Buhari pledges to stop killings as NEC wants open grazing banned

President Muhammadu Buhari, has assured Nigerians that with the measures being put in place by his government, the “brutal and wanton killings” being witnessed in parts of the country would end soon.

He also urged people of Benue State where increasing cases of killings were being recorded daily not to play into the hands of those he described as agents of disunity.

Buhari said this in a statement made available to journalists by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

He said repeated acts of mass killings and destruction in parts of the country and Benue State in particular pointed to the evil design of enemies of peace and unity who were desperately trying to bring the country down.

He said cases of a brother killing brother, a neighbour killing a neighbour and a community attacking and killing members of another community were bad for the country.

The statement read, “The President strongly warns citizens against playing into the hands of the agents of disunity.

“President Buhari says those behind the Church attack that left 18 people dead, including two priests, did not mean well for Nigeria and peaceful coexistence.

“The revenge attacks that followed in which 11 members of the Hausa communities were killed were part of the agenda of the bandits and their sponsors to turn Nigerians against one another. We must resist all temptation to fall into this laid out plan.

“The President is greatly pained by this persistent violence and the total disregard for the sanctity of life by those he called ‘these hideously evil people who have no iota of respect for humanity, decency and civilisation.’

“The President reiterates that the government will not rest on its oars in its determination to fish out these barbarous mass murderers and their clandestine sponsors.

 

“President Buhari equally assures Nigerians that measures being put in place by the government will, sooner than later, bring to an end, these extremely brutal and wanton killings.”

Meanwhile, the National Economic Council, NEC, has also recommended a ban on the movement of herdsmen across the country as a way of stopping the killings being witnessed in parts of Nigeria.

This is expected to start in the five states where the killings are most pronounced -Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna and Plateau.

The NEC chaired by the Vice-President has all state governors, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and relevant ministers as members.

The Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, disclosed the outcome of the meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Umahi said ranching would be adopted in the five states, while the state governments would provide lands for that purpose.

He said the decision was taken after he submitted the report of a technical committee on farmers and herdsmen conflicts which he chaired to the council.

The governor said the committee identified causes of the conflicts to include media perception, competition for scarce resources and banditry through cattle rustling and kidnapping.

He identified three categories of herdsmen to include foreign herdsmen, nomadic herdsmen and migrant herdsmen.

Umahi said the treaty under which foreign herdsmen enter Nigeria was not being properly implemented.

He noted that there ought to be certification before any herdsman could enter the country while animals coming in are also required to be quarantined.

The governor said, “In all, we agreed that movement is not profitable to the herdsmen because they value the milk from the cow even more than the cow itself.

“So, movement is not healthy for the cows as it dries up the meat and give less than two litres of milk per cow per day.

“So, we condemn the issues of foreign invasion by foreign herdsmen and l am happy that the Federal Government is doing something about it.

“We also agreed that these movements have to stop and occasionally by those who have settled and integrated from other parts of the country like the middle belt, they sometimes go into conflicts with farmers.

“So, in all we agreed that there is a more profitable and modern way of raising these cows which is by ranching. So, we have agreed that the states involved are going to give lands. Niger and Kaduna have given lands and Plateau is also giving land.

“Ranching is being practised in Mambila in Taraba State and they have success stories with regards to that.”

He added, “We also agreed that livestock production in Nigeria has not been taken care of. As we are taking care of the farmers by way of the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, of course the farmers cry of the high interest rate on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme. The rate of interest should be between 2 to 5 per cent, so, we should extend those gestures to the herdsmen.

“And it was discovered that most of these cows are not being herded by their owners. Big men buy these cattle and give them out to the herders. So, the children of the herders have nothing to inherit. They therefore, go into cattle rustling and other forms of criminalities.

“Through this policy and intervention in the livestock production, it will be possible for the herdsmen to own their own livestock and have something for the future.

“We also agreed that there is a need for good life for the herdsmen. Through these policies their children will be able to go to schools. There will be nomadic education and medical facilities through these ranches for the herdsmen and their animals.

“Grasses will be planted; irrigation and dams will be created for source of water. Lastly, we ask the public to begin to see livestock as another means of investment.”

The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, gave an indication that Nigeria might no longer be able to keep to the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons due to the killings

Chief Of Army Staff, Chief Of Air Staff & Chief Of Naval Staff Meet In Aso Rock

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Buratai; the Chief Of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar and the Chief Of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Iba, held a meeting at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja this morning.

Although the reason for the visit to the presidential villa has not been stated. The military chiefs were sighted leaving the State House at about 9.00am. It is yet to be ascertained whether they met with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, Maikanti Baru, group managing director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) and Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), are believed to have met the president, but pictures or videos of the meetings were not made public.

Buhari’s absence at key government functions has fuelled speculations about his health, with critics mounting pressure on him to step down.

It is not clear if he will be at Aso Rock mosque for Juma’at service today.

Recall that last week Friday, the president was absent in the mosque the only place Nigerians have been able to see him in the last three weeks.

Anti-Buhari Protesters Storms NASS In Solidarity With Saraki

Anti-Buhari protesters in support of Senate President Bukola Saraki on Thursday stormed National Assembly, asking the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Executive to allow Senate perform its duties.

They carried placards and banners to demand that charity should begin from Aso Villa.

One banner read: “Only fascist don’t want excesses checked by the legislature. Get rid of Executive “Grasscutters” First. Charity should begin from Aso Villa. #DontKillNASS”

Photo Credit:  Tunde Itodo

Buhari Inherited A Bad Economy, Made It Worse – Soludo

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, on Thursday said President Muhammadu Buhari had worsened the “very bad” economic situation he inherited when he assumed power in 2015. Soludo spoke at the ‘Big Ideas Podium’, a public policy debate organised by the African Heritage Institution in Enugu, where he canvassed what he termed a “citizens united” campaign by Nigerians to demand change and accountability from government at all levels.

Speaking on the theme of the debate, ‘Prognosis of the Nigerian Economy 2017’, Soludo said Nigeria was fast approaching the status of a failed state. The former apex bank chief noted that it would take nothing short of a miracle for the Federal Government to return the Naira to its exchange rate to the dollar as of the time Buhari took over on May 29, 2015.

He said, “Buhari met a very bad situation when he assumed power, but he has made the situation worse. Nigeria today is a fragile state with a failing economy. Some say failing state; some say failed state.

“The economy is not just in recession; we are suffering from massive economic compression. Saying it is recession trivializes the issue.

“It will be a miracle if after eight years, by the time it leaves office in 2023, the current administration is able to return the economy in dollar terms to the exchange rate it met when it took over.

Credit: Punch Newspaper 

Buhari Hosts Akande, Tinubu In London (Photos)

President Muhammudu Buhari today received two part chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at his Abuja House, London where he his currently enjoying his vacation.

Those who paid the President a visit includes a National Leader of the APC and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and APC’s first national chairman and former governor of the state of Osun, Chief Bisi Akande.

OsunDefender recalls that the President had last January, 2017 written to the Nigerian Senate to proceed on a medical vacation.

However, shortly after he arrive in the United Kingdom, the rumor mill went agog about the health of Mr President with some insinuating he his dead.

However, today’s visit by the party chieftains, put to rest, the rumor on President Buhari’s health.

Buhari Must Fight Corruption In Universities – Human Rights Lawyer

By Uchechukwu Ugboaja

The Convener of a civil society organisation known as League of Civil Society Groups have insisted that President Buhari must fight institutional corruption in Nigerian universities to record any success at all in the all important crusade against corruption in Nigeria.
He made this statement during his group’s press conference addressing the current issues of alleged administrative impunity and victimisation of one Mr. Peter Agi the University of Calabar Bursar by the University Management headed by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Zana Akpagu over the Bursar’s act of whistle blowing of alleged corruption and fraudulent financial activities in the University system.
The Convener and Director of the group Barr. Kamaldeen Adefila, a human rights lawyer and civil society activist who spoke to press men challenged the University of Calabar authorities to publish the report of the findings of all the security agencies including the EFCC and the Nigeria Police who on different occasions upon the invitation of the University Management investigated Mr. Agi but found nothing in him, yet the school management insisted that he should remain suspended.
According to Barr. Adefila who criticised the impunity in which Mr. Agi was removed demanded that the victim be restored back to his position with immediate effect because retaining a consultant for the collection of the university’s finances is a blatant act of corruption as the Bursar’s office is the legitimate office which should be furnished with all the details of collections and remittances rather than a consultant who is only accountable to the V.C. “We condemn in strong terms the actions of the university management in terminating the appointment of the Bursar, whose only crime is his insistence on due process in the stewardship of a federal institution funded with tax payer’s hard earned money.”
We also wish to put it on record that the Vice Chancellor in promoting this nefarious agenda which is in clear violation of a subsisting order of the National Industrial Court Uyo, ‘restraining the University of Calabar from interviewing or employing any person or persons as Bursar pending the determination of motion on notice filed and served on the University of Calabar,” he said.
The group which boasts of over 300,000 members across the country urged the VC in the spirit of the rule of law to retrace his steps and do the needful by allowing the Bursar resume his rightful functions in the eye of the laws of Nigeria. The group insists that in the spirit of fairness and equity the security agencies should extend their investigations to to the office of the Vice Chancellor and other members of his management because there is need for the VC Prof. Zane Akpagu to account for how the University of Calabar TETFUND monies were spent amongst other financial issues deliberately shrouded in secrecy. President Muhamadu Buhari as the nations no one anti-corruption crusader must not allow this victimisation to stand as he has also promised to reward every act of whistle blowing that leads to fiscal recovery by the EFCC or relevant agencies in the country.
It is on record that University of Calabar has been bedevilled by several challenges in recent past which range from violent students protests including cult clashes that have caused the University Management to shut down the school resulting to loss of academic time and lives as well. We hope this will not lead to another major crisis again.

Presidency Is Lying With Corruption, Uses Insecticides With Legislature And Deodorant For Executives – Sen. Shehu Sani

By Uchechukwu Ugboaja

Senator Shehu Sani during plenary on Tuesday slammed a letter signed by President Muhamadu Buhari rejecting the letter from the Senate requesting for the removal and prosecution of the Secretary General of Federation, Engr. Babachir Lawal on issues bothering on abuse of office.

The letter read by the Senate President stated that it cannot rely on the recommendation of a Senate committee report which it claimed was signed by 3 out of 9 members. However in a swift response from Sen. Shehu Sanni of Kaduna state who is the chairman of the senate ad hoc committee which was set up to investigate the matter claimed that the Presidency was being economical with the truth.

According to him, 7 out of 9 members signed the original report we sent to the presidency as he also claimed that his name was deliberately omitted from the members of the committee despite him being the chairman of the committee.

He also claimed that most of the companies involved were invited as well as the SGF who was notified of his invitation but he never showed up to debunk the allegations made against him for taking advantage of the humanitarian crisis suffered in the North East, where he awarded contracts to companies and organizations where he has interests.

Sen. Sanni called on the President to show with the same level of concern he shows towards the Legislature when issues of corruption are raised against members of his cabinet, for him the cleaning has to begin in Mr. President’s kitchen cabinet for it to be seen as genuine.

On the same day the Senate President Bukola Saraki also read a similar letter from President Buhari re-nominating Ibrahim Magu as the EFCC Chairman. You will recall that his nomination was initially rejected by the Senate which eventually cost former Senate Leader Ali Ndume his position as he openly debunked the position of the Senate when he claimed in an interview with State House reporters that Magu’s nomination was not rejected by the Senate.

Some senators even echoed the view that the anti corruption war shouldn’t be about specific individuals and therefore President Buhari can still find individuals within the agency or outside who can also provide the necessary bite in the fight against corruption.

“Could there be anything special about Magu?” One senator asked when walking out of the chambers?

“What has he been able to achieve despite being in acting capacity for nearly one year now? Has there been a single conviction? Shouldn’t the presidency have requested for his security report before sending him for Senate screening, rather than allow the senate to request for his report from the DSS themselves?” The Senator quipped.

These questions revealed that these letters didn’t go down well with most Senators as the murmurings were heard although the senate President decided that there wouldn’t be a debate on the letters at that moment.

However Senator Eninnaya Abaribe who spoke on the 2017 budget also x-rayed some of certain items that perennially re-appear in the budget each year.

According to him, there are certain items which we all know are not easily perishable such as computers and some other hardware which do not require changing or replacing every year but how they keep popping up in the budget remains a mystery to the senate.

So he therefore called the legislature at large when considering the budgets to look critically into these rampant cases of repetitive and irrelevant items re-appearing in the budget. For him, “the more things change the more they look the same”.

Dogara Commends Buhari, ECOWAS Leaders Over Gambia

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of the Economic Community of West African States for the role they played in averting major political crisis in the Gambia.
In a statement issued on Sunday, by his Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan,  Dogara, said President  Buhari and his colleagues have averted a major political crisis that could have engulfed not only the Gambia but the entire West African sub region.
The speaker said that the leaders masterfully deployed diplomacy backed with potential military action to compell former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh to relinquish power to President Adama Barrow.
 “The leaders have demonstrated their readiness and strong resolve to defend democracy on the continent.”
“This would send strong signal to the world that democracy has come to stay in Africa. There is no room any longer for tyrants and dictators in the continent”, he said.
The  speaker maintained that inspite of any misgivings about democracy and it’s impact on the lives of the people, it still remains the best form of government and that “The will of the people and the consent of the governed  remains the only  basis of any government.”
Dogara said that the task ahead of African leaders is to fashion ways of making the system better  to deliver the greatest good to the greater number of people in order to enthrone good government, defeat poverty, engender patriotism and trust in the democratic system of government.

2017: Get New Economic Advisers, Mbaka Tells Buhari

Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka of the Adoration Ministry in Enugu State has advised President Muhammadu Buhari on leadership in the New Year.

He gave the advice in Enugu on Saturday in his New Year message at the cross over service to 2017.

He advised the President to tackle the challenges facing the country, saying “many Nigerians are suffering.

“Though the President is trying on corruption and security, Nigerians are hungry; they want to see more changes.

“There is the need to assist businessmen and women in their businesses.”

He also advised the President to appoint experts who would help him to revive the economy.

The cleric asked the President to consult Church leaders and eminent men of God to advise him and tell him the truth about the economy.

“We cannot reach him for advice because of the kind of people around him,” he added.

He then urged Nigerians to be patient and be prayerful “as your sufferings and hardships would be over in 2017.

“Nigeria is set to be great again,” he stressed.

Buhari Denies Media Reports On Ibrahim Magu

The presidency has denied media reports that it has authorised the sack of Ibrahim Magu as the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Video: We’ve Not Been Flushed Out Of Anywhere – Abubakar Shekau

Leader of the deadly Boko Haram terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau, has said that the insurgents are safe and have “not been flushed out of anywhere”.

On Saturday, President Muhammadu Buhari had announced that Boko Haram had been crushed and their camp in Sambisa was destroyed.

“I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the Camp fell at about 1:35pm on Friday, December 22, and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide,” the president had said.

But according to PUNCH, Shekau appeared in a new 25-minute video on Thursday, in which he said that Buhari was “telling lies to the people.”

“We are safe. We have not been flushed out of anywhere. And tactics and strategies cannot reveal our location except if Allah wills by his decree,” Shekau said.

“You should not be telling lies to the people. If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?

“Our aim is to establish an Islamic Caliphate and we have our own Caliphate, we are not part of Nigeria.”