Why I Stand With Buhari By Femi Adesina

These are very difficult times in our country. Sad, mournful and dolorous times, as the New Year opened with killings in Rivers, Kaduna, Taraba, and Benue states, among others. Of course, there had been gruesome carnage on the Mambilla plateau mid last year, and bloodletting in Numan, Adamawa State, as well as in other places. Hell suddenly seemed to have enlarged itself against Nigeria. Sincere condolences to those who are grieving and mourning the loss of loved ones.

But instead of finding solutions, and joining to chart the way forward, some people are making political capital out of the killings. They are trying to use the orgy of bloodshed to advance their political interests, wanting to make it appear that it is a failure of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Faults are thick where love is thin. There is prejudice in Nigeria. Plenty. There is insularity, in prodigious quantity. There is animus, antipathy against anyone that is not of your ethnic or religious stock, or that belongs to a different political orientation or persuasion. If you meet him, kill him, if you can’t catch him, poison his footsteps, seems to be the singsong among some people. And as the build up to general elections next year gathers momentum, matters are made worse. Everything must be politicized, including wanton killings. There must be spurious handshakes across the Niger, and across the Benue, all for political gains.

But I stand with Buhari, and will always do. Why won’t you? Your snout is in the honeypot, licking the nectars of office, some cynics would say. Really? My bank balances do not indicate so. It is not just about money. It is about conviction. It is about believing in a man who can bring enduring change to our country, if we allow God to have His way through him.
Standing with Buhari through thick and thin is not about money, or the spoils of office, which are not even available in these lean times. In or out of my present position, I stand with Buhari. Sir Walter Scott wrote: “Other people’s resolutions may fluctuate on the wild and changeful billows of human opinion. Ours, now and forever, are anchored on the Rock of Ages.” In or out of government, I stand with Buhari. Why? You will get to know shortly.

There is strident attempt to defame, demean and de-market the Buhari government today. Who are those behind it? The crooks, thieves, freeloaders, who want business as usual. They hate probity. Their souls abhor accountability. They prefer the plunder of the past years, and can’t wait to see that epoch return. They engage in all sorts of misinformation and disinformation. Hate speeches. Fake news. Under us, you had leeks, onions and garlic to eat. You were fed manna till you wanted no more. When you were tired of the fluffy stuff, we gave you meat, you gorged yourself so much, till meat began to come out of your noses. They wouldn’t tell you about what William Shakespeare calls “the goodly apple, but rotten at the cheek.”

They won’t tell you about humongous amounts of money made from oil, which stood at over $100 dollars per barrel for about six years, and which they looted to the last cent. Foreign reserves; depleted. Excess Crude Account; looted. Federation Account; plundered. They turned the country to a wasteland, leaving an economy primed for recession. But deftly and sure-footed, the Buhari administration is building a new foundation for the economy, erecting an edifice that will stand the test of time, not a bubble that collapses with just a pinprick, not a will-o-the-wisp that vanishes in the midday sun.

That is why I stand with Buhari, and have stood with him since he was a military leader in the 1980s. I can trust this President. I can go to bed, knowing that my leader is not striking deals to fleece the country in the dead of night. I can trust that every money that comes into the coffers of Nigeria, will be used for the good of Nigerians. Am I saying it is a perfect administration? Such has not been forged from the smithy of the divine powers.

Every human enterprise will have its shortcomings, but on Buhari I still stand. I stand with him, and by him, any day.

Some people ask themselves: can we afford to be outside government for another four years from 2019? We would be dead! No access to the public treasury, which we know how well to abuse and plunder? To ravage and savage. They have spat into the sky, and collected the spittle with their faces. Rather than let Buhari be, we would employ all the tricks in the books. Defame, demean, de-market him. Is he not Fulani? He is supporting herdsmen causing murder and mayhem round the country. Trumpet it from the rooftops, even without a scintilla of evidence. He is sectional, and bent on Islamizing the country. He is fighting a one sided anti-corruption war. His war against insurgency is a fluke, not winnable.

They refuse to see massive investments in infrastructure, which would burst into full bloom in another year or two. Roads, rail, power. They refuse to see the rebounding economy, strides in agriculture and mining, all with good auguries for the future. They refuse to acknowledge the stock market, which recently recorded N15.78 trillion, the highest in the history of the country. What of N1.3 trillion spent on capital projects in 2016? And almost the same amount for 2017? No, they rather imagine how much of that amount they would have pocketed if they were in power, living in obscene luxury, while the rest of the country went to hell, if it wanted. They refuse to see the good things happening to the country. And none is as blind as those who deliberately refuse to see. All these and more are the reasons I stand with Buhari, and will always do. So that Nigeria can have a future and a hope. Our own Canaan, flowing with milk and honey.

After primitive fury was unleashed in Benue, and about 73 people were left dead, a sitting President eyeing reelection could also play politics with it, visiting and muttering the right words to impress the people. Nothing wrong. But for President Buhari, action speaks louder than words. Action stations, he told the security agencies. The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations was first despatched, then the Minister of Interior, the Inspector General of Police himself, and then the Nigerian Army. Consultations were held with the governor of the state, with Benue elders, and now, a committee headed by the Vice President, made up of nine governors, has been set up to proffer solutions to farmers/herdsmen clashes. Action truly speaks louder than words.

President Buhari has not thrown his hat officially into the ring for a second term in office. But they are in mortal fear of him running. Therefore, they do all they can to dissuade him. Malign him, paint him black, devalue him before the electorate. But they don’t know that there are many devices in the hearts of men, but only the counsel of God shall stand. If God has ordained President Buhari to be in power beyond 2019, human effort to stop it can only end in futility.

I stand with Buhari, because it is solid ground for Nigeria. All other ground I see, at least for now, is sinking sand. For us, for our children, for generations yet unborn, Buhari is engendering a new country, whose builder and maker is God. Let the wailers wail; endlessly. Let the heathens rage; till they render themselves hoarse. Let them throw even the kitchen sink at him, they did worse in the build up to 2015. I stand with Buhari. I know his heart for Nigeria, and for Nigerians. Let people shed their prejudices. Let them eschew hate, and purge themselves of all malice. The future can only then be written in gold.

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

We Are Still Living In Fear, Ortom Tells APC Govs

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue, on Friday, said that people of the state live in fear and still under siege of Fulani herdsmen.

Ortom stated this while receiving northern and All Progressive Congress governors led by the chairman, governors forum, Shetima Kashim, at the new banquet hall, Makurdi.

In attendance were five governors; Shetima Kashim, (Borno), Simon Lalong, (Plateau), Mallam El Rufai, (Kaduna), Yahaya Bello, (Kogi) and Mohamad Abubakar, (Jigawa) as well as deputy governor of Osun state, Chief Mrs Grace Titilayo Tomori.

Ortom said that the fear of the people stemmed from continuous threat by the herdsmen who despite the killings still issued threat on daily basis to take over Benue land.

According to him, “we thank God that peace is gradually returning to the state but there are still pockets of challenges here, we know the challenges will soon be over because our people are always alert to give useful information to security operatives around”.

“Let me tell you that our people are still living in fear and under siege; living in fear because of the series of threat by Kautal Hore which started the threat since seven months ago, they are not mere threat.

“We have evidence against them, what we are saying is that federal government should arrest the leadership of Kautal Hore”.

Governor Ortom who appreciated the visit said that the state is committed to one Nigeria and assured president Buhari of the state’ s committed to his administration.

The governor, however, expressed confidence that Nigeria will soon take its rightful position as the giant of Africa if leaders are sincere and stand by the truth.

“This country is blessed with great potentials to be great in the world and that is if we leaders should stop pretending but stand by the truth.”

BREAKING: Six Killed In Fresh Attacks On Benue Communities

Suspected herdsmen have killed six people in fresh attacks on Benue communities.

The attacks were said to have been on communities in Logo, Guma and Okpokwu Local Government Areas of Benue State.

Governor Samuel Ortom confirmed the attacks on Wednesday when he received a former military administrator of the state, Brigadier General Dominic Oneya (retd), at the Government House in Makurdi.

Oneya (rtd) had led a delegation on a condolence visit to the governor.

Fulani Herdsmen: OAU Campus Editors Condemn Killing Of Nigerians

By Sodiq Lawal

The National Association of Nigerian Campus Editors, NANCE, Obafemi Awolowo University branch, has condemned the killing of innocent Nigerians by herdsmen in Benue State and other parts of the country.

This was disclosed in a press statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the association, Mr Adejumo Kabir, and made available to our correspondent on Tuesday.

According to the release, “It is important to note that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and the inability of the Federal Government to curb these killings is a slap on democracy. The Fulani herdsmen disturbing the peace of the nation are not different from Boko Haram and if the Federal Government can declare IPOB as terrorists, the herdsmen are worse.”

“The last Christmas was not merry for many Nigerians due to fuel scarcity and the new year was greeted by Fulani herdsmen. We are sure that the president is not sick and should not really be affected psychological by the accident of his son. If at all the president is ill, the entire presidency cannot be deaf and blind at the same time to the mass genocide against innocent citizens in Benue particular and other states”

“The killing has gone haywire that you can only have right to your life in these states when you dress like cattle”

“The Federal Government needs to set laws equitable for Nigerians and take adequate sanction on dangerous Fulani Herdsmen that trespass into farm land of others. Again, the Federal Government has failed to set up touching courses with satisfactory remuneration to families of victims of herdsmen killing”

“We requests that Government must set up open farms and make provision(s) for the wellbeing of citizens as farming remain one of the key sectors to concentrate on. Without Government mediation, the killing of innocent citizens will keep occurring and then will make the country a good example of ‘A lost paradise.”

Benue Killings: Aregbesola Sues For Peace

By Nofisat Marindoti

Following the recent clash between Herdsmen and farmers in Benue State which resulted in killings, Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has sued for peace, saying it has become imperative for every Nigerian to work assiduously for the peace of the nation by avoiding anything that could lead to war.

Aregbesola said this at the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in Osogbo, the state capital on Monday.

Aregbesola described peace as the foundation for economic and political development, stressing that no development could take place in a crisis situation.

Bemoaning war and its consequences, Aregbesola urged Nigerians to shun activities that could lead to war in the country.

“Through carelessness, thoughtlessness, selfishness, wickedness and hate mongering, the country may unwittingly be pushing itself towards another war.

“War is a very bad business. It is costly, deadly and ruinous, even for a supposedly winner. It is worse for the loser. Indeed, all are losers in a war. The resources, human and material, used to prosecute wars could have been used for the development of the people. The lesson of history is that nations and people emerged from wars weakened, devastated, poor and vulnerable.

“The worst part is that though a nation’ s decision to go to war or not may be easy before the outbreak of hostilities, it is more difficult and sometimes impossible to decide to stop a war; thus we have prolonged and sometimes an indeterminate war. This is the hard part.

“We see the devastations of war in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon (and closer home) in Liberia and Sierra Leone. While some like Liberia and Sierra Leone are fortunate to put the war behind them, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq have found it difficult to stop their own wars.

“Lebanon lost its Paradise and Pearl of the Middle East status to the United Arab Emirates. The mutual antagonism and distrust that the Nigerian Civil War bred are still with us.” he added.

The Governor also called on Nigerians, especially the youths, to break away from the culture of dependence on the free money from crude oil, urging them to apply their education to solving problems facing humanity.

Aregebsola said this would be the way to make sustainable wealth because oil would soon lose its importance.

According to him, “In the interest of the black race, Nigeria must not just exist, it must be strong to be able to lead the continent to achieve its manifest destiny.

“The greatest riches of the continent are domiciled in the Great Lakes Region comprising Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya , Rwanda , Tanzania and Uganda.

“Nigeria should be strong and provide leadership with South Africa and the leaders of the region to be able to develop these riches for the development of the people of the continent and for Africa to be able to take her place in the world.”

Buhari Sues For Peace As Talks Hold With Benue Stakeholders

President Muhammadu Buhari has made a passionate appeal to the government and people of Benue State to exercise restraint following the recent attacks by herdsmen on some of their communities, assuring that all the perpetrators of violence in the state will be made to face the wrath of the law including any illegally armed militia in the state.

President Buhari stated this while receiving a delegation of political leaders, traditional rulers and elders of the state led by Governor Samuel Ortom at the Presidential Villa.

“Your Excellency, the governor, and all the leaders here, I am appealing to you to try to restrain your people. I assure you that the Police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies had been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished.

I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your country men. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation,” he said.

The president commiserated with all the victims of the attacks, and the families who lost loved ones and properties, saying that the government would make efforts to ameliorate the situation of all the victims.

Buhari said relevant agencies had been directed to start catering for the humanitarian needs in the state.

The president told the delegation that his administration had already begun a process of finding lasting solution to the perennial challenge of herdsmen conflict with farmers and communities around the country.

He said the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had been directed to relocate to the state to provide security for lives and properties, urging all Benue indigenes to trust the security agencies and report all suspicious cases of movements in the state.

In his remarks, Governor Ortom said the tension would be reduced with the Federal Government’s intervention to find a lasting solution to the herdsmen attacks.

“We will leave here to rebuild confidence in our people,’’ he said.

The Tor Tiv, James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse, said his entire domain had been thrown into mourning due to the incessant attacks.

“We want you to put an end to the gruesome situation,’’ he added.

Present at the meeting were Benue State Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu; former Senate President, David Mark; former Benue State Governor, George Akume and Sen. Barnabas Gemade.

Others include Sen. J.K Waku, General Lawrence Onoja, John Atom Kpera, former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa, Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Terkimbir Kyambe, and other members of the National and State Assembly from the State.

On the proposed cattle colonies, Ortom told journalists after the meeting that his state will not accept the proposed colonies.

Delegated Leaders From Benue State Meet With President Buhari

Benue State Leaders are currently in a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock, Abuja over incessant killings by herdsmen in the state.

According to reports, the leaders were led to the presidential villa by the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.

Delegates at the meeting are former Senate President, David Mark; former governor George Akume; the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse,; Senator Barnabas Gemade, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa; Senator Joseph Wayas; and Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Terkimbir Kyamb and others.

There were also the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau and other government officials.

Critical issues to be discussed at the meeting included how to bring an end to the current herdsmen crisis in Benue State.

 

FG Clears The Air On Attacks And Killings By Herdsmen In Benue

…says allegations against Buhari unkind, incorrect

Insinuations and allegations that the attacks and killings are happening because President Buhari is Fulani are both unkind and incorrect. These attacks long predated the Buhari government. In 2013, no fewer than nine cases of herdsmen attacks were recorded in Benue State alone, with more than 190 people killed. In 2014, there were no fewer than 16 recorded attacks in Benue, which claimed more than 230 victims. Between January and May 2015, six attacks left more than 300 people dead, again in Benue State alone.

This historical context is important for a proper understanding of the issue, and to avoid unnecessarily politicising what should be regarded and dealt with as acts of criminality. These attacks have been a longstanding issue, and successive governments have struggled to contain the situation.

The Buhari administration is more than fully committed to bringing the cycle of violence to an end, prosecuting the attackers, and preventing further killings and attacks. The security agencies have standing instructions to arrest and prosecute any and all persons found with illegal arms.

Federal interventions
The recent killings in Benue and Taraba States have elicited the following Federal responses:

1. President Buhari has met with the Governor of Benue State on the matter to assure him of the Federal Government’s commitment to protecting farmers and communities.

2. President Buhari has directed the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue State.

3. On Monday January 8, 2018, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau convened a security meeting on the issue, bringing together Federal and state government officials: Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Heads of security agencies, and the Governors of the most affected States: Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, and Taraba.

4. On Wednesday January 10, 2018, the IG held a stakeholders engagement with the Benue State government, elders, community, religious and traditional leaders etc

5. Since the first week of January, immediately following the January 1 attacks, the Inspector General of Police has deployed the following to the affected areas:
• Ten (10) Units of PMF
• Police Special Forces
• Counter Terrorism Units
• Conventional Policemen.
• Police Explosive Ordinance Department
• Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Teams
• Police Aerial Surveillance Teams (Police Helicopters)

6. The Nigerian Army has deployed Special Forces to Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa States.

7. In Benue State, eight (8) suspected herdsmen are in Police custody over the recent killings, and are currently being prosecuted.

8. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working to establish cattle colonies across the country, in 2018. These colonies will provide grass and water for the cattle, and education and healthcare facilities for herders. They will also have Agro-Rangers deployed to secure the facilities.

• Being text of a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja by the Presidency Media Office.

Benue Killing: Police Reveals They Wouldn’t Go After Killers

The Benue police command through its commissioner Bashir Makama have disclosed that they will not be going after the killers responsible for the attacks of some villages in the state.

According to Premium Times, Makama said through a phone call that the force is holding back on their chase of suspected killer herdsmen on rampage across the North-Central state, saying they would prioritise an immediate succour and enduring tranquility for the affected communities instead.

The police are concentrating their energy and resources towards a safe return of recently displaced residents to their communities.

“Let there be peace. Let there be calm. Then, the suspects can be followed and arrested.

But anti-open grazing campaigners faulted the police tactics, warning that the comments could fuel speculation that the federal government was colluding with the herdsmen.

An estimated 69 people have been killed in suspected herdsmen attacks on villages in the agrarian Benue State between December 31 and January 8, according to Benue State Government officials.

Fifty-nine of the deceased are slated for a mass burial in a village near the Air Force Base in Makurdi, the state capital on Thursday morning.

The figures include the three officers killed following an ambush on a police patrol team on Monday in Logo Local Government Area, about 200 kilometres east of Makurdi.

The local government was amongst the two local government areas razed down by suspected herdsmen between the New Year eve and New Year day.

An exasperated Governor Samuel Ortom blamed the attacks on herdsmen of Fulani extraction. Mr. Ortom said the leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, an association of cattle breeders, had earlier threatened to attack residents in Benue State, He described them as a “threat to our collective interest” and said “they must be dealt with.”

 

Benue Killings: Victim Losses 4 Wives, 18 Children

A livestock guard, Mr Akpenheen Amile, who sustained gunshot wounds in the January 2nd attack on villages in Guma, Benue State as cried out to the public about the loss of his four wives and 18 children.

He revealed that he had not been able to contact them after the attack.  Amile lamented to the News Agency Of Nigeria (NAN) in Markurdi saying;

“I am in physical pains from gunshot injuries, but such pains don’t hurt me like the inability to ascertain the fate of my four wives and 18 children,” Amile told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Makurdi.

Recall that about five villages in Guma and Logo Local Governments were attacked by unknown gunmen on Jan. 1 and 2.

According to the Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), 73 people have so far been confirmed killed by the invaders.

Amile, who is married to five wives, told NAN that only his fifth wife was with him.

The livestock guard, who is being treated at the Benue State Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), said that he was shot on one of his legs.

“As it is, I don’t know whether they are among the dead or they have fled to some unknown destination for safety,” he said.

Amile, who claimed that the attackers were dressed in herdsmen attire, said that they arrived “around 5 p.m. and started shooting anyone on sight”.

Speaking through an interpreter, Amile said that he was with other Livestock Guards employed by the Benue Government to enforce the anti-open grazing law, when the gunmen descended on them.

“We were at our camp at a primary school at Iwer, in Guma, when the gunmen surrounded us and started shooting.

“It was while I was running for safety that I was shot on the leg. We had to flee because we were not armed. Besides, we were taken by surprise.

“They killed many Livestock Guards and many of us were wounded.

“Since the attack, I have not heard from my four wives and 18 children. Only my fifth wife is here with me. This is causing me sleepless nights; the situation is unbearable,” he said.

 

Alleged Herdsmen Killing Of 33 Persons Sparks Protest In Benue

Hundreds of youths on Wednesday stormed the popular Food Basket Roundabout in Makurdi to protest the alleged killing of at least 33 people by herdsmen in Benue State.

The protest led to a gridlock in the area, causing traffic obstruction for motorists travelling through the state capital to the north and southern regions of the country.

The aggrieved youths have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in what they described as “terrorist killings” in their state.

Some of them were in tears as a vehicle conveyed another corpse into the crowd to prove their claims of the ongoing killings, following a reported attack which occurred on Tuesday night.

The protest came barely 24 hours after the State Security Council meeting which held at the Government House in the state capital.

Addressing reporters shortly after the meeting on Tuesday, the state governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, said he had received reports of 20 persons allegedly killed by herdsmen in the state.

During an on-the-spot assessment visit to some of the affected communities, Governor Ortom said an additional 13 deaths were discovered, taking the number of those killed to 33.

The governor, who was addressing some members of the affected communities, said: “Mr President has been briefed about this development, all the security chiefs have been briefed, and our Security Council today directed that security men should come and protect lives and property in this community.

“So I want to appeal to you to be calm, to be law-abiding, and there is no going back on the law that we signed; by the grace of God, it will be implemented.”

The killing of another resident following Tuesday’s reported attack sparked the protest by the youths who have asked the President to come to their rescue.

In a bid to contain the protest, personnel of the Nigerian Police and Nigerian Army were caught up in a faceoff with the irate youths who insist on occupying the road all through the week.