A committee set up by the National Economic Council to “find lasting solutions to the increasing cases of killings by herdsmen across the country,” is headed by the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi.
A cross-section of Nigerians have criticised the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo panel for its decision to raise a committee to hold talks with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria in its probe of the herdsmen killings.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, had said this on Thursday at the end of a meeting of the Osinbajo committee at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Federal Government’s plan to meet with Miyetti Allah, however, has drawn the ire of different socio-political groups in the country.
Among those who faulted the move by the Federal Government are the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere; the umbrella body for the Igbo, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo; and Middle Belt groups.
Others are a chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Alhaji Mohammed Abdulrahman, and a Niger Delta activist, Annkio Briggs.
The ACF does not, however, see anything wrong with the talks the Umahi committee is to hold with the cattle breeders.
Afenifere said that though the government’s plan to meet the cattle breeders association in order to end their killings was good, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari could not be trusted.
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, warned that the Federal Government was leading the nation down the path of anarchy and lawlessness by planning to negotiate with the herdsmen, who it said had stained the nation with the blood of innocent citizens.
Odumakin slammed the Osinbajo-led panel for proposing to meet with the Miyetti Allah, saying it was unfortunate that “a professor of law would be meeting to negotiate with criminals.”
He added, “If the panel is meeting herdsmen, who are staining the country with blood, it means the Federal Government is complicit in the murder of Nigerians. They have not brought one person to book, but they are negotiating with the murderers; this is an invitation to anarchy.”
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo also questioned the objective of the dialogue with Miyetti Allah.
The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Uche Achi-Okpaga, told one of our correspondents that there was nothing to negotiate.
He stated, “What is the panel going to negotiate with the herdsmen about? Will they ask them (herdsmen) what the government should do to placate them before they will stop killing defenceless Nigerians? The setting up of the panel is simply unnecessary. It cannot achieve any result. It is the height of deceit. The panel has failed before it started.”
The President of the Middle Belt Youth Council, Emma Zopmal, said, “The government has never made an attempt to compensate the victims, yet it goes further to empower the Fulani herdsmen for killing innocent people. This is an irresponsible act on the part of the Nigerian government.”
Similarly, the President of the Berom Youth Moulders Association, Dalyop Chuwang, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the government should desist from handling security issues with kid gloves.
Chuwang added, “The sole responsibility of the government is to provide security to all citizens, regardless of tribe, religion and geopolitical region.
“The killer herdsmen should be declared as terrorists just like the Indigenous People of Biafra, which has not even launched an attack anywhere but has been tagged a terrorist group by the government.”
In the same vein, a Niger Delta activist, Ms. Annkio Briggs, expressed disapproval with the negotiation plans by the Federal Government.
Also, a member of the National Executive Council of Arewa Consultative Forum, Mohammed Abdulrahman, said, “If Buhari wants to do something, he should order the military to tackle the matter. He should ask them (herdsmen) not to come into Nigeria because they are not Nigerians.”
The Secretary General of the ACF, Anthony Sani, however, cautioned Nigerians against criminalising the Fulani.
He said, “Miyetti Allah is an umbrella body of herdsmen, but that does not suggest that the majority of its members are criminals who perpetuate the crimes of killing innocent people, including children who are not party to the feud.”
The ACF secretary noted that the plan of the Federal Government to negotiate with the warring parties, especially the herdsmen, did not amount to endorsing the killings.
One of the leading headlines of Saturday Vanguard Newspaper, July 22, 2017 is Aregbesola has damaged Tinubu badly credited to Afenifere scribe, Hon Oladipo Olaitan. The interview is a calculated attempt to blackmail Governor Rauf Aregbesola and create problem between Aregbesola and his political leader, Asiwaju Tinubu. The interview showed that Hon Olaitan is jealous of Aregbesola’s achievements in Osun state and his closeness to Tinubu. Hon Olaitan is aware of past and present developments in Osun state. He has deliberately resorted to cheap propaganda, mischief and blackmail to cause division between Asiwaju Tinubu and Aregbesola. The fact is that Hon Olaitan has lost relevance in Nigeria politics because he is purblind to the realities in Osun state (please visit www.osunsukukprojects.com)
Hon Olaitan’s interview was an attempt to blackmail Governor Aregbesola. Any dutiful and objective appraisal of the issues arising from the interview would agree with me that Hon Olaitan was really out to denigrate Aregbesola for intentions that had nothing to do with the public interests of Osun state and Nigerians. I am appalled by the deliberate attempt by Hon Olaitan to cause division between Asiwaju Tinubu and Aregbesola. I find it ridiculously baseless and mischievous the ranting of once upon a time leader. This can only be part of the unrelenting campaign of calumny and the ceaseless peddling of pernicious propaganda against Governor Aregbesola.
Aregbesola’s preoccupation has been and continues to be how to deliver on his promised rescue Agenda to the good people of Osun since he came to office. And he has received applause and commendations from far and near for being so focused and unrelenting in the pursuit of his vision for the state.
Aregbesola will not be distracted by any form of organised and orchestrated blackmail from any quarters, God willing; he will continue to deliver on his promises.
Hon Olaitan has made calculated statements to undermine and distort present developments in Osun state. He is peddling inaccuracies, misleading and calculated mischief about Osun state in an attempt to blackmail Governor Aregbesola and set him on a collision course with the people and Asiwaju Tinubu. Olaitan was fixated on matters of power, rather than issues that will benefit the Osun people. There is an obvious attempt to blackmail Aregbesola, paint him as an irresponsible leader, one not concerned with the welfare of the people, and set the Governor against Asiwaju on matters of power rather than issues that benefit the Osun people. This is clearly a bitterness syndrome being display by a spent politician whose belief in political expediency is based only on self-gain and not the people. How on earth a supposed elder statesman would refute developmental strides being experience in Osun?
Hon Olaitan’s interview is misinforming the people by claiming that Aregbesola has damaged Tinubu badly. This statement credited to Hon Olaitan, clearly showed that he is uninformed and a mischief maker. I understand Olaitan’s grievances that ‘’Afenifere was the rallying point for all of us, but no sooner than we all won the election, everybody started to have peculiar interests.Idiosyncrasies of each person started to play out, and then some people were either with Tinubu or with Afenifere. I stayed with Afenifere and will never bite the finger that fed me. I have nothing against Tinubu, absolutely nothing, but I just could not…it was difficult for me to understand that I would abandon my old ship and join another person. That was how the little difference emerged, and we were carrying on and carrying on, but in the party we knew ourselves. You were either for Tinubu or main Afenifere, and I was known to be main Afenifere. Of course, he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Tinubu being the governor, he would say he is the leader of the party and had the presence of those he says believed in him and by his own calculation, I could not have believed in him if I would still stay in Afenifere. Naturally, when people were to be returned, I was not returned because I did not belong. And up till today, I thank God that I am the National Financial Secretary of Afenifere and if my race gives me a particular position to hold for them, I will believe that I am holding it in trust for them. Like when I was in the National Assembly I saw myself as leading the Yoruba Race in the National Assembly.’’
My question now is how can Aregbesola badly damage Tinubu? In what sense? I want to advise Hon Olaitan to go for psychological test because his interview was not coherent and it lacks basic facts about Aregbesola. If there is anything that Hon Olaitan wants from Tinubu, he should go straight to him instead of smearing the name of Aregbesola to gain cheap popularity. In his interview Hon Olaitan admitted that he is not popular that he relied on Afenifere to win election in 1999 and it is obvious he cannot distinguish between the past and present developments in Osun State. Hon Olaitan is ignorant of recent negative developments in the Nigerian economy which continues to face serious macroeconomic challenges and is in a recession for the first time in decades. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2016 was estimated at -1.5%, with a moderate recovery expected in 2017. This is attributed to a series of shocks, including the continued decline in oil prices, foreign exchange shortages, disruptions in fuel supply and sharp reduction in oil production, power shortages, and insecurity in some parts of the country, as well as low capital budget execution rate (51%).
Inwalomhe Donald, writes from Benin City
Afenifere Renewal Group mourns the passing of one of its key members, Dipo Famakinwa, the pioneer Director-General of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission.
In a statement jointly signed by its chairman, Hon. Olawale Oshun, and secretary, Ayo Afolabi, ARG said Famakinwa’s death is a huge loss to all of us in ARG, the entire Southwest region and all Yoruba people worldwide.
In the statement, Famakinwa was described as a single-minded passionate believer in the wellbeing and social development of the ordinary citizen, a cause for which he left his thriving private business to serve.
According to the statement, ARG in pursuit of its objective to reenact the development-focused and welfarist minded philosophies of the Awolowo era midwived two major institutions – the Yoruba Academy and DAWN Commission and as a devoted and committed member of the body, Famakinwa played key roles, with other members, in the planning and founding of these institutions.
“The DAWN Agenda may have remained a document on the shelves, like many of such in Nigeria but Famakinwa, following the adoption of the Commission by the Southwest governors, worked hard to give life to it and nurtured the seed to a blossoming tree that is now the model and go-to place as far as regional integration in Nigeria is concerned,” the statement said.
“The renewed fervor by Southwest states regarding regional integration and cooperation, which has led to smooth cooperation among Southwest governors, is largely due to the work put in by the DAWN Commission under Famakinwa’s leadership.”
“We take solace in the fact that he has written his name in the golden pages of our history. We in ARG and millions of other Yoruba people across the world will not forget his contributions to the development of our people.”
Following up on condemning the police’s arrest of Yoruba indigenes on the recent ethnic clash in Ile Ife, Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has said it will mobilise about 100 lawyers to defend the 20 indigenes of Ile-Ife, who were arrested and transferred to Abuja.
Earlier on Monday, The pan-Yoruba group had faulted the fact that no Hausa/Fulani suspect was included among the suspects involved in the Ile- Ife violence. All 20 suspects, are Yoruba people, including a traditional ruler, Oba Ademola Ademiluyi, the Lawarikan of Apojeland, were paraded in Abuja at The Police Force Headquarters.
Afenifere said it objected seriously to the parade of the “so-called suspects in Abuja that is hundreds of miles away from the scene of the conflict “We reject the one-eyed Magistrate that the police have become in this matter and which is as a result of the ethnic composition of the police presently”.
In a new statement released by the group, Afenifere said it would resist the undue deployment of federal troops in the South-West to settle ethnic scores. “Following the illegal, unconstitutional and sectional parade of 20 Ife indigenes over the recent clashes between the host community and Arewa settlers, Afenifere has vowed to resist the undue deployment of federal might to settle ethnic scores.
“As a first step in this regard, we have assembled a powerful team of lawyers to enforce the fundamental human rights of the 20 abducted Yoruba persons.
“It is a settled law that the investigation and trial of suspects must take place at the scene of the crime. We are appreciative of the many lawyers of Yoruba extraction who have taken up this challenge pro bono.
“The legal team will challenge this subversion of due process while political pressure continues on why two communities will be involved in a fight and only members of one community will be put on trial by a police whose leadership is of the same ethnic group with the other party in the conflict.
“We restate the fact that the Arewa group started the killings in Ife by killing a Yoruba young man. This is clearly missing in the skewed report by the police.
“We appeal to our people to be calm while we pursue the legal angle to this challenge to our pride as a people as the first step.”
The pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, on Monday, faulted the fact that no Hausa/Fulani suspect was included among the suspects involved in the Ile- Ife violence. All 20 suspects, are Yoruba people, including a traditional ruler, Oba Ademola Ademiluyi, the Lawarikan of Apojeland, were paraded in Abuja at The Police Force Headquarters.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said 38 suspects were earlier arrested, detained and investigated, out of which 18 persons, who were not involved in the violence, were released. The Police also denied targeting any ethnic group, claiming that all suspects were apprehended based on investigations.
There was no explanation however about why none of the Hausa traders, who allegedly started the fracas and killed some residents, were not among the suspects in the violence that reportedly claimed 46 lives and injured over 90 residents, some of who are still hospitalised.
The police spokesman explained that one Kuburat Eluwole triggered the violence when she allegedly slapped one Abubakar Mohammed in the course of an argument. Her husband then reportedly had thugs attack Hausa residents in the area.
Faulting the police, Afenifere said it objected seriously to the parade of the “so-called suspects in Abuja that is hundreds of miles away from the scene of the conflict.
“The Abuja show is undue sectional deployment of federal might to intimidate and harass a party in the conflict. It is direct fallout of the threat of the Interior Minister (Abdulrahaman Danbazzau) after he visited Ife.
“The minister is not on record to have visited any scene of conflict where Fulani herdsmen have inflicted ‘massacres’ on their host communities in the Southern and Middle Belt communities since he was appointed.
“The Ife crisis was sparked by the beheading of a Yoruba vulcaniser and the subsequent parade of his severed head on a pole. How come there is no member of the Arewa community paraded by the police?
“We reject the one-eyed Magistrate that the police have become in this matter and which is as a result of the ethnic composition of the police presently.
“We demand the immediate transfer of the suspects to Osun state. We will resist this ethnic vengeance through the police except we see arrests of the Fulani aggressors in the Ife conflict.”
Afenifere, a leading socio-cultural group has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to show respect for human life and condemn the violence and killings in southern Kaduna believed to be orchestrated by Fulani herdsmen.
This is following a report by the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan in Kaduna, which disclosed that a total of 808 people were killed in 53 villages across four local governments in the state. The report also revealed that 57 people were injured, farm produce estimated at N5.5 billion were destroyed, and 1,422 houses and 16 churches burnt.
In a statement by its leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the group urged the president to set up an inquiry into the killings to identify the remote and immediate causes, identify the perpetrators and also compel Governor Nasir El-Rufai to disclose all the killers he has interfaced with and compensated so that they can be brought to trial. The group also demanded that the victims be compensated.
Afenifere also asked Mr. President to instruct security agencies accused of taking sides in the conflicts to perform their duties fairly.
The statement read in parts: “It grieves us that the Federal Government has been quiet on these killings, relying on the governor of the state who has openly confessed that he looked out for the killers to compensate them because they are of the same ethnic stock with him.
“A state of emergency ought to have been declared in Kaduna as the governor, by that claim, can no longer be trusted to perform his constitutional duty of protecting the lives and property of all citizens.”
Afenifere condemned a statement credited by the spokesman of the President, Mr. Femi Adesina that Buhari had been quiet on the killings because he could not speak on every issue.
“How can the killings of citizens in hundreds be ‘every issue’? Has our President not sent messages to other countries where tragedies of lesser proportion occurred?
“When Mr. President was to visit Bauchi a few days ago and couldn’t make the trip because of bad weather, did he not speak directly to the people in Hausa language?
“The disappointment the people of Bauchi experienced over cancellation of a visit cannot be compared in any way to the sorrows, pains and anguish of the people of Southern Kaduna.
Also, the Bishop of Kaduna Diocese of Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev Timothy Yahaya yesterday urged Buhari to declare a national day of
mourning over the killing of innocent citizens.
The Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, lawyers and some human rights groups have strongly kicked against the recent invasion of the homes of judges and the arrest of over four of them by the Department of State Services.
According to them, the actions of the DSS showed that Nigeria had returned to the harsh military era, including the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari in 1984.
DSS and police operatives had on Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday raided the residences of senior judges, and disclosed the discovery of huge amounts of raw cash which are to be used as evidence against the judges when arraigned.
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, while reacting to the development however said, “It is executive lawlessness and usurpation of investigative functions of the judicial arm of government. It was not done with the authority of the National Judicial Council as stipulated in our constitution.
“We are certainly descending into a deeper dictatorship trajectory than we have ever witnessed in our polity even during military interregnum.
“If judges can come under this raw show of naked power, what would be the fate of the everyday citizens? This is a new low never witnessed in our country and all lovers of justice, democracy and decency must condemn this barbaric act.”
Also, a lawyer and President of Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Malachy Ugwummadu, said it was a “misadventure too many and will be decisively resisted by all well-meaning Nigerians.”
He stated, “If left unchecked, they will invade the hallowed precincts of our courts and desecrate them even during sittings. President Buhari must therefore rise to the occasion and call for a full briefing into the circumstances of this breach of public peace, and obstruction of public officers in the discharge of their duties.”
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Adegboyega Awomolo, described the invasion as the height of corruption.
Awomolo said, “Let the good people of the world note that this is a move to demystify, denigrate and ridicule the judiciary after humiliating the legislature.
“What the executive is doing is not fighting corruption but promoting recklessness and impunity. Supreme Court justices are not absconding criminals to be harassed, attacked and whisked away in the night. This is barbaric and unacceptable.”
Leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Reuben Fasoranti has described the Grazing Commission Bill proposed by the National Assembly to address the incessant crisis between farmers and Fulani herdsmen across the country as “anti-people.”
Addressing newsmen in Akure, the Ondo State capital, Fasoranti said the bill which empowered the commission to acquire any land anywhere in the country, if enacted would violate the Land Use Act and traditional means of land holding.
Fasoranti alleged that the proposed bill was being sponsored to favour the business of the Fulani herdsmen at the expense of the farmers whose farms were being destroyed.
“We reject any law that would rob the citizens of their possessions and award to another set of citizens as this offensive bill attempts to do. That is against the principle of natural justice, ”
“It is also against federal principle for the government of the federation to therefore want to violate the rights of other sections of the country to please a group from an ethnic unit over and above the interest of other over 400 ethnic groups.”
Fasoranti while calling on all federal lawmakers from the south and Nigerians in general to join Afenifere in rejecting the bill, declared that the group would not keep quiet until true federalism takes root in the country
He said, “We stand with the decision of the of the 2014 National Conference which recommended the scrapping of grazing route for the establishment of ranches.”
Noting that the system of roaming animals all over the country was no more acceptable, Fasoranti admonished President Muhammadu Buhari to embrace the ranching system in order to put an end to the persistent dispute between farmers and Fulani herdsmen across the country.