FG To Build Ranches, Grazing Reserves For Herdsmen

The Federal Government has said it would soon establish ranches and grazing reserves for Fulani herdsmen in the country in order to stave off further violent altercation between the pastoralist and sedentary farmers. This was even as government exonerated local herdsmen of the strings of attacks on farming communities, blaming the violence on the influx of foreign herdsmen into Nigeria.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Engr. Babachir David Lawal disclosed this in Abuja when he received in audience, a delegation of Tabital Pulako Njode Jam Foundation, led by its Chairman, Alhaji Abdul Bali. Director of Press in the office of the SGF, Bolaji Adebiyi in a statement said Mr Lawal “reiterated the decision of the present administration to establish ranches and grazing reserves across the country as a solution to the incessant clashes between Fulani Cattle Rearers and Local Farmers.

He also noted that nomads from outside Nigeria have migrated into the country and that they are the ones perpetuating most of the crimes on the farmlands. He assured that government will do the needful to enlighten Fulani Herdsmen on how to make cattle rearing more profitable by utilizing the ranches and reap other social and political benefits that such settlements will offer”.

The Foundation was set up to look into the problem of clashes between Fulani Cattle Rearers and Farmers. The statement noted that the foundation in its submissions, also expressed conviction that nomads from other lands are responsible for the senseless killings on the farms and urged the government to strengthen control across land borders. “They said the foundation is ready to partner with government to bring the situation under control”. In another development, the SGF assured the people of North-Eastern Nigeria that government agencies, responsible for the rehabilitation of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the region, do not discriminate, in the provision of relief materials to the various states.

According to him, relief items are usually distributed with a deep sense of equity and fairness, emphasizing that the severity of the hardships of the IDPs in the affected communities and states was the major consideration in the distribution exercise. He made the clarification in his office when he received a delegation from the Lardin Gabas Elders Forum led by its Chairman, Board of Trustees, Captain Paul Tahir. “He explained that rehabilitation efforts in the North-East, apart from the provision of foods items, tents and building materials, included the reconstruction of schools, hospitals, police stations and barracks.

He confirmed that to streamline rehabilitation activities in the region, and accelerate the return of normal life to the North-Eastern States, a Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative (PCNI) will soon be inaugurated by Mr. President. “The Lardin Gabas Elders Forum was established as a reaction to the devastation that Boko Haram insurgency visited on the North-East Region. The Forum, according to the delegation, is ready to work with the federal government to ensure that succour is brought to victims of the insurgency.

The forum also advocates the return of Christian Religious Studies to school curriculum to teach youths about good moral upbringing, early”, the statement added.

“All Herdsmen Are Not Fulani”, Northern Senators Warn Against Provocative Statements

Senators of Northern Nigeria Wednesday warned against provocative statements that could inflame tempers in the country in the light of the killings by herdsmen in Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani, Enugu State.

They also said that the categorization of all herdsmen as Fulani is wrong and should be stopped.

The Senators under the aegis of Northern Senators Forum, said that they “note and appreciate the steps that the Federal Government has taken so far to contain the problems of herdsmen/farmers clashes.”

They specifically asked community leaders (including governors) “to be careful when making statements on these ugly incidences.”

Chairman of the Forum, Senator Abdullahi Adamu who read the communiqué of the lawmakers said that they “resolved to continue their complete support for President Muhammadu Buhari in order to bring about even development to all sections of the country.”

Adamu said that members of the Forum further resolved to work assiduously to enact laws and amend existing ones when and where necessary in order to promote the interest of Northern Nigeria in particular and Nigeria in general.

He added that they noted specially the steps taken by the government to wipe out incidences of insurgency and are hopeful that in no distant time, “we shall say bye-bye to the problem of insurgency.”

On every Fulani herdsmen, Adamu said, “We have tried to kill the idea that every herdsman is Fulani. I am a farmer but I am not Fulani by birth. It is very very wrong to say that everybody you find with a cow is Fulani.”

Adamu noted that when Chief Olu Falae was kidnapped the news went round that the kidnappers were Fulani.

He said that when those responsible for kidnapping the elder statesman were eventually arrested, it was discovered that they were not Fulani.

Adamu noted that when he travelled to the western part of the country, he saw a lot of Yoruba cattle rearers.

He insisted that a cattle rearing is no longer the exclusive preserve of the Fulani.

On inflammatory, he said that some groups in the South East have said that the Fulani should leave their part of the country, “if people from the North say the same thing of people from the south East, we wonder where it will lead the country.”

Buhari Assures Catholic Bishops Security Agencies Will Deal With Rampaging Herdsmen

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday night restated his administration’s resolve to deal decisively and expeditiously with continued attacks on communities across the country by armed herdsmen.

He spoke at a meeting with members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), at the State House, Abuja.

President Buhari confirmed that heads of national security agencies have been ordered to take all necessary action to apprehend and expose those behind the heinous attacks.

Buhari, in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said: “We are determined to secure all Nigerians and I have told the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies, in very strong terms, to deal decisively with the attackers.”

He expressed his personal condolences to the Catholic Bishop of Enugu, the people of Ukpabi Nimbo and all other communities that have suffered fatalities and other losses from the recent attacks.

Speaking on other national issues, the President assured the Bishops that he was acting with deliberation and moving methodically to implement his change agenda for the good of the country.

He said: “We need to rebuild our institutions methodically, we need to change the way we do things.

“In the last 10 years, crude oil sold for more that $100 per barrel, but Nigeria did not save. That is why we have found ourselves where we are today,” President Buhari told the Catholic Bishops, led by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Jos.

The President also assured them that his administration was working very hard to fulfill all the promises it had made to Nigerians, adding that his greatest motivating factor now is the desire to bring positive change to Nigeria.

On behalf of the bishops, Most Rev. Kaigama expressed the solidarity of the CBCN with the President.

“We are willing to collaborate with you and with your administration, in which we see hope for a greater Nigeria,” he told the President.

The bishops pledged continued prayers for Nigeria and the government, expressing their conviction that current hardships are temporary, and Nigeria will soon overcome its present difficulties.

Enugu Attack: Ugwuanyi Says Security Services Have Questions To Answer

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State yesterday reviewed last Monday’s invasion of the agrarian community of Ukpabi Nimbo in Uzouwani local government area of the state by suspected Fulani herdsmen where scores of people were killed and stated that security agencies had a lot of explanation to make in view of the prior assurances to forestall the attack.

In a related development, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase has declared that the current numerical strength of the Nigerian Police was far too inadequate to provide security to all Nigerians.

Addressing major stakeholders in the state including the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, members of the National and State Assemblies, council chairmen and members of the State Executive Council as well as PDP chieftains at the Government House, the governor said he was at a loss as to why the attack took place in the first place.

The governor who also gave an indication that he would constitute a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the immediate and remote causes of all the violent occurrences in the state associated with suspected Fulani herdsmen and recommend appropriate measures that would be put in place to prevent future occurrence.

“What happened between 6.30am and 7.30 am on Monday 25th April, 2016 despite assurances from the security agencies? Only the security agencies can answer this question,” he fumed.

Going down memory lane, the governor explained: “Four days ago on Monday April 25, 2016, many of our brothers and sisters in Nimbo, Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of the state were murdered in cold blood by suspected Fulani herdsmen who have been grazing their cattle in that area for a while now.

“On Sunday, 24, 2016, by 7 pm, the night before this carnage took place, I got security information from Uzo-Uwani Local Government’s

Transition Chairman, Cornell Onwubuya that such an incident was likely to take place in the state. I immediately summoned a meeting of the State Security Council which commenced by 10pmwith all the security chiefs in the state present.

“In the meeting, we received assurances from the Commissioner of Police (Nwodibo Ekechukwu) that the Area Commander of SARS was on ground in Nimbo; that the Anti-Terrorism Unit was at Nimbo; that he was in contact with the Kogi State Commissioner of Police and reported suspected herdsmen grouping at Odolu in Kogi State preparatory for an attack on Nimbo and Abbi communities; that Police mobile force and conventional police were already drafted to Nimbo and Abbi communities; that he was in touch with the Area Commander, ldah, ACP lkegwuonwu and had linked him with the Area Commander, Nsukka, ACP Monday Kuryas.

“Both men, according to the CP, reported that there were no traces of suspected herdsmen in Nsukka or Idah; that he ordered the Area Commander, Nsukka to redeploy to Nimbo; That the Enugu Garrison Commander ( Brigadier General Olufemi Akinjobi) on his part assured the meeting that Military was already deployed to Nimbo.

“After receiving these assurances of deployments to Nimbo, I felt quite confident that we had done everything possible to forestall an attack

on Nimbo. I have deliberately narrated what transpired at the Security Council Meeting fully conscious of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution pertaining to my oath of office. I am doing this in due discharge of my duties as Governor.

“Sadly, in the early hours of Monday, reports of this carnage reached me. More disturbing was the report that the attack on innocent and defenceless citizens were carried out at about 6 30 am. Further reports available to me indicated that apart from the killing and maiming of innocent and defenceless citizens of Nimbo, a Church was also burnt. Following this development, I engaged the security agencies in order to ensure that the Nimbo area was secured from further attacks that might escalate the situation.

“On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, I visited Nimbo in order to establish firsthand the extent of carnage. My visit to Nimbo was revealing. I came face to face with the wounded and bereaved. I saw burnt and damaged personage of Christ Holy Church. I saw a traumatised community in shock and despair. I saw a dead body. I wept. I wondered what had become of our quest for a united, peaceful and prosperous nation. Our first national anthem had a phrase which went thus: ‘though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand.’

“Now in less than three months, violent clashes have occurred in Enugu State in Awgu, Nike, Abbi and Nimbo between suspected Fulani Herdsmen and our people. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.”

The Enugu State Director of the Department of State Security (Abdul Malik) was also at the emergency security meeting summoned by Ugwuanyi, a day before the attack.

The governor further explained that he had audience with President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that their discussion was frank and cordial.

“I thank the president for his prompt and decisive reaction to the incident in Nimbo. The President came out with a clear and unmistakable condemnation of this dastardly act and gave clear and definite directives to the security agencies to fish out these criminals and bring them to justice.

“So long as we are Nigerians, we cannot live in isolation but those who come to Enugu must respect our values and not engage in such dastardly act as we have witnessed recently.” he said.

Buhari Orders IGP, Minister Of Defence To Stop Recurrent Attacks

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin and Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase to immediately secure communities under herdsmen’s attacks.

The President also ordered the security chiefs to go after groups terrorizing innocent Nigerians in communities and villages.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed unfolded the President’s directive yesterday in Abuja at the presentation of the book, “Who will Love my Country”, written by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.

Some public commentators have accused the President of “not talking” about the herdsmen’s rampage especially the Sunday night killings in Uzo Uwani Local Government, Enugu State.

Mohammed, who represented the President at the event, quoted him as warning that his administration will no longer allow the attacks to continue.

Buhari said: “Let me start by condemning in strongest terms the attacks by herdsmen in Enugu State on Monday. I deeply sympathise with those who lost their lives as well as those who lost their property.

“I have directed the Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector – General of Police to secure all communities under attacks by herdsmen and to go after the groups terrorising innocent people all over the country. This government will not allow these attacks to continue.”

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President Mallam Garba Shehu, said acting on the President’s directive, the IG and heads of other security agencies are already taking urgent steps to fully investigate the attacks, apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Ending the recent upsurge of attacks on communities by herdsmen reportedly armed with sophisticated weapons, the statement said, is now a priority on the Buhari Administration’s agenda for enhanced national security.

“And the Armed Forces and Police have clear instructions to take all necessary action to stop the carnage.” It added

”In keeping with the President’s directive, the Inspector-General of Police, the General Officer Commanding the 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army and the Director of the Department of State Security in Enugu State have visited Ukpabi Nimbo to personally oversee investigations into the attack on the community and ongoing efforts to apprehend the culprits.”

President Buhari was billed to meet with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to receive further briefing on the attack and discuss additional measures to forestall similar attacks and restore public confidence.

It said the President urged all Nigerians to remain calm and assured of his administration’s readiness to deploy all required personnel and resources to remove the new threat to the collective security of the nation

The police chief yesterday ordered the arrest of a policeman fingered by community leaders for alleged complicity in the attacks.

Arase, who visited the village, vowed to unmask the herdsmen who allegedly killed no fewer than 48 people at Ukpabi Nimbo community.

The IG assured the community that the police would do everything to arrest the attackers.

He was accompanied by top police officers and commissioners of police in the Southeast zone.

The police boss described what he saw as quite “depressing”.

He said: “I want to assure Nigerians that those involved in the barbaric act cannot go unpunished, they must be brought to book.”

The police chief, also advised the people especially youths of the area to remain calm, and allow the police hunt for the suspects.

The IGP added that he came personally to the community to see things for himself, and get first hand information on the incident.

“I decided to come here personally to get first hand information on the incident because of the conflicting media reports we have been getting on the attack”

IGP Orders Detention Of Policeman Over Enugu Attack

The Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase, Wednesday, ordered the detention of a policeman, who allegedly collaborated with the Fulani herdsmen during the killing of residents of Nimbo community in Enugu State.

The IGP, who visited the tension soaked community alongside the Senator representing Enugu North Senatorial zone, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, ordered that one Corporal Chukwu should be detained and investigated.

The villagers had informed him that the police officer, simply identified as Corporal Chukwu, was a known collaborator with the herdsmen.

Consequently, while addressing journalists, Arase said no policeman who collaborates with criminal elements to perpetrate crime would go unpunished; stressing that such person must be dismissed from the force.

He said, “I am not happy about it, even the death of one person; I am concerned about it; that is why I decided to have on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

“I have been discussing with the Senator from this area, even the council chairman before this incident, to see how we can find some lasting panacea.

“We have been able to see what happened; we will be able to find a lasting solution to this problem.

“I want to assure every Nigerian that nobody takes the life of any other Nigerian and goes scot-free; we will catch them and prosecute them.”

On the alleged collaboration between a policeman and the herdsmen, he said, “I have zero tolerance for any policeman that connives with any criminal gang; I have already ordered that he be put in custody and if after investigation, it is discovered that he connived with the people that carried out this attack, I must make sure that he gets out of the Nigeria Police Force.”

Ugwuanyi Declares Three Days Fasting In Enugu Over Herdsmen Attack

Tears flowed on Tuesday morning as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State visited Ukpabi, Nimbo, in Uzo-Uwani local government area of the state.

Ugwuanyi, who could not hold back his tears was in the company of Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nwodibo Ekechukwu, the GOC 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, as well as the Enugu State Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC.

The Governor, thereafter, declared two days fasting and prayer in the State, asking residents to commit the situation into God’s hand.

The visit coincided with the recovery of one more dead resident, who was slaughtered by the herdsmen.

This is as many survivors, with varrying degrees of injuries on the head, neck, and other parts of the body are currently receiving treatment in different hospitals in Nsukka.

As at the time of filling this report, some of them are being moved to the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu.

Herdsmen Attack Enugu Communities, Many Feared Dead

Tension is high in Ukpabi, Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, following the invasion of the town by Fulani herdsmen .

It was gathered that the herdsmen, who were armed with dangerous weapons, stormed the town in their numbers, Monday morning, shooting any person in sight.

Although details of the attack were still sketchy, a source disclosed that survivors had fled to neighboring communities of Nkpologu, Uvuru and Nsukka.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Enugu State, DSP Ebere Amaraizu, who confirmed the incident, said a team of police and the army had been deployed to the area.

It could be recalled that tension started mounting in the town over the weekend when reports spread across the State that herdsmen were plotting to invade the community and displace residents for cattle-grazing.

It was gathered that the herdsmen at Adani had, weekend, imported 500 others from Nasarawa State to help them invade the community on grounds that some of their cattle were missing.

Consequently, the Chairman, Transition Committee, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, Cornell Onwubuya, had on Saturday convened an emergency meeting in Enugu.

Onwubuya said the meeting was convened to address the allegation that herdsmen planned to import about 500 of their tribesmen to enable them invade some communities in the area.

He noted that local leaders of the Fulani community also confirmed that there were attempts to bring in mercenaries for the attack on the communities, adding that the Fulani leaders in Enugu had complained that some of their people were killed within the axis of Ukpabi Nimbo and Abbi communities in the recent past.

In his speech at the meeting, Enugu State leader of the Fulani community, Alhaji Haldo Saidu Baso said that he had lived in Enugu State for over 33 years and would not be alive to witness the type of crises that they were talking about.

The Fulani community later resolved to talk to their people in the state not take the laws into their hands.

Baso said: “We will travel to Nasarawa State to talk to the cattle owners and stakeholders to warn the rustlers in Enugu State to stay away from trouble.”

However, Monday’s early morning attack shows that the truce brokered by Onwubuya and the Fulani community leader failed to yield the expected result.

FG Working To End Herdsmen/Farmers Clashes – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has disclosed that the Federal Government was quietly working towards bringing an end to the persistent Fulani herdsmen/farmers crises across the country.

Mohammed made the disclosure on Sunday during a special prayer for the stability of the nation by an Islamic group, Saadatul Abadiyyah Organisation of Nigeria in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.

According to Mohammed, President Muhammadu Buhari had also constituted a panel of inquiry to look into the recent alleged Fulani attacks, adding that Nigerians would soon feel the effects of the silent efforts being made by the government.

Mohammed said, “the President did speak immediately these things happened, to the extent of setting up a panel of enquiry. But the government is going to do more than that.

“These communal clashes are very delicate issues, very emotional and what the government is doing is working very silently to ensure that people who used to live together before without any conflict will go back to that. In few weeks from now, we will begin to see the result of that.”

Recall that there has been persistent clashes between suspected Fulani herdsmen and farmers across the country with States like Benue, Plateau, and Taraba as the worst hit.

Soldiers Arrest 92 Armed Herdsmen In Abuja

The soldiers of the Guards Brigade of the Nigeria Army have arrested 92 Fulani herdsmen in Abuja.

The Assistant Director, Army Public Relations of the Guards Brigade, Capt. Bashir Jajira, said that 36 of the suspects were arrested by the troops at a military checkpoint between the Federal Capital Territory and Nasarawa State.

The suspected herdsmen were said to have told the soldiers that they were on a mission to recover their stolen cows.

He said that 56 others who were also armed were arrested by the soldiers at a military checkpoint at Dantata, along the Abuja Airport Road.

He said that the troops recovered ‘one pump action gun, 19 cartridge dane guns, 118 cartridge ammo, 28 cutlasses, 3 jack knives, 14 sticks, 7 torch lights, certificate of occupancy, assorted charms and hard drugs.’

He said, “A group of 36 herdsmen in Diana Truck and Toyota Camry car with registration number Abu Kuje 994 FX and Niger SUL 541 XA were intercepted and arrested at 177 Guards Battalion location by Keffi checkpoint.

“During the interrogation by troops at the checkpoint, they claimed to be going to Nasarawa Local Government in Nasarawa State.”

He said that the arrested herdsmen would be handed over to the police for prosecution.

This came just as President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the deployment of military to all parts of the country currently witnessing bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this while featuring on a breakfast programme of Channels Television, Sunrise Daily, which was monitored by OsunDefender on Monday.

Shehu said there was no truth in the claim that Buhari had been largely silent on the issue of the clashes.

He recalled that the President had taken the issue before the National Council of State with a view to getting state governors’ inputs to the solutions.

In the meantime, he said the government was contemplating carving out of grazing reserves for cattle rearers.

Meanwhile, no fewer than 23,000 Internally Displaced Persons in the Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State are battling with the problem of shelter as the rains set in.

The Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Agatu Local Government Area, Mr. Joseph Ngbede, stated this on Monday when Governor Samuel Ortom visited Ugbokpo, Ojantele and Ataganyi communities of the Apa Local Government Area, where the camps of the IDPs are located.

The IDPs are Benue indigenes displaced during the clashes involving Fulani herdsmen and Agatu people.

Ngbede said that only the LGEA Primary School at Ayila was standing in the over 20 villages destroyed in Agatu by herdsmen, maintaining that some of the displaced persons insisted on going to their farms to see what was left of their crops.

On the feeding of the displaced persons, the chairman said the items donated by individuals, government and non-governmental organisations as well as emergency management agencies at the state and at federal levels were being distributed to them on a daily basis.

He said those not displaced were also contributing towards the upkeep of the IDPs.

He explained that the three villages of Ocholonya, Abugbe and Odugbeho that were occupied by herdsmen had been secured by soldiers.

Meanwhile, the state’s deputy governor, Benson Abounu, has said that Agatu people have been rescued by soldiers.