Dogara Condemns Plateau Attack

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara. has condemned the killing of at least 86 people in the Church of Christ In Nations (COClN) and Regional Church Council (RCC), in Barikin Ladi Local Government Area, Plateau State.

Dogara made the condemnation in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan. on Sunday in Abuja. He said it was reprehensible that people who gathered to bury their dead would be gruesomely murdered in that manner.

”Our security agencies must rise up to the task of securing the lives of citizens of this country.

“The attack reportedly lasted from 1:00 p.m. noon of Friday, and lasted till about 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.

”Where was the Police and other security agencies that they failed to respond to stop the killings?

“This further strengthens my constant call for an overhaul of the entire security apparatus of this country. It just isn’t working,” he said.

He said that rising level of violence and gruesome killings of innocent and helpless citizens posed serious threat to Nigeria’s democracy and must be stopped.

The killings of the people mourning their dead were reportedly carried out by suspected armed herdsmen.

 

86 People Killed In Herdsmen Attacks In Plateau

At least a total of 86 people have lost their lives in Plateau State in the herdsmen attack on Saturday in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area.

ThePlateau State police command confirmed the numbers in a statement on Sunday evening while also confirming that six persons were injured, with 50 houses razed

The violence, allegedly by armed herdsmen, almost led to reprisal attacks in Jos, the state capital, on Sunday; leading the government to declare a curfew.

“Eighty six (86) persons all together were killed, six people injured, fifty (50) houses burnt, fifteen (15) motorcycles burnt down; two (2) motor vehicles burnt down,” the police said in a statement by its spokesperson in Plateau, Terna Tyopev.

Mr Tyopev said the dead bodies were discovered by a search party set up by the Plateau State commissioner of police, Undie Adie.

“Sequel to the attack in Gashish District of Barkin Ladi LGA yesterday (Saturday) 23/06/2018 , the commissioner of police Plateau State Command, Jos, CP Undie Adie, after deploying more personnel to the district sent a search and rescue team from the Command headquarters today for on the spot assessment,” it said

The police had earlier announced that 11 persons died.

It listed them as: Dalyop Vanode, Dom Danladi, Bururu Wade, Joju Rala, Titus Danladi, Bitrus Malat, Alu Matir, Noron Monday, Cecilia Yohana, Dam Bulus and Ladi Danladi.

PREMIUM TIMES quoted a cleric as saying earlier that 120 people were killed in the Saturday attack.

Pam Chollom, a pastor of the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN), blamed the attack on armed herdsmen.

He said most of the victims were coming from the burial of a community leader.

Meanwhile, the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, who arrived Sunday evening from his party’s convention in Abuja cleared some road-blockades within Jos. He appealed for calm in the affected communities.

The governor urged residents to strictly observe curfew hours declared by the government to “avoid molestation by security operatives.”

To forestall the violence from escalating, the Plateau government imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on Barkin Ladi and two other local governments in Plateau.

BREAKING: Herdsmen Attack 11 Communities in Plateau

Several people were allegedly killed in Gashish and Ropp Districts of Plateau State on Sunday, during attacks that were carried out on about 11 communities by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

Subsequently, the Plateau State Government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Jos South Local Government Areas.

Although there were rumours that some soldiers might be missing, the Commander of the Special Military Taskforce code-named Operation Safe Haven, Major-General Anthony Atolagbe, said, “it’s not true, no soldier died and no soldier is missing.”

The decision, according to the government, was to avert further breakdown of law and order.

A terse statement issued on Sunday by the Secretary to the State Government, Rufus Bature, said the movement was restricted from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, except for those on essential duties.”

The attack was said to have been launched at Xland, Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nghar, Kura Falls and Kakuruk all in Gashish District. The communities were completely sacked by the assailants, reports said.

Other areas affected by the attack included Rakok, Kok and Razat all in Ropp District.

The Chairman, Public Accounts and Petition Committee in Plateau State House of Assembly representing Barkin Ladi, Peter Gyendeng, in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday, said the attack was “a declaration of war” on his constituency.

He claimed that “mercenaries” have been hired to come and kill people in Barkin Ladi LGA.

Gyendeng said, “As a matter of fact, the casualty rate is in hundreds; it is more than 100. In one place, it is above 51; in another, over 32 and yet in another area, it is same.

“For now, based on what we have on ground and the corpses that we have been receiving, it is probably over 200 casualties.

“Altogether, about 11 villages were attacked and our people are there now trying to ascertain the number of deaths. The casualty rate is above 200 and counting (of the corpses) is still going on.

“This is war, it is a declaration of war on my people. War has been declared on Barkin Ladi LGA completely.

“There are mercenaries that have been hired to come and kill people in Barkin Ladi LGA.

“The killing started around 11:00 pm last (Saturday) night till this (Sunday) morning. And the killing still continues.”

When contacted, the spokesperson of the Plateau State Police Command, Matthias Tyopev, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, confirmed the killings to our correspondent, saying, “11 corpses have been recovered and no arrest has been made.”

He identified the 11 corpses as those of Dalyop Vanode, Dom Danladi, Bururu Wade, Joju Rala,Titus Danladi, Bitrus Malat, Alu Matir, Noron Monday, Cecilia Yohana, Dam Bulus and Ladi Danladi.

Herdsmen Kill 7, Injure 6 in Benue

The Chairman, Kwande Local Government Council of Benue, Mr Terdoo Kenti, has confirmed the killing of seven persons and injury of six others by suspected herdsmen.

Kenti also told the News Agency of Nigeria on telephone on Sunday in Makurdi that the attackers also abducted a woman during the incident on Saturday night at Tseadough village.

Tseadough is a village in Mbachom, Yaav Council Ward near Jato Aka, the ancestral home of Tiv people in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue.

He added that the attackers also burnt down several houses in the community.

Kenti said that the yet to be identified gunmen came unnoticed on the fateful night.

According to him, the remains of the victims have been deposited at the mortuary while those with various degrees of machete wounds were taken to hospital for treatment.

He appealed to the people to remain calm in-spite of the unprovoked attack and warned against any form of reprisal, adding that security agencies had been informed of the incident.

Besides, the chairman said that all relevant authorities had been briefed over the incid

Fulani Herdsmen: 20 People Allegedly Killed In Adamawa

At least 20 people have been killed in a fresh attack men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen in four communities in Demsa Local Government Area in Adamawa state.

According to the locals, the invaders attacked the communities at about 8am and set houses ablaze with property worth millions of naira destroyed.

Residents called on the federal government to save them from constant attack by Fulani militias.

The four affected communities have been deserted while security is said to have been drafted there.

The incident took place few days after herdsmen and farmers, at a stakeholders’ meeting promised to cohabit.

Presently the residents of the four affected communities have relocated to Borrong the headquarters of the district.

 

Herdsman Arrested With Bulletproof Vest

The Benue State Police Command has arrested a herdsman with a locally made bullet-proof vest and cutlass at Chegba village in Logo Local Government Area.

This was revealed in a statement signed by Col. Aliyu Yusuf on Sunday said the suspect had been handed over to the police.

Yusuf also said that troops during the patrol intervened in a violent clash between hunters and herdsmen in Obi Local Government following a distress call.

In related development, Yusuf said troops on patrol named Ayem Akpatuma, Cat Race, also seized a locally made pistol with one live cartridge at Gidan Kiya village, Ibbi Local Government Area of Taraba.

He called on the residents of the areas where the exercise was taking place to continue to cooperate with the troops by providing useful information and to report any suspicious movement to security agencies.

 

Police Can’t Arrest Herdsmen For Grazing On Airport Runways –Commissioner

The Commissioner of Police, Airport Command, Mustapha Dandaura, has revealed that members of the Nigeria Police Force cannot arrest herdsmen who allow their cattle to stray onto and graze on airport runways in the country.

Dandaura claimed that such arrest could only be made in states where the anti-open grazing law was effective.

In a recent media interview following the disruption of Akure airport operations by cows last weekend, he said, “It’s only in states where the anti-open grazing law is in place that herdsmen can be arrested for allowing their cattle to graze on airport runways. Apart from those states, we have not been told to start arresting herdsmen.

“But we have already alerted our men at the airports to ensure such incident does not occur again. The state police commands have also been carried along and everyone is on the alert.

“We can’t have a situation whereby cows would be straying onto and grazing on airport runways because it is embarrassing. Everyone is now on the alert and it’s going to be prevented.”

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria apologised Air Peace which was affected by the incident in Akure last week. The head of aviation security at the airport was also suspended.

ISIS Fighters Arrived Nigeria, Herdsmen Are Blamed

I must express my frustration as Nigerians continued to refer to perpetrators of the violence in North-Central Nigeria as “unknown gunmen”. Why should gunmen be unknown for years? They kill innocent people and destroy their means of livelihood and yet they are unknown. We have security agents mandated to ensure the safety of all citizens, spanning from the military to paramilitary agencies, we have intelligent units and yet these killers remain unknown.

Hamid Umar told me in AYOUROU in Niger Republic-Mali border during my investigation that ‘ISIS members returning from Syria and Iraq have moved from Mali to Niger to Nigeria and across West Africa’. ISIS fighters have arrived Nigeria.

Why are Nigeria’s cattle herders turning to jihadists like most gunmen in the so-called Islamic State in the greater Sahara, who operate along the sand-swept borderlands like Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and others? The transition of herdsmen from vigilantes protecting their cows to jihadists capable of carrying out complex attacks is a story Africans and Western powers would do well to heed, as their pursuit of violent extremism in West Africa becomes ever more enmeshed in long-standing ethnic and clan conflicts.

What is happening in Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa and other middle-belt States in Nigeria is more than a strive between herdsmen and local farmers; it has gotten to the level of terrorism. African Islamic militants trained in Syria and Iraq now walks freely in North-Central Nigeria. Terrorists attacked the camp of Mobile policemen, Mopol 13 in Benue, killing two officers by slitting their throats. Do you call people who could invade the camp of mobile policemen in a guerilla manner and overpowered armed Mopol mere Fulani  herdsmen? They are terrorists not herdsmen; they are elements of ISIS fighters.

Between 3,000 and 6,000 so-called ‘foreign fighters’ – African citizens trained in Islamic state terror camps – have returned to Africa and pose a “completely new challenge and Nigerians are calling them herdsmen. Nigeria is currently facing the highest terror threat in more than a decade. I am warning of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) or other terror groups attack in Nigeria.

There are concrete indications that terrorists are systematically using the stream of herdsmen to come into Nigeria undetected. We can expect ISIS or other religious terror groups to stage an attack in Nigeria with the aim of achieving mass casualties among the civilian population  and that the risk of attacks by individuals has also not diminished.

Terrorists are infiltrating Nigeria under the guise of herdsmen. These worries are substantiated and confirmed in February after several killings in Benue, Nassarawa, Taraba, Edo, Delta and others which signified that ISIS militants had arrived the country pretending to be herdsmen. A bomb explosion was reported to have killed one person in Edo State, according to a statement from the state government.

The statement issued by the Government House, Benin City, said the explosion occurred in Okpella community, Etsako East Local Government Area, while a bomb-making facility has also been discovered in the area.

Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union’s top security official warned late last year, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU’s commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants.

“There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East. The return of these unscrupulous elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and intense co-operation between African countries”, Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service News Agency.

10,000 foreign fighters joined the Sunni extremist group after it seized vast swathes of Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate in 2014. But the group has suffered a severe losses to both its territory and military capabilities last year.

Terrorism is one of the biggest crimes against humanity. Every such crime deserves to be named appropriately, and nations experiencing such, owe it to their citizens to act swiftly and decisively against terrorists. What we have experienced so far with the “Fulani Herdsmen” is nothing short of terrorism and it is high time government handled it with the seriousness required for such a grave situation, not only to protect the lives and property of her innocent citizens, but also to preserve the tribal identity of the many real Fulani Herdsmen who are simply looking for livelihoods.

January 21, 2018: Security service organisations, including the Department of State Service, have in a report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari said they have identified an Islamic State in West Africa network operating within some North Central and South-south sections of Nigeria that is using foreign terrorists and recruiting young men, fighting and killing innocent persons ostensibly to exacerbate tensions along the country’s ethnic, religious and regional fault lines.

According to a Presidency source, this discovery was made following the arrest of several suspected attackers made up of Fulani herdsmen, government-sponsored militias, militants and other miscreants in Benue State.

Among those in custody were many who spoke none of the Nigeria languages, but the French language. This is the first time that security officials have confirmed that the Islamic State in West Africa members are operating as a unit in Nigeria and the level of their penetration of the country. The source revealed that a “good number” of the Islamic State terrorists have been arrested not only in the Benue valley but significantly in several towns in Edo State, specifically in Akoko-Edo, Okpella and Benin as well as Okene in Kogi State”.

Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue, said that security agencies did not take proactive measures to protect the state against its aggressors after several complaints of planned attacks reported to them. Ortom made this known recently in Makurdi at a stakeholders meeting to discuss the security situation in the State.

 

Herdsmen Attack: Ayodele Fayose Supports Wole Soyinka’s Call For Organized Resistance

Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose has supported Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyika who recently called for an organized incursion of herdsmen in the country to stop the recent attacks.

Governor Fayose said: “The comfort our leaders enjoy from their office is momentary. But the suffering of the people may be permanent if the leaders continue to look away as if nothing is happening just because they are enjoying the comfort of their office.”

According to a statement, yesterday, by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said he was particularly happy that notable leaders in the country, especially Prof Soyinka heeded his call for all men of good conscience to speak up against the wanton killing of Nigerians by herdsmen, who are acting more like terrorists.

He said Ekiti State will further strengthen local hunters in the States by formally bringing them together under Ekiti State Hunters Association, EKSA, and equipping them to protect our people and their sources of livelihood.

Fayose, who said that the herdsmen menace has become a major security and economic threat in the country, added that it was clear that the federal government was not ready to do anything to stop killings of Nigerians and invasion of people’s farms by herdsmen.

The governor maintained that those approaching the herdsmen menace with ethnic and religious sentiments were not helping the country, saying; “What Nigeria is witnessing now is pure criminality. It is terrorism in the name of cattle rearing and anyone defending the killing of fellow Nigerians and destruction of farmlands is an enemy of this country.

“If our people have decided to embrace farming, how do we reconcile a situation where their farms are either being destroyed by cows or cruelly set ablaze by supposed herdsmen?

“Today, in many parts of the country, people are even afraid to go to the farm for fear of being killed by supposed herdsmen. How do we promote agriculture under this kind of situation?

“Therefore, I salute the courage of Prof Soyinka for speaking out, though late, but it is better late than never.

“Those armed herdsmen are nothing but another form of Boko Haram insurgents and they must be treated as such.”

 

Osun Govt. Warns Herdsmen Against Destroying Farms

By Nofisat Marindoti
The State Government of Osun has condemned the habit of some nomadic herdsmen whose cattle eat up crops on farms settlements in the state, warning them against such menace.
The government however implored the farmers concerned not to retaliate but to report to appropriate quarters according to a statement issued at the end of the Weekly State Executive Council meeting and signed by the Media Adviser to the Governor, Mr Sola Fasure.
“Council received report of the menace of nomadic herdsmen who bring their cattle to eat up crops on farms and commit other crimes in the state. Council viewed this seriously and condemned it strongly. It is the council’s strong position that this development constitutes a threat to security of lives and food production in the state.
“Council is dismayed that many farmers in the state have been forced to abandon their farms, some of which have now been converted to criminal hideouts. Council sympathised with the farmers and urged those affected not to take laws into their own hand but should to bring this to the attention of law enforcement agencies and other relevant government agencies who are in the best position to address their plight.”
The meeting presided over by Governor Rauf Aregbesola also approved a memorandum on the appointment of Prince Michael Babatunde Sunday Adeyemi Adedeji from Adujelewu ruling house as the next Ado Oko of Ido Oko in Obokun Local Government.
Prince Adedeji emerged as the sole candidate of Adujelewu Ruling House at the end of its meeting on December 10, 2016 and was ratified by the kingmakers on October 12, 2017.
Directing the ministry of works too carry out a physical assessment of all the general hospitals in the State to determine their condition, the State Government approved that the inauguration of parliaments and governments of the local governments be carried out on Tuesday February 13, 2018.
“Council received report that harsh weather condition and old age have affected some of the general hospitals in the state. Council consequently directed the Ministry of Works to carry out physical assessment of all the general hospitals in the state to determine their physical condition, where and what need to be fixed therein and at what cost and report back to council.
“Council commended the swearing in ceremony of the 389 councillors representing all the wards in the state, as the parliamentary system of government takes off seamlessly. Council approved that the inauguration of the parliaments and governments of the local governments be carried out on Tuesday February 13, 2018.
“Council congratulated and urged them to take their calling seriously and provide effective representation and vibrant leadership for their people, in line with the parliamentary system of government.”

How Osun Curtailed Herdsmen Attack

The strategies adopted by the government of the State of Osun to prevent herdsmen attack which has been prevalent in some neighbouring states seem to be working well; as such attacks have not been pronounced in the state.

Commissioner for Special Duty, Honourable Mudashir Toogun said, “Governor Rauf Aregbesola has been proactive on the issue even before it becomes a security threat across the country, as far back as June 2014 when a committee was set up to interface between Fulani/Bororo herdsmen and farmers in the state, to see to the grievances arising from their respective activities.

In a chat with OSUN DEFENDER, Toogun said the mandate for the committee was to ensure smooth relationship between the herdsmen and farmers and design strategies to ensure that their activities do not lead to crisis in the agrarian areas in the state.

The committee, according to him, comprises of farmers, officials of relevant government agencies, Fulani/Bororo groups, adding that the activities of the committee had since been ensuring sustainability of peace between farmers and the herdsmen.

He said: “Part of the strategies we have adopted is to familiarise ourselves with the farmers and the herdsmen and address the issues raised by the two parties.

“For instance, the herdsmen presented their needs, which include the fact that they needed pasture where they can grace their cows, water for them and their cows, Hajj slots, and education for their children, and all these are being addressed.

“In addressing them, the government has provided 11 boreholes in their various settlements, gave them Hajj slots, and renovated nomadic schools in various settlements in collaboration with the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB). All these have given the herdsmen and farmers the confidence that the government is actually determined to ensure peace between the two parties.

“Sometimes, there are issues of some disgruntled herdsmen destroying farmlands, and because of the sincerity of the government and the involvement of the Fulani/Bororos in the state, we were able to identify such cases and where necessary facilitate compensations for the affected farmers.

“Infact, Fulani/Bororo were instrumental to the identification of some set of disgruntled herdsmen who armed themselves and came to the state through Kwara State to Ila-Orangun and to Imesi-Ile in Obokun Local Government but due to the proactive measures put in place by the government, we were able to curtail them and send them packing”, Toogun explained.

He then tasked the people to always be vigilant and notify the appropriate quarters anytime any suspicious move is noticed.