A Million Deaths Won’t Move Mallam Buhari By Tunde Odesola

Without a doubt, the death of a child is the most unendurable filial anguish that could torment a parent. Having lost a couple of sons, David, king of Israel, captured the immeasurable worth of a child in the boundless words of his psalm, singing: “Like arrows are in the hands of a warrior, So are children born in one’s youth…”

For 38-year-old music icon, Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, aka D’banj, and his family, these are trying times. While attending the BET Awards in Los Angeles, USA, death scaled the back fence of the Kokomaster’s Ikoyi home, tip-toed into his indoor swimming pool and drowned his cherubic 13-month-old son, Daniel III, last week Sunday. My heart goes out to Bangalee and his wife, Lineo Didi nee Kilgrow, in this turbulent period. Sorrow has enveloped the world of D’banj.

The tears won’t just stop flowing. But, amid blurry tears, the eyes can still see, goes a Yoruba proverb. There are some drooping dangers that the D’banj family failed to avert, despite hanging ominously overhead. As a mark of respect for the dead angel, however, I shall not dwell on the unpardonable mistakes that led to the termination of his innocent life – one of which was not providing the swimming pool with a door – as evidenced by an online video showing D’banj and Daniel III walking past the pool.

Although it takes between 20 to 60 seconds for a drowning victim to struggle on the surface of water, actual death takes between three and four minutes, according to online information site, Quora. A statement by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, last Monday, directing D’banj and his wife to make a formal report on the circumstances that led to the death of Daniel III, was a testimony to the perpetual misunderstanding of policing by the Nigeria Police Force.

As soon as the smoke of the tragedy filtered out, the police should have mandatorily, without prompting or delay, moved into the home of the Oyebanjos and conducted a forensic investigation into the circumstances leading to the death. Globally, it is the bounding duty of government to investigate the circumstances leading to strange and suspicious deaths of citizens. It’s highly ridiculous of a police chief to wallow in sentiment and play to the gallery when a dispassionate and critical appraisal was required.

By not moving his men swiftly to the residence of the Oyebanjo for a thorough investigation, the Lagos CP might have obliterated the real cause(s) of the death of Daniel III. In a responsible country, giving the circumstances of Daniel’s death, D’banj and wife not only stood the risk of a long jail term, their eligibility to have possession of their children in the future would come under intense scrutiny.

Well, it’s not only Imohimi that is caught in the intricate web of police over-centralisation and its attendant eye-service, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, is also shackled by the chain of pervasive corruption, bureaucracy and impotence bedeviling the force. The proliferation of counterproductive security units at federal and state levels underpins the exploitative and insensitive tendencies of the NPF. Instead of the Office of the IGP to engender an effective policing structure in all the commands of the federation, it evolved a largely self-glorifying unit called the Inspector-General of Police Monitoring and Intelligence Response Unit, whose members at the state level are not answerable to state police commissioners, but to Abuja.

Similarly, state CPs, instead of arming and encouraging state Criminal Investigation Departments, create their own special investigation units which probe ‘juicy’ cases, leaving ‘non-juicy’ cases to bereft SCIDs. The confusion within the operations of the police force has seen the Special Anti-Robbery Squads grown into uncontrollable monsters of torture. The chaos within the force answers the reason why incompetent bosses appoint incompetent subordinates who lord it over competent officers. Nepotism and blind loyalty, rather than competence, have been the driving force behind police appointments. As a journalist, this much I’ve seen in the appointments of I-Gs, DIGs, AIGs, commissioners, Divisional Police Officers, Divisional Crime Officers, Police Public Relations Officers, etc. With the way the police force is structured, it would continue to deliver security to the powerful while the rest of the citizenry battle insecurity and dehumanisation.

Speaking through his deputy, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, a worried President Muhammadu Buhari, last Thursday, ordered the restructuring of SARS. According to a report by Vanguard newspaper, the Vice President spoke at a town hall meeting during the inauguration of micro, small and medium enterprises clinic in Ibadan. He said, “Many people are complaining about the atrocities of SARS, people are saying there should be no more SARS. SARS, as you know, is an anti-robbery squad but several members of the squad have gone rogue and are doing things that are contrary to the very reasons for which they were set up. The President has already ordered a review of the formation of SARS so that very soon, we would be able to have a SARS that will be responsible.”

For a country that has consistently swum against the tide of insecurity for over three decades, a total restructuring of the polity is the sensible way to go and not patchy attempts at covering up the gaping cracks in the shaky foundation of the nation. Last week, Buhari put to the sword the hope of Nigerians witnessing wholesome restructuring during his tenure as he described the proponents of restructuring as self-serving, despite his ruling All Progressives Congress setting up a committee on restructuring headed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State in 2017. The report of the committee submitted to a former national chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun, has been gathering dust since January 26, 2018.

Last Sunday, the nation again woke up to the woeful news of killer herdsmen wreaking havoc on the plateau, sending about 200 indigenes to early graves. Nothing best exemplifies the worthlessness of human lives to the Nigerian Presidency than Buhari’s characteristic tale of promising to fish out killer-herdsmen each time the nation slaughters humans for cows.

It is to the supreme shame of the President that not one killer herdsman has been arrested, let alone, brought to justice – despite the daily bloodletting. And he sits in Aso Rock, wringing his hands and plotting for a second term in office?

Last Thursday, several people met undeserved deaths on the Otedola Bridge along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway when a tanker laden with fuel exploded. On both occasions of immense tragedies, the President was too busy fine-tuning re-election strategies for 2019 and too tongue-tied to soothe the pains across the country with a personal address. Nigerians have got used to the President’s weird but typical cold behaviour and they wonder, “How many more people do Fulani herdsmen have to kill for Buhari to act?” “How many more years do we need to grope in the dark and shun restructuring to our own peril?” “Is there justice in the President labelling the Indigenous People of Biafra as terrorists while indulging his murderous kinsmen?”

In the wake of the Plateau killings, the President let out a smelly belch, saying “It’s unjust to say I’m silent on killings by herdsmen.” Can the father of the sport bike-riding Yusuf tell Nigerians one action he has taken to check his bloody kinsmen?

Tunde Odesola can be reached on ([email protected])

Femi Adesina Accuses Opposition Of Sponsoring Killings

Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, has accused the opposition of sponsoring the widespread killings in the country.

Speaking on a TV programme, Adesina said the president’s enemies resorted to the “bestial act” to discredit his scorecard on security.

He said the killings were being instigated to weaken the incumbent government.

Adesina said security agencies were investigating those behind the killings, adding that they will be dealt with once they are identified.

“You have the true herders and farmers who are clashing and you have hidden hostile hands who have crept in under that umbrella to play what the president has described as irresponsible politics,” he said.

“This farmers/herders’ clash has been going on for a long time. When I say long time, I mean far long before this administration.

“Like the president said, the issue is even older than anybody living today. What you have today are being sponsored because they know security is one of the strongest points of the administration.

“The president said so in a national broadcast. He also said the security agencies are investigating and has warned that once they are identified, they will be dealt with.

“The intention of the opposition in any democracy is to weaken the incumbent as much as possible and the opposition in Nigeria has identified security as one of the strong points of the Buhari administration. So they decided to go to that area finding the soft under belly and stick a knife into it.”

JUST IN: Herdsmen Attack Benue Communities, Kill Nine

No fewer than nine persons have been killed in separate attacks by suspected herdsmen in Guma and Logo LGAs of Benue State.

It was gathered that six persons were killed in Tse Shan, and two in Tse Nyamkyume in Saghev, Guma LGA.

The attackers also killed one person in Tse Ngo Jov Tombo Logo LGA in a separate attack that happened late last night.

A source in the community hinted this reporter that most victims were children and women, who could not run when the heavily armed herdsmen invaded the community.

Over 45 houses were also set ablaze while several persons have been declared missing after the deadly attack.

Buhari Not Serious With War Against Killer Herdsmen – NDCP

The Nigeria Democratic Congress Party NDCP has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has not been serious with the curbing of attacks by rampaging Herdsmen in some parts of the country.

Dr Johnson Edosomwan, Founder and Presidential Candidate of the party while reacting to the President’s Democracy Day address explained that Buhari in his speech failed to state in clear terms what it is doing to put an end to the senseless killings in the nation.

NDCP Logo

The NDCP is of the opinion that the Nigerian leader should have been explicit with the steps, progress and measures so far to nip the ugly trend in the bud.

Edosomwan called on the President not to trivialize the issues but come out openly to declare the bandits who have killed dozens of fellow countrymen without mercy as terrorists just as it urged security agencies to as a matter of urgent national importance clampdown and unleash those behind the killers.

The party’s Presidential Candidate stated that “As a government that promised to clampdown on every security threat facing the country, it should show more responsiveness to the duty of winning the war posed by criminals in the face of Fulani Herdsmen.”

“In his Democracy Day speech, his comment about the Herdsmen killings was tagged as mere Farmers/Herders Clashes, a situation that is in variance with the true situation and picture of things. The President also failed to acknowledge the presence of these hoodlums in salient parts of the middle belt where targeted attacks are launched on Christians daily.”

“It is to this effect that we urge government to be more proactive. The killings especially those in Benue State are pointers to the fact that if necessary steps are not taken in due course, Nigeria might face another Boko Haram from the way the Herdsmen situation is going,” Edosomwan noted.

Why Herdsmen Attacked Catholic Priests In Taraba

Rector of the minor seminary in Jalingo, Taraba State capital, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Atsue, has explained why the institution came under attack from herdsmen on Monday.

Two Catholic priests were on Monday morning beaten with one shot in the leg when gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked a minor seminary in the state.

During the attack, some students were injured and many cars destroyed, even as those wounded were said to be receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre.

Speaking on the incident, Fr. Atsue claimed they were attacked because some security men in the Seminary have been challenging the decision of the herdsmen to graze right inside the premises.

In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, the rector narrated, “With permission from my Bishop, Most Rev. Charles Hammawa of Jalingo Diocese, I Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Atsue (the Rector) want to announce and inform Nigerians and the international community that our diocesan Sacred Heart Minor Seminary was attacked in the early hours of this 28/05/2018 at about 12:30am by sophisticated armed Fulani Herdsmen (at least we heard their conversation).

“They shot sporadically at the Rector’s residence, broke window glasses in the process, (litered live bullets were collected by police) windscreen of one of the vehicles belonging to one of the priests, they shot and injured one of the priests Rev. Fr. Cornelius kobah on the leg, beat up Fr. Stephen Bakari.

“From their conversation we were able to understand that their grievances against us are that the security men in the Seminary have been challenging their decision to graze right inside the Seminary: around the classes, football field, laundry etc.

“They said even inside the church if they see grass their cows will graze. Normalcy has temporarily been restored thanks to the prompt response from the Nigerian Police, Army, Civil Defense and local vigilante.

“All our students are complete, none is missing. Two of them who were showing them the way to the Father’s house suffered injuries from the sticks of the herdsmen.

“I had a meeting with the officials of the Parents Teachers Association PTA and the bishop has equally approved one week break for the seminarians to enable them manage trauma for a while and to show themselves to their parents that they were safe. For now this is the situation. Let us continue to pray for and work for peace in Nigeria.”

A Day To Mourn Ourselves By Lasisi Olagunju

What will happen if you break the law? A colleague based in Kano told me at the weekend that Southern Nigeria wastes itself obeying the law. Where he lives, he said, there is no such encumbrances as law and morality. Whatever serves you is sanctioned, and everyone knows. It is a free world, a democratic state of nature. My colleague stressed that up north, the law bends and serves elite-interest. He was talking about security; about accountability in government; about the coming elections and the ones of the past. Kano voters gave two million votes – all valid- in 2015. It can give anyone five million votes in future; if you like in the south, you can keep shouting underage voters, card readers etc, that is your problem, he told me. Interesting.

People who cut corners and get away with it think others are fools. Like uncontrolled leprosy, lawlessness is seeping in and afflicting the whole nation. My friend said when you engage opponents who do not obey rules, it is stupidity to play by the rule. It is worse when even the referee is blind to the rule of the game. “If Kano can deliver five million votes, who says Lagos cannot deliver seven million?” He asked. And I chorused: Why not? – if the law is waived for all! But the spirit of disobedience does not evenly perch on all players. There are still people who prefer the foolishness of obedience to the adulation that comes with unearned epaulets. Is it not said that it is the lunatic who thinks the monkey is not wise? Monkey is not foolish, it is wise; only that it has its own logic!

Rejecting the law has consequences. Cutting corners  has a prime advantage: You arrive earlier than the law-abiding. But that is where it ends; it soon comes back to haunt the unworthy. Not obeying rules has consequences — one of which is the fact that the North truly has political power which has not served it positively. Its politics has produced for it a super-rich elite. But it has also hatched an ocean of very ordinary people wracked by poverty; by disease; by insecurity. The streets of the north are home to denizens of addiction to everything negative. A system of infractions will drink blood. And it is guzzling just that in the north. It has bounteous harvests of insecurity and killings everyday across its swath of territory. The joy of political power abduction now manifests in sobs of sorrow and mourning. Thousands have died; hundreds are dying; millions have been displaced.

“In February, 21 villagers were killed in an attack by suspected herdsmen in three communities in the Atakad district of Kaura, Kaduna State. Witnesses said the herdsmen killed, looted and burned the villagers’ houses. In June, a communal clash in the Mambilla Plateau of Taraba State left scores of people dead, mostly herdsmen and their families. In September, at least 20 people were killed when suspected herdsmen invaded Ancha village in the Miango district of Jos, Plateau state… In October, 27 people were killed by suspected herdsmen in a classroom where they were sheltering after three days of attacks in the Nkyie-Doghwro community of Bassa, Plateau State. In December, herdsmen attacked at least five villages in Demsa LGA in Adamawa State to avenge the massacre of up to 57 people, mostly children, in November in nearby Kikan community. Residents described being attacked by a fighter jet and a military helicopter as they attempted to flee. At least 86 people were killed by the herdsmen and air force bombing.” That is a quote from the latest report of Amnesty International on Nigeria. It is a summary of the state of our north. The Nigerian government does not like the report at all. It says the report is untrue. What then is true?

Eight out of Nigeria’s 36 states are gory killing fields. Let us count them: You have Boko Haram’s Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.  Killer herdsmen, cattle rustlers and ‘mystery gunmen’ have added Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna and Zamfara to Nigeria’s zones of death. The first three are in the North-East, three others are in the North Central; Zamfara and Kaduna are in the North-West.  Three out of Nigeria’s six zones are burial grounds. In the remaining 28 states, there are several dark patches of death vitiating people’s existence. And it is getting worse! Everyday, someone somewhere is killed and someone is buried while unhinged murderers gather ingredients for their next feast of blood. As the living bury the dead, they also prepare for their own burial. You cannot live in these lakes of blood and be sure of being alive this time tomorrow. Life in these states is same as in the wild world of nature: brutal, brutish, bloody, short.

Killers have redefined the economy of our captured states. The states have become thriving markets for death merchandise, skills and services. Hospitals there are no longer for care of the living; they are vaults for keeping butchered corpses. In these dark corners of Nigeria, coffin makers are the nouveau riche. They produce and sell wholesale for mass burials. And they sell every day. Tailors have long stopped looking forward to sewing Sallah and Christmas dresses. Sallah and Christmas are dead festivals there. Or, they are festivals for the dead in these places. Tailors have diversified. They’ve learnt to mass-produce shrouds, burial cloths of various sizes. And they sell every day. Grave diggers roam the streets looking for mass graves to dig. Murderers provide market for their skills; their coarse palms every day have work to do. That is what Nigeria has become: a country for the dead and the soon to die —  All because there are no consequences for crime.

We keep the claim that we have defeated Boko Haram; But the enemy mocks us as we revel in self-adulation. It continues its campaign of death unfazed. Boko Haram came and blossomed in the era of the PDP, the party that self-destructed in 2015. Boko Haram is a group with a record 20,000 dead victims and over two million displaced persons. The Jonathan government did not do enough; it was derelict and we changed it. But the self-righteous Buhari government, since its coming in 2015, has magically ‘defeated’ Boko Haram more than three times.

The statistics of the ‘defeat’ is a sad reminder that “time present is time past.” A BBC report credited the terror group with 967 deaths from 150 assault and suicide attacks in 2017. That was an increase from the 2016 figure of 910 deaths from 127 attacks. Another report claimed the group has killed 3,900 children in the last three years. How many more have been murdered in 2018? The year is still young but the horror figures keep growing daily.

Killer herdsmen are terrorists. This is what our government does not want to say – and does not want to hear. The Global Terrorism Index in 2015 listed Fulani militants (herdsmen) as the fourth deadliest terror group in the world. The first three were Boko Haram, ISIS and Al-Shabab. The Global Terrorism Index noted in its 2017 report that “Fulani extremists in the Middle Belt … undertook more attacks and were responsible for more deaths than Boko Haram in 2016.” In 2013, this group killed 80; in 2014, it killed 847 across five states; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State said last week that between January and May this year, murderous herdsmen had killed 425 persons in his state alone. Professor Wole Soyinka described what is going on as ethnic cleansing. Amnesty International is concerned just like all persons with conscience around the world. It said the atrocities of these herdsmen and the response of the Buhari government were unacceptable.

In a January 2018 report, it said: “The Nigerian authorities’ response to communal violence is totally inadequate, too slow and ineffective, and in some cases unlawful. Clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Ondo and Kaduna resulted in 168 deaths in January 2018 alone. Hundreds of people lost their lives last year, and the government is still not doing enough to protect communities from these violent clashes. Worse, the killers are getting away with murder.” That was in January 2018. How many more have joined the dead since that report? And have the killers stopped getting away with murder?

President Muhammadu Buhari came back home months ago with a tough broadcast. He claimed the IPOB had crossed the nation’s redline by demanding freedom for Igboland. Operation Python Dance promptly followed that broadcast and the stubborn was beaten off the redline. When is our president going to make a special broadcast on killings by herdsmen? Or have the killers not crossed “our national redlines”? Why has there been no audio or video sound bite of our president attacking these murderers who kill and stroll away? Why is it difficult for the Buhari government to declare killer herdsmen as terrorists? Is there something this government knows that we don’t know?

Tomorrow is a public holiday in Nigeria. It is called Democracy Day. I hope our president will put herdsmen in his broadcast. I hope he will mention our locked up hospitals. A group, Joint Nigeria Crisis Action Committee (JN-CAC), is kickstarting the celebrations with today named as Nigeria’s Day of Mourning. The group claims that “in the first 70 days of 2018, over 1,400 persons were killed violently across the country – an average of nearly 40 (persons) per state and the Federal Capital Territory.”  For three consecutive years (2015, 2016 and 2017), Nigeria has jealously maintained its reputation as the third most terrorized country in the world. That is what the World Terrorism Index says. Iraq and Afghanistan are its only senior brothers. A common denominator among the three is the defiant question: What will happen if I break the law? Breach of respect for the law and the rule of law naturally breaches peace and happiness for all. Wherever lawlessness reigns, there can’t be peace of mind. Iniquity is a breeder of pangs of pains. When the state mints excuses for law breakers, they are encouraged to do more. Tomorrow is Democracy Day and there will be no work. Can we also ensure that there are no avoidable deaths tomorrow? How do we do that?  Peace will reign, killings will stop when our country (and our government) ensures that the law is obeyed at all times and all murders are seen as crime.

Is Buhari Unaware, Bound By His Choices Or Both?, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

This January, 73 lives were lost in Benue State to an herdsmen attack. The president asked Ibrahim Idris, the inspector-general of police to relocate to Benue with the aim of restoring law and order at the scene of conflict. The inspector-general ignored the president’s order. After so much pressure and discontent from the public, the president finally paid a visit to the State. While in Benue, he made a startling admission: “I’m not aware that the I-G did not spend 24 hours in the State as directed by me, I am getting to know in this meeting.” That admission confirmed our fears that the president is not in charge of his own administration. Awareness dictates choice. A man who is aware of something, will definitely have a choice to take action or not. We all have weaknesses and so do those who lead us. Mild weaknesses do not usually impact a person’s overall effectiveness and they sure do not hurt like fatal flaws. President Buhari has consistently shown a significant gap in perception, which suggests a deficit of self-awareness. That is a fatal flaw.

President Buhari has always been dissonant, and there are many pointers to his dissonance since he became president. There is a certain aloofness about him that is exaggerated by a seeming lack of empathy. His much touted integrity has forced him into a tunnel of delusion, where the cure for all that ails is integrity. Unfortunately, integrity is not enough to govern effectively. Self-awareness is an important leadership trait, for which a leader often pays a high price, when he is perceived to score poorly on it. A leader does not need to be very good at everything and he does not have to rank high on all leadership traits but a leader cannot be totally void in one area and still expect to succeed. With a vast scope of responsibility, he does not have to be privy to all the minutiae of governance. The little details is the job of operators, but not knowing is never a good excuse to be unaware. With Buhari, his fatal flaws are so extreme that they are having dramatic negative effects on our perception of him. His supporters and detractors alike are seeing his mounting negatives; but Buhari himself is blind to it. He prefers to revel in the crowd he sees among his core constituency. Unfortunately, he will find out that such blindness has a steep cost.

As a leader, no one expects him to know all the facts, but good leaders figure out how to be aware enough, to discover the facts that they need to know. We know leaders are often the last to know when something is wrong but our man has shown no inclination to be a modern leader. Most of the defining mistakes of his presidency and the crises within the All Progressives Congress (APC), are results of inaction. Buhari’s sins are sins of omission. His refusal to take charge, to act, to do something. In the last two years, we have seen an administration without a strategic roadmap; an administration whose drivers are not taking responsibility for outcomes; and are not building strong relationships, even among themselves. With 2019 on the horizon, it is all smoke and mirrors. The nation is as insecure as ever. There are no convictions on the anti-corruption front. The federal school feeding programme is a sham, other signature programmes never took off or are poorly implemented. It has been a season of switch and bait. What we see are deals that were never executed and projects that do not exist. Buhari is simply not making things happen.

Awareness is power! Against our interests, Buhari is unaware, held captive and bound by his choices. By choice, he has become a figure head who is just there, allowing surrogates to play Russian roulette with our lives. He has created a shady circuit of loyalists who he can neither force nor motivate. Among his trusted aides, there is no devotion to the national cause. The president was caught napping by the rampage of herdsmen and the Dapchi abductions. A leader who is unaware of what others are feeling will most likely be unaware of so many other things. A man who is blind to his own flaws will most likely blind to the effect of his flaws on others.

The president needs to ask himself some probing questions and seek truthful answers. He should ask himsef: What should I be doing that I’m not doing? What are people saying that I’m not hearing? What am I missing? What do people see that I am not seeing? Who on my team is keeping from me what they really think and feel?

In a rapidly globalising world, we have a president who cannot dream into the future. A man content with the status quo. A man who prefers not to know there was a problem, than that there is one. A leader who is not learning anything new, relying on same old ways and assumes everyone supports and loves him. The president needs to ask himself some probing questions and seek truthful answers. He should ask himsef: What should I be doing that I’m not doing? What are people saying that I’m not hearing? What am I missing? What do people see that I am not seeing? Who on my team is keeping from me what they really think and feel? What am I feeling? Why am I feeling it? Is this feeling helping or hindering me?

Obviously, there is an enormous gap between the way President Buhari perceives himself and how those of us, who invested our hopes and aspirations in him, perceive him. We want a president who knows the issues and is open to continuous exploration and discovery. Everyone knows there are two types of people will give honest feedback: those who love you, and those who hate you. We need a president who listens to both. An honest feedback will not come from opportunists. While no one must accept and normalised hate, haters must not be ignored. Hopefully, some good will come out of the recent visits to state ravaged by the herdsmen. Nigeria needs an empathic and aware president, given the many countervailing forces facing the country and the people.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column, “Bamidele Upfront” for PREMIUM TIMES.

Killings: Reps Condemn Exclusion Of Kaduna, Plateau From Osinbajo Committee’s Visitation List

As Nigeria grapples with the herdsmen-farmers crisis which has led to the deaths of hundreds of Nigerians, two members of the House of Representatives have faulted the exclusion of Kaduna and Plateau states from the list of states to be visited by a committee.

The lawmakers made the claim on Thursday, February 8, while commenting on a motion brought by a member of the House, Sunday Katung, who represents the Zangon-Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.

The point of order was supported by the lawmaker representing Kachia/Kagarko Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, Mr Adams Jagaba.

Mr Katung had in his motion drawn the attention of the House to a statement from the Office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying a sub-committee had been constituted to visit states affected by killings on a fact-finding mission.

The 10-man working group set up by the National Economic Council (NEC) and headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to look into the herdsmen-farmers crisis, set up the sub-committee on February 1.

The sub-committee, which has Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State as Chairman, is however expected to visit Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and Adamawa states.

This decision did not go down well with the lawmakers who believe that herdsmen-farmers clashes in Kaduna and Plateau predate that of other areas.

Mr Katung said: “The crisis of the herdsmen has its bud in Southern Kaduna and if the visitation takes place in Kaduna and Plateau, a different story will be told because peace has returned to the Plateau and peace is returning strongly to Southern Kaduna.”

The lawmaker believes the states should be included on the visitation list as it would send a goodwill message to the people who he said are already reconciling at the grassroots.

Confirming that the crisis emerged from the southern part of Kaduna, Mr Jagaba disclosed that the number of deaths recorded was more than that of Benue State.

He also said that excluding the states from the list was unfair, noting that the committee would be treating the symptoms of the crisis and not the issues on the ground.

The lawmaker, who said “we need to be included,” alleged that the security agencies are aware of the whereabouts of the culprits in Southern Kaduna.

He further stressed the need for governance to be run in a way such that every citizen would be given a sense of belonging.

The motion was consequently adopted by the House while its Committee on Public Safety and Intelligence were mandated to liaise with the Office of the Vice President to ensure the inclusion of Kaduna and Plateau on the list of states to be visited.

The committee has also been asked to report back in two weeks’ time.

Herdsmen: Ministries Of Agriculture Expresses Fear Over Food Shortage

The State ministries of agriculture officials have expressed fears that the constant attacks on farmers by herdsmen will lead to food shortage.

The officials, in the North-East, Middle Belt, and the southern part of the country, specifically warned that the development could lead to malnutrition and poor health.

The Benue State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. James Ambua, said food production in the state would likely drop by 40 per cent this year as a result of constant herdsmen attacks on farmers.

The commissioner lamented that the recent attacks came at a time when farmers in the state were supposed to harvest their crops, stressing that the bulk of the farmers who survived the attacks had been displaced and are taking refuge outside their communities.

He explained that the state had comparative advantage in rice, yam, corn, sesame seed, and beniseed (sesame), adding that some of the farms were also burnt by the attackers.

He said, “Following the New Year attacks, the production of farm crops has dropped by 40 per cent and this will surely have effect on the nation’s food production.

“The dry season farming has been scuttled by herdsmen attacks because Guma and Logo local government areas were attacked. The country will definitely have food crisis this year and in 2019.”

The Taraba State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. David Kassa, also said the herdsmen killings was threatening national food security.

He said, “The Federal Government’s poor handling of herdsmen crisis in Taraba, Benue and other states will definitely throw the country into serious food crisis from this year on.”

The Chairman, Public Accounts and Petitions Committee in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Peter Gyendeng, said, “The impending food crisis from the Middle-Belt will likely spread to other parts of the country.”

The officials in charge of agriculture in the southwestern states of Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti have also raised the alarm that food crisis was imminent in the region this year.

The Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture, Kehinde Odebunmi, said, “Definitely, herdsmen attacks will affect food security in the South West region in particular, and the country in general, because the farmers have not been allowed to harvest their crops.”

He lamented that 10 hectares of castor seed, over 20 hectares of cassava plantation and over 100 hectares of rice were destroyed by the herdsmen in Oke Ako, Iyemero and Igede farm settlements, while they also torched more than 50 hectares of cassava plantation in Orin farm settlement.

Herdsmen Attack Leaves Taraba In Fear

Soon, the villages of Taraba will begin to echo as the inhabitants are beginning to flee from the communities of Gassol, Ibi and Wukari for fear of threatened herdsmen attack.

It was gathered that five persons were killed at Amande Jembe village in Bantaje District of the Wukari LGA and four others were killed in Ngutswen village, Gassol LGA, barely nine hours after Ishaku raised the alarm over the planned attacks.

It was dicovered that most of the villages were deserted as villagers fled their communities to Sabon Gida, Dan-Anacha and Mutum Biyu in Gassol, and Gidin Doruwa and Wukari in the Wukari LGA.

Mr. Simon Tyavwua, a resident who buried four of his relatives in Ngutswen village, said over 2,000 people, mostly Tiv, who were marked for attack, had moved to neighboring Sabon Gida to take refuge.

“Over 70 major villages housing over 2,000 people from Sabon Gida to Wurojam and Yerima to Gassol have been deserted. Most of these people are now living in internally displaced people’s camps in their land.

“These attacks get worse by the day, despite the alarm (raised) by the governor. There is not a single security personnel here,” he said.

The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku on Public Affairs, Mr. Emmanuel Bello, told our correspondent that it was not clear if the presence of military in the state was a direct response to the governor’s security alert.

“It is good that we are getting a better response from the military. This is a departure from the criminal silence and snobbishness of the past,” Bello said.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. David Missal, said that though there was no deployment of special forces to the state after the governor’s alarm, the police officers in the state were already on the alert.

“We are on the ground and have taken proactive measures to forestall any attack. For now, the situation in the state is calm,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Mutual Union of Tiv in the United Kingdom has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Very Reverend Justin Welby, to intervene in the killings by suspected herdsmen.

In the letter titled ‘Genocide by the Fulani herders against the minority Tiv in Nigeria’ and signed by its Vice President, Dr. Kohol Iornem, a copy of which was sent to our correspondent, the group appealed to the Archbishop to call Buhari to end the killings.

Iornem explained that the plight of his “defenceless Tiv community” in the hands of the Fulani herdsmen and the failure of the President Buhari’s government to address the brutal killings in Benue and other states in Nigeria was causing tension in the country.

“Your Grace, the Nigerian body of our Lord Jesus Christ bears the painful, bleeding wounds of this ongoing and unchecked viciousness.

“We, therefore, turn to our Lord’s Church in the United Kingdom to investigate our claims and, on behalf of the defenceless victims, ask the government of Nigeria to stop the killings and bring justice to bear,” the letter read in part.

The UK-based Tiv group, in the letter circulated by its Publicity Secretary, Ms. Salome Biam, requested the Archbishop to intervene and compel the Federal Government of Nigeria to stop the killing of innocent people in the country, especially in Benue and Taraba states.

Herdsmen Kill Farmer in Ogun State

A farmer in his 60s, Adetona Owolabi, has reportedly been killed by suspected herdsmen who inflicted various machete cuts on him in Afon, Imeko-Afon Local Government area of Ogun State.

The farmer was said to have been working on his farmland located few metres away to the newly constructed bridge at Afon, along Owode/Abeokuta road when he was attacked by the herdsmen for challenging them when their cattle was grazing and destroying his farm produce such as cassava, yam and vegetables.

Ironically, the incident occurred few hours after the State Government held a meeting with security chiefs and representatives of various stakeholders such as leaders of the Fulani, Hausa communities and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigera in order to prevent clashes between herdsmen and farmers and also to ensure safety of lives and property.