarters and the Force Headquarters of the Nigerian Police have agreed to constitute a Joint lnvestigation Panel to be headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Criminal Investigation Department, DIG Mike Ogbizi, to jointly investigate and report on the true circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident. Therefore, until the Joint Investigation Panel concludes and submits its report, it will be premature to officially conclude and speak on the real circumstances that caused this unfortunate but very avoidable unfortunate incident.
SAGIR MUSA Colonel Acting Director Army Public Relations 7 August 2019
The Chairman, National Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has again condemned the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
At a meeting with officials of the National Association of Nigerian Students in Abuja, she said, “we are reaching a tipping point, we are getting to a point where Nigerians are getting really angry and they can’t take it anymore”.
Speaking further, Mrs Dabiri-Erewa, noted that there has to be a stronger policy decision.
“It’s going to be one of the priorities that the Minister of Foreign Affairs would meet again with his counterpart in South Africa and review the early warning signal that was put in place, that has to be done while diplomatic Channels are being explored,” she said.
This comes in the wake of harassments as well as killings of Nigerians in South Africa, with the most recent being the killing of one 43-year-old Benjamin Simeon.
“One more death again in South Africa… it is becoming unbearable for Nigerians, you don’t go there and come back with body bags so we just have to do everything we have to do, to ensure that it does not escalate to that level where we start picketing and destroying property… that is not who we are,” Dabiri-Erewa stressed.
Also present at the meeting was former Big Brother Africa star, Tayo Faniran, who was recently assaulted by the South African police, and President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Daniel Akpan.
Akpan called on all Nigerians living in South Africa to return home to prevent further attacks, while also calling on South Africans in Nigeria to leave the country.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, has said protests by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), over the continued detention of their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, have become anything but civil.
Mr Adesina, who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, said this while reacting to the killing of several persons following the Shiite protest on Monday.
According to him, there is a case coming up on July 29 where El-Zakzaky would be seeking bail to go abroad for medical attention and the Shiites could have been patient for the decision of the court, rather than resorting to violence.
He further stated that the police only responded with live ammunition because the protesters were not being civil.
“The protests had become anything but civil. You saw what happened at the National Assembly on July 9… they stormed that place, set so many cars ablaze, a policeman was killed, so it was anything but civil,” he said.
“The police said all protests in Abuja had been restricted to the Unity Fountain so if they wanted a civil, peaceful protest, they would do it at the prescribed place, granted that under democracy, you have the right to protest.
“Democracy recognises civil protest and one thing you would agree to is that till now, the police had used minimum force because they could have started using those live rounds from day one because this has persisted for months”.
Speaking further, he denied reports that the government is considering proscribing the group.
“No no no… If government is considering it, who told them, who confirmed it to them. Someone may have sat in the comfort of his living room and concocted that story,” he said when asked to confirm.
When asked why the IMN leader has remained in detention despite a court order for his release in 2016, Mr Adesina said it is a legal matter.
“I know that the immediate past AGF in whose purview it was to make pronouncements on that, addressed the issue.
“If bail is granted and another case subsists or there is an immediate filing of appeal, you have to wait till it is dispensed with. So, that is a legal matter which is outside my purview but as a layman, (an unlearned man as lawyers would call us), we know that until all cases are dispensed with, you don’t say that it has been concluded,” Mr Adesina explained.
Lawyers under the aegis of Anambra State Indigenous Lawyers Forum have staged a protest outside the premises of the South Africa High Commission, Victoria Island, Lagos over the spate of killings in South Africa.
Specifically, they were protesting over the recent killing of the Deputy Director-General, of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Mrs Elizabeth Ndubisi-Chukwu.
Baring placards with different inscriptions, the lawyers took their protest through the streets of Sinari Daranijo, which houses the SA High Commission.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has condemned the recent killings across the country, saying it’s time for the government to rise up to its responsibilities and bring an end to insecurity.
The monarch who spoke to Channels Television on the sideline of an event in Omuo Ekiti on Sunday also objected to some claims that the security situation in the country is exaggerated.
He stressed the need to halt the ugly trend, insisting that the Yoruba people will strongly protect their territory and flush out “external aggressors”.
“We in Yoruba land, we are prepared to defend our environment and send away all the bad residents. We call them men of the underworld because in the past they like to operate in the night but now they even come out during the day,” he said.
“Enough is enough, we’ll come together, make ourselves one, and protect our territory very well, I repeat, very very well.”
In the same tone, a member of the House of Representatives Femi Bamisile, who hosted some stakeholders at the event said: “For us, we are going to secure our own territory without a doubt. We must start from home before we start going out.
This comes on the heels of the death of the Mrs Funke Olakunrin, a daughter of the National Leader of the Pan Yoruba Socio-political group, Afenifere, Reuben Fasoranti.
She was killed while she was travelling along the Benin-Ore Expressway at about 2:00 pm on Friday.
“The error that happened on the issue of the death of Fasoranti’s daughter will never repeat itself again in the south-west and by extension in Nigeria. Mark what I have said and see what we are taking into action,” Bamisile said in reaction.
Another Federal lawmaker, Shina Abiola-Peller believes vigilante groups will help out in the naughty security situation.
“I believe we need the vigilante as a primary source of information for our security system, and I’ll propose a bill towards that effect. We need a database for vigilante in the 8,692 wards in Nigeria.
“They are locals and they know the terrain more,” he said.
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT, GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI
I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria. Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem. The contents of this letter, therefore, should be available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions for the problem of insecurity in the land.
One of the spinoffs and accelerants is the misinformation and disinformation through the use of fake news. A number of articles, in recent days, have been attributed to me by some people who I believe may be seeking added credence and an attentive audience for their opinions and viewpoints. As you know very well, I will always boldly own what I say and disown what is put into my mouth. But the issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria. This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove. The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay. Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned. When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.
For over ten years, for four of which you have been the captain of the ship, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land and in spite of government’s claim of victory over Boko Haram, the potency and the activities of Boko Haram, where they are active, remain undiminished, putting lie to government’s claim. The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself. Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimised, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage. And Boko Haram will not go away on the basis of sticks alone, carrots must overweigh sticks. How else do you deal with issues such as only about 50% literacy in North-East with over 70% unemployment?
Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with the government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of a hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more, unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times. Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.
The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets. As a result, the very onerous cloud is gathering. And the rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome. Nothing should be taken for granted, the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country. The Presidency and the Congress in the US have signalled to us to put our house in order. The House of Lords in the UK had debated the Nigerian security situation. We must understand and appreciate the significance, implication and likely consequences of such concerns and deliberations.
No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence. It will continue to snowball until it is out of control. A stitch in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.
With the death of Funke, Chief Fasoranti’s daughter, some sympathetic Nigerian groups are saying “enough is enough”. Prof. Anya, a distinguished Nigerian merit Laureate, has this to say “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”. Niger-Delta leaders, South-Eastern leaders, Middle-Belt leaders and Northern Elders Forum have not remained quiet. Different ordinary Nigerians at home and abroad are calling for different measures to address or ameliorate the situation. All the calls and cries can only continue to be ignored at the expense of Nigerian unity, if not its continued existence.
To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:
abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;
Spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to the dismemberment of the country.
It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone. In my part of the world, if you are sharpening your cutlass and a mad man comes from behind to take the cutlass from you, you need other people’s assistance to have your cutlass back without being harmed. The madmen with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security. The need for assistance to regain control is obviously compelling and must be embraced now.
A couple of weeks ago at a public lecture, I had said, among other things, that:
“In all these issues of mobilisation for national unity, stability, security, cooperation, development, growth and progress, there is no consensus. Like in the issue of security, government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels and the outcome of such deliberations should be collated to form inputs into a national conference to come up with the solution that will effectively deal with the issues and lead to rapid development, growth and progress which will give us a wholesome society and enhanced living standard and livelihood in an inclusive and shared society. It will be a national programme. We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government. It must be owned by the citizens, people’s policy and strategy implemented by the government no matter it’s colour and leaning.
Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”
The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help. If there is a failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else. We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military – to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together. Blame game among own forces must be avoided. It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful.
For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians, I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour. May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening. As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing”.