featured Op-Ed

Curing The Cancer Of Insurgency

Curing The Cancer Of Insurgency
  • PublishedFebruary 13, 2021

By Olowogboyega Oyebade

Are you aware that Nigeria is passing through a new phase of life? Do you know that Friday 5th February 2021 will go down in history when the United States Government announced to reverse itself by endorsing the former Nigerian Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to emerge as the Director General of the World Trade Organization? Do you know that this is an uncommon platitude done us as a honour, though Okonjo is an American citizen? Do you know that the United States did subtle diplomacy by advising her final challenger to the position, South Korean Trade Minister and candidate, Yoo Myung-hee to announce her withdrawal? Can you see that there is politics everywhere? The U.S.  statement on the matter, cuts in: 

“The United States takes note of today’s decision by the Republic of Korea’s Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee to withdraw her candidacy for Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Biden-Harris Administration is pleased to express its strong support for the candidacy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director General of the WTO. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala brings a wealth of knowledge in Economics and International Diplomacy from her 25 years with the World Bank and two terms as Nigerian Finance Minister. She is widely respected for her effective leadership and has proven experience managing a large international organization with a diverse membership. The Biden-Harris Administration also congratulates Minister Yoo Myung-hee on her strong campaign for this position. She is a trailblazer as the Republic of Korea’s first female trade minister and the first candidate from Korea to advance this far in the Director General selection process. The United States respects her decision to withdraw her candidacy from the Director General race to help facilitate a consensus decision at the WTO.”

Can you recall that the World Trade Organisation members in October, 2020  selected Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and Ms Yoo to advance to the final round in the race to lead the trade body? Can you recall that a spanner was thrown into what could have been a consensus candidate for Mrs Okonjo-Iweala as her nomination was  stalled as the former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration denied her support? Do you know that Nigeria as a country and Africa as a continent can smell an inviting aroma of warm relationship with the new Biden/Harris administration? Do you know that we must cultivate this administration more to mobilise support for the Green Wall Project we need most to tackle insurgency?

Do you know that if two people always agree, one of them is unnecessary? Are you aware that some people were piqued by the news on Thursday 4th February, 2021 reporting that President Buhari  extended the tenure of Mohammed Adamu as the Inspector General of Police (IGP) by three months? Do you know that the critics argued that the extension contravenes Police Act and that by extending the IGP’s tenure, the President contravened the amended Police Act 2020 which he personally signed into law? As cited by the critics, do you know that Section 7 (6) fixes a single term of four years without an option of extension of tenure for the holder of the office of the Inspector-General of Police as it reads: “A person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years”? As they further argued, do you know that Section 18 (8) of the Act also states that “Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the police force for 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier”? Are you aware that President Buhari had in the past extended the tenure of heads of military and paramilitary organisations? Can you believe that the most recent are that of the immediate past heads of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) who also got tenure extensions beyond their retirement ages? Do you know that the powers of the President to do this is provided for in the Constitution to the exclusion of any other person or body in Nigeria? Do you know that what should concern us is the security of lives and property and how to tackle insurgency rather than castigate the beneficiary of an executive action, an action he has no control over? Do you know that we must remain focused on our common enemy which is insurgency? The voice of Mr Dingyadi on the matter cuts in: “Mr President has decided that the present IGP, Mohammed Adamu, will continue to serve as the IG for the next three months, to allow for a robust and efficient process of appointing a new IG. This is not unconnected to the desire of Mr President to, not only have a smooth handover, but to also ensure that the right officer is appointed into that position.”

Have you heard the news? Are you aware that on Friday 5th February, 2021, Mele Kyari, group managing director (GMD) of NNPC, on Friday, told Reuters in an interview that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is renegotiating commercial contract terms with major oil firms, in a move to keep investment flowing into a sector crucial for the country’s economy? Do you know that oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon-Mobil, Total and Eni, are cutting billions in spending after taking hits to their profits, shifting money to renewable fuels and focusing only on the most cost-effective markets? According to Kyari, do you know that the new commercial terms being negotiated would be finalised before the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) — a pending long-awaited oil overhaul bill, is passed? 

Do you know that he hinted further that by end of June 2021, the corporation is planning to secure $2 billion financing to overhaul its Warri and Kaduna refineries and that talks are underway on financing repairs to the Port Harcourt refinery after a pre-finance bid for more than $1 billion was oversubscribed, adding that the money will be repaid in profits and fuel cargoes from the refineries, rather than in oil cargoes? Do you know that Nigeria’s four refineries have not operated at full capacity for years, prompting NNPC to shut all of them completely in 2020 as it awaits much-needed maintenance, repair and upgrades, leaving the refineries with a hefty fuel import bill? Do you know that Nigerians should be made to debate whether we need to repair these refineries or give to private companies to repair and run? Do you know that using government resources to do Turn-Around maintenance has not been assisting the economy of Nigeria?  

Are you aware that on Thursday 4th February, 2021, Nigerians joined the rest of the world to mark World Cancer Day, an international day to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment? Do you know that the primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer as close to 10 million people die of cancer each year world? Do you know that Cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths in Nigeria every year, with an estimated 102,000 new cases of cancer annually? As we are weakened by dismal statistics highlighted in the cancer campaigns, Do you know that over 4 million people were injured and as many as 200 000 people died through road accidents in Nigeria in 2020? Do you know that this is more cancerous? Can you believe that at least 1,606 people were killed in the 125 fatal incidents, making an average of 13 deaths per violent event in the Boko Haram insurgency in 2020 as published on 7th  December, 2020? Do you know that these casualties are not part of the dead and the injured in several theatres of war and conflicts in Nigeria in 2020? Can you see that apart from cancer, there are more debilitating ailments sentencing us to terminal deaths on a daily basis? Do you know that while we can promote cancer awareness to reduce mortality, insurgency alone can cause war and dismember a nation? Can you recall that the First World War began in the summer of 1914, shortly after the assassination of Austria’s Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, a death seen as too many? Do you know that the war it caused lasted more than four years, ending in 1918 with more than 20 million soldiers dead and 21 million more wounded? Do you know that the time has come for us to look for the cure of the cancer of insurgency, now before it sentences us to terminal end? 

    Have you heard the news? On Tuesday 2nd February, 2021, when 15 Local Government chairmen of Taraba State paid Governor Darius Ishaku a condolence visit after the burial of one of them who was kidnapped and subsequently killed by gunmen, do you know that he lamented the worsening state of insecurity, adding that the situation has gone to its lowest ebb and demands reawakening while urging other Nigerians alive to be vigilant? His voice cuts in: “You can’t keep doing the same wrong thing over and over. And if we can’t be able to provide security for our citizens then allow all the citizens to buy AK47 (gun). If everybody is licensed with AK47 (gun), I swear… nobody will come to your house and if the person even comes, it will now depend of who is faster between both of you. But in a situation where we’re all guarded with one particular security system that has been unable to work and we’re told to sit down and be counting the day our time will come; I don’t agree with it. The security in this country has gone to the lowest ebb and we have to all wake up. We as leaders have given our advice severally as to the change to the security architecture, you cannot keep doing one thing over and over and expect a different result. If we cannot be able to provide security for our citizens, then allow all the citizens to buy AK-47, because if everybody is licensed with AK-47, I swear nobody will come to your house, or peradventure he does then it depends on who is faster. In a situation where we are all gagged with one security system that has been unable to work, and we are told to sit down and be counting the day our turn will come, I do not agree with it.”

Are you aware that Max Weber describes a State as having the only legitimate authority to use physical force within its borders? Do you know that when this is suspect, the super-structure of a State is altered? Do you know that there are many self-imposed authorities now in the country displaying the use of physical force, spreading cancer of insurgency? Are you aware that on 12th August, 2020, Wikipedia, the free web-based encyclopedia, updated its list of failed States for the world to see? Do you know that Nigeria is now one of the countries on the list without this country protesting the listing? Can you believe that this free web-based encyclopedia describes a failed State as a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly? According to it, do you know that a State can also fail if the government loses its legitimacy even if it is performing its functions properly? Do you know that some countries listed as a failed state include; Syria, Somalia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Liberia, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Sudan and South Sudan? Are we truly justifying the inclusion of our country in the list or not? You care to know? Come along with us.

Can you see how we justify our pre-eminence in the league of failed nations? Do you know that the Fund for Peace describes a failed State as having the following characteristics: loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein, erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions, inability to provide public services, inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community? Do you know that the common characteristics of a failing state listed, include: a weak or ineffective central government, the intervention of state and non-state actors, the appearance of refugees and the involuntary movement of populations, sharp economic decline, and military intervention from both within and without the state in question? 

    Are you aware that on 2nd February, 2021, worried by the high rate of insecurity in the North-West region of Nigeria,  a renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dr Aimed Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi visited some bandits in the forests of Shinkafi and Gummi Local Government areas of Zamfara State to spread the message of Islam and rid the country of kidnappings and banditry? According to the report, do you know that Gummi and his entourage were said to have first gone to the forest of Tubali and Makkai in Shinkafi LGA which were under the control of armed herdsmen? Do you know that at the first settlement in Tubali Forest, Gumi was said to have met with about 150 armed bandits who expressed their grievances and why it would be difficult for them to surrender their arms? Do you know that the chairman of Shinkafi Local Government reportedly said before the peace agreement with the bandits, there were frequent and rampant cases of kidnappings on Shinkafi-Gusau road while instances of frequent attacks with heavy casualties were rampant? The voice of the bandit commander, identified simply as Bello, cuts in: “Let the killings of our loved ones by security agents without due process of the law stop, as well as cattle rustling that denied most of us legitimate means of livelihood.”

    According to the report, at Makkai Forest, do you know that Sheik Gumi and his entourage met with more than 600 bandits with automatic rifles and their top commander, one Kachalla Turji, welcomed the Sheikh? Like in Tubali, do you know that the bandits in Makkai expressed frustration at government’s attitude towards them? The voice of Gumi cuts in: “Let there be peace; you all have a legitimate concern and grievances and I believe that since the Niger Delta armed militants were integrated by the Federal Government and are even in the business of pipelines protection, the Federal Government should immediately look into how something like that will be done to the Fulani to provide them with reasonable means of livelihood including jobs, working capitals, entrepreneurship training, building clinic and schooling.”

    Are you aware that this renowned Islamic scholar was reported on Thursday 4th February, 2021 to have briefed Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State at Government House, Gusau? According to the cleric, do you know that the bandits have turned into insurgents following “the bad treatment from the people of the state”?   Do you know that he appealed to governments at all levels to make peace with the bandits, saying dialogue is the only option to end the menace? His voice cuts in: “In most of the bandits and Fulani camps we have visited in Zamfara, I come to understand that what is happening in the State is nothing but an insurgency. Some people are of the view that the bandits should be fought and killed, but what we must understand is that majority of them are illiterates who need proper education and enlightenment.” 

    Are you aware that on Friday 5th February, 2021, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed stated that the Federal Government was aware of talks between renowned Sheikh Gumi and the bandits in Zamfara State and that it was not unusual for the cleric to act as a bridge between the government and the bandits? The voice of the Minister cuts in: “When you want to resolve an issue like this, you use lots of back channels. Again, it is not unusual for a respected cleric to have the confidence of (approaching) outlaws or bandits. As a matter of fact, they are probably ready to listen to him more than they are ready to listen to the government. They are probably ready to believe him more. So, it is not unusual for him to act as a bridge between government and the outlaws in an attempt to find solution. What I am sure is that he must be working for peace.”

Are you aware that this initiative is not unusual as it is now being pursued in Burkina Faso, a country which shares a border with Mali and Niger, and has since 2015 been the scene of regular attacks by bandits? As it is going on in Nigeria, do you know that many people had been killed and a million of Burkina Faso’s population of 20.5 million have fled their homes? Do you know that swathes of the country are out of the government’s control, a situation that forced the country to set up an anti-jihadist militia called the the Volunteers for the Defence of the Motherland (VDP) in November 2019? Do you know that the issues causing banditry there are the same with the issues in Nigeria? Have you heard the news? Do you know that on 4th February, 2021, Burkina Faso’s Prime Minister,  Christophe Dabire, floated the idea of negotiations with jihadist groups, an idea rejected until now by President Roch Marc Christian Kabore? Do you know that the country is facing a bloody campaign waged by jihadist groups who entered Burkina Faso in 2015 from neighbouring Mali? Do you know that we must race fast to embrace the Sheik Gumi’s recommendation in the interim if only we need peace? Do you know that we must not waste time like Richard II so that time will not waste us? You care about that? Come along. The voice of Dabire in a speech to parliament about general government policy, cuts in: 

“All great wars have ended around a table. That means that if we want to get out of this situation, sooner or later we must reflect on the possibility that we may eventually undertake discussions.  We are not saying that Burkina Faso is against negotiations with terrorists, because even great countries… have reached a moment or other where they sit around a table with terrorists.”

    Do you read Shakespearean plays? Have you read Richard II written around 1595 by William Shakespeare? Do you know that it is the first play in Shakespeare’s second histology put together in a series of four plays that narrates the rancorous rise of the House of Lancaster to the British throne? Do you know that in the drama series, we have Richard II, Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2, and Henry V, a chronicle of power game in the old British Empire? Do you know that there is a power-game going on in all these crises? Do you know that Richard II is set around the year 1398 to simply trace the fall from power of the last king of the house of Plantagenet, Richard II, and his replacement by the first Lancaster king, Henry IV? How did it happen? Do you know that time is of essence in all power-games? Come along.

Do you know that Richard II ascends to the throne as a very young man, an advantage that inspires the poor citizens to expect much from him to turn their fortunes around for good? Do you know that he chooses to be regal in outlook, engaging in conspicuous consumption, wasteful in his spending habits, unwise in his choice of aides and totally detached from his country and its common people as he puts their welfare and security on the secondary list? Can you believe that Richard II spends too much of his time pursuing inane things, leaving the substance for the mundane, acquiring the latest Italian fashions, spending money on campaigns to please only his close friends, and raising exorbitant taxes to fund his avoidable pet wars in Ireland and elsewhere? Can you believe that he begins to lease out like a prodigal son, parcels of English land to certain wealthy noblemen to make secret profits, the profits he spends on wars? Can you imagine that in his despondency, he confiscates the land and money of a recently deceased and much respected uncle to enrich himself, an act that enrages both the commoners and the king’s noblemen, an act they feel that he has gone too far? Do you know that in the frenzy of power of Richard II, he exiles his popular cousin from England for six years on a case of unresolved political murder? Do you know that for appropriating what belongs to his uncle, a rebellion breaks out, a rebellion that is fuelled by commoners, who are angry and hungry at Richard’s mismanagement of the country? Do you know that professional politicians in this clime decamp easily? Do you know that in the invasion, one by one, Richard’s allies in the nobility desert him and defect to the side of the opposition in England, thus making him and his generation to lose power? Do you know that he regrets wasting precious time to act decisively while in power? His voice resonates in Act 5 Scene 5 Page 2: 

“Ha! Keep time. How awful music is when they don’t keep time and the notes’ proportions are ruined. It’s the same thing in men’s lives. And here I can chastise the poor time kept on an out-of-tune instrument, when in the harmony of my government and life I couldn’t hear my own time breaking. I wasted time then, and now time wastes me. 

    Do you know that the crises on ground are well planned by educated men using the uneducated ones as weak links to peace? Do you know that the solution is not a race but a marathon? Do you know that every bureaucrat in this country, be he in uniform or mufti, should know that war is not an option, hence the immediate need to embrace the suggestion of Sheik Gumi saying: “since the Niger Delta armed militants were integrated by the Federal Government and are even in the business of pipelines protection, the Federal Government should immediately look into how something like that will be done to the Fulani to provide them with reasonable means of livelihood including jobs, working capitals, entrepreneurship training, building clinic and schooling.” 

    Are you aware that there has been a larger plan that we have been dodging? Can you believe that only 12% of the territory in China is arable, yet China has the World’s amplest agricultural production? Do you know that every arable land is used intensively? Can you imagine that such a crowded country could be self-sufficient in terms of food security? Do you know that the Gobi Desert in China which extends until Mongolia is one of the driest deserts on Earth? Do you know that the Xinjang Region, in the northwest is almost desertic but the drop-to-drop irrigation makes Xinjang people to grow vegetables with no rainfall to produce tomatoes, garlic, onions, watermelons, melons and much more for local consumption and export? Do you know that this is what we need? How did China do it? You care to know? Come along.

    Have you heard of the ‘Great Green Wall’ in China? Can you believe that China implemented the ‘Great Green Wall’ project in 1978 to hold back the expansion of the Gobi Desert and provide timber to the local population? Do you know that a quarter of all landmass in China is desert? What brought the idea? Do you know that prior to the project, 27.4% of land in China had undergone desertification, affecting about 400 million people? Do you know that a 2013 report by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Land Degradation and Droughts noted that in the past 40 years, the Earth has lost a third of its arable land, mostly to erosion and degradation? Do you know that this was the problem China faced with its over-sized population,  living in arid land that did not have the required ecological carrying and restoring capacity? Do you know that the Great Green Wall project came on stream and it is expected to continue until 2050? Do you know that the project aims to plant around 88 million acres of forests in a wall? Do you know that in China, over the last few years, 13 million hectares of trees have been planted and it now seems that desertification is probably starting to stop and forests are growing faster than the desert? Do you know that this ecological regeneration has been practiced also in Algeria and it is a story of success? Do you know that without this science, herders cannot be well rehabilitated in Nigeria? 

    Are you aware that the Green Dam Project of Algeria is a product of the excursion of the Sahara Desert in 1952 by Richard Baker who saw how the power of trees to stabilize the soil could be used to halt desertification? Do you know that during that journey, he got the intuition of a Green Front, a band of trees that would act as a front-line barrier to contain the desert? Do you know that  Algeria implemented a vast reforestation project called the Green Dam in 1974 to stop the advancing desert? Do you know that the project was intended to reforest an area of  3 million hectares from east to west, over a length of 1,200 km and a width varying from 5 to 20 km? 

    Are you aware of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI)? Do you know that in 2002, the idea of a similar barrier like the ones in China and Algeria was launched to reverse desertification in the eleven  countries south of the Sahara, during a special summit held during the annual World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought? Do you know that the African Union endorsed the project in 2007, launching the “Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI)? Do you know that the aim of this Wall is to prevent the desertification of the Sahel, the transition zone along the southern edge of the Sahara? Do you know that the trees of the Wall would be planted in a belt stretching across the entire continent of Africa, from Senegal in the west to the Republic of Djibouti in the east, spanning the 9 other African countries that lie in between? Do you know that the programme is to include boosting food security, and supporting local communities to adapt to climate change? Do you know that desertification is caused by drought and overgrazing and uncontrolled deforestation? Do you know that this is the programme we all must face? Do you know that the initiative seeks to help communities mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as improve food security for the population of the Sahel region dominated by the Fulani and Shua Arabs? Do you know that their population  is expected to double by 2039, adding urgency to the project? 

    Are you aware of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, an intergovernmental organization that oversees water and other natural resource usage in the basin with membership which includes: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Algeria, the Central African Republic, Libya, and Sudan, chosen essentially for their proximity to Lake Chad? Do you know that the Commission was created on 22nd May, 1964? Do you know that the Central African Republic joined in 1996, Sudan was admitted in July 2000 as an observer while Libya joined in 2008? Do you know that other countries with observer status are Egypt, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo which are fed by the Ubangi River being considered for diversion into Lake Chad? Do you know that the basin was home to great civilizations and empires which included the Sokoto, Kano, Katsina and Kanem Borno Empires? 

    Can you recall that it was a basin providing water transport, fish, wild-life, agriculture and food to sustain the old trans-Saharan trade routes to North Africa and the Middle East? Do you know that the issue of climatic change leading to drought has made the water-bodies to dry up, causing a major threat to livelihood? Do you view the basin as small? No! Do you know that the Chad Basin covers almost 8% of the African continent, with an area of about 2,434,000 square kilometres and ringed by mountains which include: the Aïr Mountains and the Termit Massif in Niger, the Tassili n’Ajjer mountains, the Tibesti Mountains to the north of the basin include Emi Koussi, the highest mountain in the Sahara at 3,415 metres, the Ennedi Plateau, the Ouaddaï highlands, the Marrah Mountains in Darfur, the Adamawa Plateau, Jos Plateau, Biu Plateau, and Mandara Mountains here in Nigeria? Do you know that the Lake Chad replenishment project is a proposed major water diversion scheme that would involve damming the right tributaries of the Congo river, channeling some of the water to Lake Chad through a navigable canal? Do you know that this project needs inter-regional collaboration to address the problem of the Chad Basin? Can you recall that on 13th November, 2020, former Italian Prime Minister, former EU Commission chief and former UN Special Envoy for the Sahel Romano Prodi stated that the populations around Lake Chad could not wait any longer and called for the EU, the UNO, the AU and China to join hands to finance and build Transaqua to replenish the Chad Basin? Why? Can you believe that as of 2011, over 30 million people lived in the Chad Basin? Do you know that this population of the is higher than that of Yemen (29,825,964),Nepal(29,136,808),Venezuela(28,435,940) Madagascar (27,691,018) Cameroon (26,545,863), Côte d’Ivoire (26,378,274), North Korea    (25,778,816) and  Australia (25,499,884)? Do you know that the water bodies there do not flow into any sea? Do you know that as Fulani herders leave the place as a result of drought and desertification, do you know that terrorists from Libya, Sudan and Syria move in there to colonise the large ungoverned territories in the basin? As various war-lords create new empires in that corridor, do you know that livelihood there fits properly to the Hobbesian description of a state of nature where man is under no control, where life becomes brutish, nasty, selfish and dangerous? Can you believe that the Chad Basin is the largest endorheic basin in Africa, with no outlet to the sea and very rich in mineral resources which provide lucrative livelihood to the terrorists in the area? Do you know that this is the time for Nigeria to promote Lake Chad replenishment project  that would involve damming the right tributaries of the Congo river, channeling some of the water to Lake Chad through a navigable canal? And one more solution! 

    Do you know that the “one-village-one-dam” is one of the flagship programmes of the government of Ghana which aims at providing all-year round water for irrigation and enhance agricultural productivity and net export of foodstuffs in northern Ghana? Do you know that the initiative employs almost 50 percent of the population as at July, 2018? Do you know that the Ghanaian government constructed a total of 570 dams and 15 warehouses in the northern region to aid agricultural development and to create conditions for an all-year-round farming? Can you see that this initiative is scientific to solve herders/ farmers clashes? The voice of Nana Ado cuts in:  “It is long overdue and that is why we have committed ourselves to the programme of one-village-one-dam, so that every part of the northern region of our country will have access to water and irrigation to be able to support farming all year round,” he said, while interacting with residents of the Builsa North District as part of his one-week tour of the Northern Region. 

    Do you know that the time is now to copy China and Algeria to create our own Great Green Wall? Do you know that the time is now for Nigeria to copy the initiative of Ghana on one-village-oner dam programme to popularize agriculture to engage the people, reduce poverty and makes them less restive? Do you know that our hope is no longer strong in oil? You care to know? Come along.     Can you recall that on 7th December, 2020, as part of efforts to increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Food growers Association of Nigeria (FOGAN), disclosed that it would increase its membership from three million as at last planting season to 10 million before the 2022 planting season? Do you know that the association promised to train the grassroots farmers in modern farming techniques and partner with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide modern equipment for farmers, such as tractor, harvesters and sprayers at affordable rate? Do you know that this programme will receive a better boost if Nigeria could copy Ghana’s “ One-Community- One Dam” policy for rural development? Do you know that oil economy will soon disappoint us? 

    Have you heard the news? Do you know that Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday 4th February, 2021 expressed concern that the company needs to take a hard look at activities on its Nigerian onshore oil operations following continued theft and sabotage? Do you know that Ben van Beurden, the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell disclosed this to newsmen in response to court orders to Shell over activities related to oil spillage?  Can you recall that a Dutch court ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to pay compensation over oil spills in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in a civil case involving 4 Nigerian farmers seeking compensation, and a cleanup, from the company over pollution caused by leaking oil pipelines? Do you know that Chevron is considering divesting from Nigeria, to focus on U.S Shale Oil?  Do you know that Shell is reported to cut 9,000 jobs globally due to oil price crash as it shifts to clean energy? Do you know that very soon, oil will not yield the needed resources to us with rising cancer of insurgency? Do you know that this is the time to support Marshall Plan for the herders and the agriculture family and popularize processing, transporting, marketing and storage of natural gas  as alternatives to oil? Do you know that we must diversify the economy into massive agriculture, tourism, sports and digital innovation if we are to reverse this seeming cancer of unemployment and insurgency?

    Do you know that the government should move to reduce risks of violence? While fashioning out the propriety or otherwise of a Marshall Plan for the Fulani herdsmen as suggested by Sheik Gumi, do you know that we need to strengthen security arrangements to sustain campaigns against cattle rustling and rural banditry; improve early-warning systems; maintain operational readiness of rural-based police and other security units; encourage communication and collaboration with local authorities; and tighten control of production, circulation and possession of illicit firearms and ammunition, especially automatic rifles, by strengthening cross-border cooperation with neighbouring countries’ security forces; establish or strengthen conflict mediation, resolution, reconciliation and peace-building mechanisms and  establish grazing reserves in consenting States? Do you know that we must promote African Union’s  agenda to do afforestation of  Sahel region and Sahara Desert? Do you know that Nigeria should work with Cameroon, Chad and Niger to regulate movements across borders, particularly of cattle rustlers, armed herders and others that have been identified as aggravating internal tension and insecurity in Nigeria? Do you know that some of the proposed steps will not yield immediate results, hence the need to take remedial actions with a greater sense of urgency? Do you know that failure to respond, decisively and effectively, would allow Nigeria to continue sliding into increasing cancer of insurgency? 

    We appreciate Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for making the State of Osun a pride of place for peace and harmony in all communities.  God bless Osun! God bless Nigeria!

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