Herdsmen from different parts of Nigeria have stated that nobody can stop them from grazing their cattle in any part of the country, especially in the south. They described such restriction as unconstitutional.
The nomads, who spoke to SUNDAY PUNCH under the auspices of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, dismissed the ultimatums given by different groups for the herdsmen to vacate the southern part of the country.
This is despite the fact that groups, including foremost Yoruba farmers’ pressure group and ethnic militia, Agbekoya Farmers Association of Nigeria in the South-West; the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (South-East); the Independent Peoples of Biafra (South-East); and some ex-Niger Delta militants in the South-South, stated their readiness to defend their territories should herdsmen attack their communities again.
Suspected Fulani herdsmen, who grazed their cattle from the northern part of the country to the southern part, had been accused of killing, raping and robbing members of their host communities.
The Enugu incident, where several lives were lost, was the most recent.
But the herdsmen, in separate interviews with our correspondents on Saturday, noted that it was wrong for people to restrict their movement as the constitution guaranteed their movement into any part of the country.
The Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Plateau State, Mr. Nuru Abdullahi, said nobody could deprive Fulani herdsmen of their constitutional right of free movement.
Abdullahi said, “Why would they ask them not to go to the southern part of the country? It is their constitutional right to move freely as guaranteed by the laws of the land. What the various governments and security agencies should do is to prevent attacks and counter-attacks and such things that breed violence like cattle rustling and trespassing into farmlands.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees freedom of movement for every citizen of the country; this includes the right to live, work and carry out any legitimate activity in any part of the country. If and when you breach this freedom, then, the law should deal with you. So, asking anybody not to go to any part of the country is unconstitutional.”
Also, the Chairman, MCBAN, North-West Zone, Mr. Ardo Ahmadu Suleiman, warned against criminalising all Fulani herdsmen over the attacks.
He said, “We are law abiding citizens of Nigeria. The constitution forbids anybody or group from banning anybody’s movement from one part of the country to another. We have been staying peacefully with tribes across the country for ages. Therefore, for anyone to say he wants to ban Fulani from entering their land is uncalled for.”
However, several socio-cultural and militia groups in the southern part of the country on Saturday stated their readiness to reject the invasion of their communities by Fulani herdsmen.
Agbekoya gave the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum to stop the incessant attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen on farmers in Yorubaland even as it vowed to retaliate any attack on its members.
The position of the group was made known by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olatunji Bandele, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Saturday.
According to Bandele, if the Federal Government fails to act decisively within the stipulated time, the Agbekoya will have to defend its people with whatever means at its disposal.
Bandele said the association held an emergency meeting last Thursday where it discussed the incessant onslaught by Fulani herdsmen against Yoruba farmers, especially in the Oke Ogun area of Oyo State.
He stated that if the situation was not brought under control, the group would “close down all markets in the South West; make sure that Fulani herdsmen do not enter any village in Yoruba land with their cows. And if they dare enter, they are doing it at their own risk.
“We have alerted Agbekoya South West warriors across Yorubaland to be battle ready in case the Fulani herdsmen do not heed our warning because this thing has continued for the past four to five years now.”
Bandele added, “We have other security measures that we are taking but keeping to ourselves. If the Fulani herdsmen failed to heed our warning and they dare enter Yorubaland, they will be doing so at their own risk. We are waiting for the Federal Government to take decisive action.”
The deadline, he added, started to read from last Thursday.
Asked if the group was now arming its members against the reported sophisticated fire arms of the suspected herdsmen, Bandele said, “We are not bothered with whether they carry arms or not, we will deal with the Fulani herdsmen hands down. We have done it before. The Agbekoya fought a 14-month war with the military. That was in 1968/69. We have instructed our warriors. Anywhere they kill farmers again, we will move in.”
Asked what the association would do per chance any part of Yoruba land was attacked, he said, “We will retaliate.”
The leader of MASSOB, Mr. Uchenna Madu, lamented that Igbo people had been “talking and talking” while they watched their people being killed. He stated that it was time for “action” to end killings by herdsmen.
Madu said, “The Fulani herdsmen are cowards. After the recent attacks, they ran away. If they mean business, let them wait for Ndi’gbo and we will engage them man-to-man.
“It will be demeaning to ask us if we have the capability to confront them.”
IPOB, another Igbo secessionist group which dismissed security agencies as failing to secure the people, alleged that Boko Haram had been disguising as herdsmen to attack parts of the country.
The Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful, stated that the group would not be at the forefront of reprisals against criminal herdsmen in the region but would encourage those under attack to defend and retaliate in self defence.
He said, “The world is watching IPOB; the plan was for us to retaliate the attacks by Fulani herdsmen but we will not do so. Rather, we will ask those who are under attack to defend themselves or get killed.
“The international rule is that you have the right to self defence if your life is under threat; security agencies know that. Face whatever or whoever is going to kill you or you die.”
Another Yoruba group, Oodua Peoples Congress, said although the Yoruba were perceived as accommodating, the group would not sit by and pretend as if all was well.
The National Coordinator of the OPC, Mr. Gani Adams, told one of our correspondents in a telephone interview that the attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the region had gone out of hand.
Adams said, “Nowadays, it is becoming too rampant in the South-West. Now, nobody is provoking the Fulani herdsmen; they are the ones taking laws into their hands, killing and maiming innocent people in their (victims’) communities.
“These Fulani herdsmen may even be Boko Haram in disguise. If government is looking at this as if they are an influential tribe or race in Nigeria and that they can’t tackle it, it may become a very serious security treat.
“We the Yoruba think that we are highly accommodating and that if a stranger who is living in our community has committed an offence, the law should take its own course. But I know for sure that the South-East will not allow their people to be maimed.”
The Chairman of MCBAN in Bauchi State, Abdullahi Abubakar, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the association was planning to hold an emergency executive meeting on Monday or Tuesday to discuss the issues affecting herdsmen.
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria and the National Association of Nigerian Students have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to come out boldly and tackle the problem.
The Chairman of CAN in the 19 Northern States, Rev. Yakubu Pam, said the President needed to be courageous in tackling his own people and condemning their terrible activities. - Punch
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said it was with sadness and a deep feeling of personal and national loss that he received the news of the death of the Emir of Borgu, Alhaji Haliru Dantoro, Kitoro III.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President extended condolences to the bereaved on behalf of himself, the Federal Government and all Nigerians.
Buhari particularly commiserated with the late Emir’s family and the people of Borgu Emirate over whom he said the deceased ruled for many years with “commendable wisdom, benevolence and an uncommon dedication to duty.”
The President also commiserated with the government and people of Niger State on the death of the traditional ruler who he said would be long remembered and honoured for his notable contributions to the development of his community, state and country,
The statement read in part, “The President joins them in mourning Alhaji Haliru, a friend and associate of many years, with whom he shared the vision of a peaceful, politically stable, united, progressive and prosperous Nigeria to which every citizen will be proud to belong.
“President Buhari will forever treasure his memories of the late Emir as a great patriot, indefatigable unifier and bridge-builder who did his utmost best as a political leader and traditional ruler to strengthen the bonds that bind all Nigerians together in the interest of national peace, harmony and progress.
“The President prays that Almighty Allah will receive Alhaji Haliru’s soul and grant his people a worthy successor who will build on the laudable legacies of his life of service to community and country.”
Agric and Natural Resources Audu Ogbeh (Benue)
Agric and Natural Resources Geoffrey Onyema (Enugu)
Attorney General, James Ocholi (Kogi)
Aviation Sen Hadi Sirika (Katsina)
Defence Abdulrahman Dambazau(Kano)
Defence (State) Dan Ali (Zamfara)
Education . Isaac Adewole (Osun)
FCT (State) Solomon Dalong (Plateau)
Federal Capital Territory Abubakar Bawa Bwari (Niger)
Finance Okechukwu Enelamah (Abia)
Finance (State) Kemi Adeosun (Ogun)
Foreign Affairs . Kayode Fayemi- (Ekiti)
Foreign Affairs (State) Adamu Adamu (Bauchi)
Health Osagie Ehanire (Edo)
Information, Communication Technology Lai Mohammed (Kwara)
Interior Cladius Omoleye Daramola (Ondo)
Labour Prof Anthony Onwuka (Imo)
Mines and Steel Development Abubakar Malami (Kebbi)
National Planning Amina Mohammed (Gombe)
Niger Delta Affairs Rotimi Amaechi
Niger Delta Affairs (State) Pastor Usani Uguru (Cross River)
Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu (Delta)
Police Affairs Chris Ngige (Anambra)
Power Babatunde Fashola (Lagos)
Sports & Youth Development Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa)
Trade and Investment Udo Udo Udoma (Akwa Ibom)
Trade and Investment (State) Zainab Ahmed (Kaduna)
Women Affairs Hajia Khadija Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe)
Works & Transport Ogbonaya Onu- (Ebonyi)
Works (State) Barr. Adebayo Shittu (Oyo)
Two siblings have died in a kerosene explosion in Akwa State. Three persons, including their father, were injured. An eyewitness said the incident occurred at Ikono Ibom in Uyo Local Government.
The injured victim, Mr. Michael Nsikak, a tricycle operator and father of three, sustained burns. His two children died in the explosion.
Nsikak, who also operates a poultry near his home at Ikot Enyingne Ikono, said: “I bought kerosene from a filling station on Idoro Road after closing from my tricycle (keke) business.
“When I got home, I lit the lantern in my poultry, to keep my chicken warm. Later, when the lantern wanted to go off, following the exhaustion of kerosene, I refilled it with the product.
“My children were with me. As I attempted to light the lantern, there was an explosion. The fire made me to become unconscious.”
The Nation learnt that one of the children died a few hours after the incident and the second the following day at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH).
The Chairman of Uyo Local Government Transition Committee, Ben Mfon and his wife, Bridget, visited the victim at the hospital.
A woman from the same community and her three-month old baby were also hospitalised as a result of kerosene explosion.
Mfon condoled with them and advised the public to be cautious and vigilant.
He assured residents that the perpetrators of the unwholesome act would be arrested.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State has praised Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for his performance.
In a statement by its spokesman, Taofiq Gani, the party said: “Without adopting the government of Ambode, at least we can now see signs of government presence in some erstwhile abandoned areas under former Governor Babatunde Fashola.”
The PDP advised President Muhammadu Buhari against relying on the unverified claims of achievements of Fashola because the former governor had the notorious style and practice of promoting mediocrity, propaganda and inappropriate speculation.
In the party’s opinion, Fashola remains a misfit as a lawyer to occupy such combined ministries of engineering specialities.
It said: “This patriotic advice is on the heels of the minister celebrating a proposed injection of a mere 30 megawatts of power from the Gurara-hydro power plant, when indeed the minister has collected monumental funding well enough to have injected over 500 megawatts into the National Grid.
“The attempt by Fashola to celebrate a mere 30 megawatts is laughable and infuriating because Fashola should rather admit failure and feel sober having mismanaged the Power Ministry to now cause a drop of supply from over 6,000 megawatts when he took over to now less than 2,000 megawatts.
“We sincerely advise President Buhari to be wary of the deceptive skills of Fashola, who will usually hype and celebrate even mediocrity.
“The minister has a penchant for misrepresenting facts of his achievements in government and would always rationalise obvious inadequacies. As governor, he enjoyed unprecedented revenue and donations, yet left many services untouched or unfinished.”
“He however deliberately funded his pro-fashola media and commentators so much that pseudo and exaggerated achievements were ascribed to him. He employed this model to promote his eight years government of mediocrity. “Fashola ended up making Lagos the biggest debtor with local and foreign debts well over N1 trillion.”
Former House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Bankole yesterday said any economic reform to transform a nation can’t be designed and executed by a government in four years.
Bankole said it would take at least seven years for an economic reform or policy to yield returns, and submitted that President Muhammadu Buhari needs time to fix the ailing economy.
The ex-Speaker spoke on Sunday evening in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, while delivering the fifth anniversary lecture of the Ijebu News Xtra magazine.
He added that the President is “doing a thankless job” to fix Nigeria.
The magazine, published by a celebrity reporter, Dayo Rufai, had, as its anniversary lecture: “Ogun State: Stimulating Youth Enterpreneurship Potential in a Recession.”
Bankole noted that the answer to recession is not in any textbook but in the willingness of Nigerians to make the right “sacrifices today for a better tomorrow”.
“I feel sorry for President Buhari. He can’t solve the problem in four years. He needs a second term. No economic reform or policy can be formulated and implemented to produce the expected results within four years, it will take at least seven years.
“He is doing a thankless job, now like the teachers. No magic or miracle about this, we have to do the work and the government needs support. It is a long distance race.
“The question is what are you prepared to sacrifice? What risks are you going to take to make Nigeria better? We must make sacrifices to make the country work,” Bankole said.
According to the former Speaker, technocrats sourced from the relatively stable World Bank can’t fit adequately or effectively as handlers or managers of the economy, which is volatile.
He added that though he had not given up his ambition to seek an elective office, it would not take much away from him should he decide not to pursue the ambition tomorrow.
Bankole said God has been kind and merciful to him, noting that he will remain eternally grateful to him, the people of Ogun State and Nigerians for giving him the opportunity to serve the nation.
He urged the youth to make the right sacrifices, learn trade and leave a legacy people would be proud of.
Nsukka Anglican Diocese, Enugu State, yesterday expressed concern over the decay of some roads in the South-East part of the country, saying that the neglect has affected negatively on the wellbeing of the people of the zone. This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its eighth synod with the theme:
“The Return of the Ark,” held at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Nsukka Local Government Area, signed by the Rt. Rev. Aloysius Agbo, Bishop of Nsukka Diocese and President of the synod and Ven. Chinedu Onah, clerical synod secretary.
The synod expressed dismay that 9th Mile- Makurdi Road, Enugu- Onitsha Expressway and Enugu-Port-Harcourt Road had become a death trap causing avoidable accidents and making motorists stay hours on the road as a result of the bad state of the roads.
“Federal Government should urgently intervene to fix these roads as well as improve on the well-being of South-East residents,” it said. It also condemned the recent attack on Nimbo community in Uzo- Uwani Council Area, where suspected herdsmen attacked the community, killing many and injuring others.
The synod also called on law enforcement agencies to expedite action in bringing the perpetrators to justice.- New Telegraph
The Ijaw people of the Niger Delta yesterday described as meaningless any dialogue on the Niger Delta crisis that has no consideration for restructuring the country. Such an exercise, they said would be in futility.
The people also described as disappointing, the meeting held by pan-Niger Delta Dialogue Team led by Chief Edwin Clark with the United States Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Homeland Rights, Dr. Sarah Sewall in Abuja, saying that the issues canvassed at the parley seemed to be a prelude to what South-South leaders will present to the Federal Government at the forthcoming dialogue being convened by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Ijaw in a joint statement by some groups; Foundation for Human Rights and Anti- Corruption Crusade; Ijaw Human Rights Monitors, Niger Delta Security Watch Organisation and Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, said the Niger Delta people want a restructuring of the country that would usher in political autonomy and resource ownership by the component states.
Meanwhile, foremost activist in the Niger Delta, Paul Bebenimibo, yesterday declared today’s meeting between leaders from the oil rich region and President Buhari over the lingering crisis in the region as an exercise in futility without the participation of former militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo.