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There’s no land in Benue for open grazing, says Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has vowed to continue with the anti-open grazing law passed in the state, insisting that “there’s no land in Benue for open grazing.”

The Governor also said that he would not adopt the cattle colonies suggested by the federal government through the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, stressing that herdsmen have no free land in Benue to graze their cattle.

Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom The Governor however said that he saw signs of the impending herdsmen attack in the state and had reported same to the security agencies only for the security agencies to treat the alarm with lackadaisical attitude.

Ortom made this known on Wednesday in Makurdi at a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss the security situation in the State. “I saw the attacks coming and we wrote several letters of complaint to the police and complained to the presidency, yet nothing happened.

“We called for the arrest of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) but nobody responded; we have facts that can be used against them.”

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris and top police officers including the DIG operations, Habila Joshak, two commissioners of police for Benue and Nasarawa states were in attendance.

The governor expressed regret that after repeated complaints to the police and other security agencies in the country on the threats of attacks by MACBAN, nothing was done to secure lives and property in the state.

“We called for the arrest of leaders of the association; we had evidence to support our claims but nobody paid heed to us. “We wrote to you IGP three times but received no response.

We briefed the presidency yet to no avail,” he lamented. Ortom said the refusal of the security agencies to act and their lackadaisical attitude on the matter led to the mayhem of Jan. 1.

He wondered why open statements of intended aggression against the state on national television, radio stations by members of the association had not been investigated and arrests effected. He vowed to continue with the anti open grazing law, stressing “there is no land in Benue for open grazing”.

Ortom said he would not adopt the cattle colonies as suggested by the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh. He appealed to the IGP to immediately order for the arrest of leaders of MACBAN to give hope to the ordinary citizens that all people were equal before the law.

The governor said that the herdsmen that attacked the state came from their bases in Nasarawa State and challenged the police to refute his claims.

Responding, the IGP said he had not received such letters of complaints from the governor but promised to investigate the claims and fish out the aggressors.

He said the police had deployed 663 police operatives and created 10 mobile units to deal with the insecurity in the state. Idris said the police would deploy helicopter surveillance to monitor the movement of such miscreants across the state and pledged to be diligent in discharging the presidential assignment.

He explained that the situation was not yet beyond the capacity of the police, stressing “there is no need for the army to be invited”. Other speakers at the meeting include the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, called on the IGP to ensure the arrest of the aggressors.

They rejected the suggestion for the establishment of cattle colonies in the state and affirmed their support for the implementation of the anti open grazing law.

They also called on the Federal Government to commence the process of establishing ranches across the country as a panacea to farmers/herders clashes.

The high point of the meeting was the open apology by the IGP for describing the Benue killings as “communal clashes”, following insistence from participants.

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‘Like Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen Have Declared War On Nigeria’ – Wole Soyinka

The continous attacks and killings carried out by Fulani herdsmen in many parts of the country have been described by Professor Wole Soyinka as a declaration of war on Nigeria.

The Nobel Laureate made the position known in a statement released on Wednesday, January 10.

He also warned President Muhammadu Buhari against treating the case of the herdsmen lightly, saying he should avoid falling into the same trap former president Goodluck Jonathan fell into with the Boko Haram sect.

Soyinka wrote, “We have been here before – now, ‘before’ is back with a vengeance.

“President Goodluck Jonathan refused to accept that marauders had carried off the nation’s daughters; President Muhammed Buhari and his government – including his Inspector-General of Police – in near identical denial, appear to believe that killer herdsmen who strike again and again at will from one corner of the nation to the other, are merely hot-tempered citizens whose scraps occasionally degenerate into “communal clashes” – I believe I have summarized him accurately.

“The Marauders are naughty children who can be admonished, paternalistically, into good neighbourly conduct. Sometimes of course, the killers were also said be non-Nigerians after all. The contradictions are mind-boggling.”

The Nobel Laureate recalled that there have been steps taken to quell the attacks but none of the efforts have yielded results.

Soyinka said, “I applaud the plans of your ministry, I am in a position to know that much thought – and practical steps – have gone into long-term plans for bringing about the creation of ‘ranches’, ‘colonies’ – whatever the name – including the special cultivation of fodder for animal feed and so on and on. However, the present national outrage is overimpunity. It rejects the right of any set of people, for whatever reason, to take arms against their fellow men and women, to acknowledge their exploits in boastful and justifying accents and, in effect, promise more of the same as long as their terms and demands are not met. In plain language, they have declared war against the nation, and their weapon is undiluted terror. Why have they been permitted to become a menace to the rest of us? That is the issue!

“Permit me to remind you that, early in 2016, an even more hideous massacre was perpetrated by this same Murder Incorporated – that is, a numerical climax to what had been a series across a number of Middle Beltand neighbouringstates, with Benue taking the brunt of the butchery. A peace meeting was called, attended by the state government and security agencies of the nation, including the Inspector General of Police. This group attended – according to reports- with AK47s and other weapons of mass intimidation visible under their garments. They were neither disarmed nor turned back.”

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Video: Kemi Olunloyo regains freedom after spending 90 days in prison

Kemi Olunloyo who announced getting back her freedom after her imprisonment for the the third time on her Instagram handle, also thanked those who helped in her release. She wrote;

“#BREAKING I have been released from Port Harcourt maximum prison for the third time in 12 months. To the Federal government of Nigeria, pls decongest #PHMax. Our young #Igbo #Ogoni #Ikwere#Calabar #AkwaIbom males are all LOCKED UP and not fed adequately. Many wasting away with skin and health problems. The Federal Ministry of Interior needs to intervene FAST! Special thanks to @areafada1 and #ourmumudondomovement which I helped launch @tvcconnect Dec 13th 2016. .
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Details in my upcoming book #StraightOuttaPHMax
Blogging my prison experience begins soon”

 

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Yusuf Buhari To Be Transferred To Germany For Further Treatment

Yusuf Buhari, President Muhammadu Buhari’s only son involved in a horror bike accident on boxing day would be transferred to St Josefs Hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany for further treatment.

SaharaReporters gathered that the President’s son who sustained brain injury as a result of the accident will be accompanied by his mother, Aisha Buhari, his sister, Mrs. Halima Buhari-Sheriff, the personal physician to the first lady, Dr. Kamal Mohammed and three other aides.

Yusuf sustained the injury while driving his motorbike in Gwarinpa, Abuja.

Medical sources said Yusuf had remained largely unresponsive to treatment at Cedarcrest Hospital where he was first taken after the bike accident in Abuja.

Saharareporters

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Wrong to say Buhari condoning killer Fulani herdsmen – Presidency

The Presidency has absolved President Muhammadu Buhari of killings perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen in Benue State and other parts of the federation.

It stated that Buhari was concerned about the persistent herdsmen and farmers’ clashes, especially when he sees gruesome pictures of those that were slaughtered.

Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, who gave the clarification in a statement, said Buhari was determined to bring an end to the persistent herdsmen and farmers’ crisis.

The statement reads, “He deeply sympathizes with the families and all the other direct and indirect victims of this violence. He is determined to bring it to a permanent end.”

The statement revealed that Mr. Buhari had been advised to challenge the constitutionality of the anti-open grazing law passed by Benue and Ekiti States, a suggestion he rejected.

“To find short term and long term solutions to frequent conflicts between farmers and cattle rearers, the Presidency is coming up with a conference of stakeholders on infrastructural and agricultural development to put in place a plan for immediate relief and long term plan for the expansion of agriculture in the country.

“The conference will tap into experiences and best practices to draw up a planned development 20-30 years ahead based on population and development projections and will take into consideration environmental impacts.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has been concerned about these conflicts each time he received those very gruesome pictures of mayhem from several parts of the country, especially as it affected Benue and neighbouring states. He is equally worried about some public pronouncements and finger-pointing that are, in most cases very unhelpful to peaceful coexistence of our diverse peoples.

“The President is conscious of his duty to Nigerians, not least because he is held accountable for everything that goes wrong. He deeply sympathizes with the families and all the other direct and indirect victims of this violence. He is determined to bring it to a permanent end.

“While there are many Nigerians who see the conflict between the nomadic herdsmen and peasant farmers as an ethnic problem, others point to religious differences and agenda. The President does not subscribe to such simplistic reductionism.

“President Buhari holds the view, as do many experts, that these conflicts are more often than not, as a result of major demographic changes in Nigeria. When Nigeria attained independence, the population of the country was estimated at about 63,000,000. Today the population is estimated at close to 200,000,000; while the land size has not changed and will not change. Urban sprawl and development have simply reduced land area both for peasant farming and cattle grazing.

“It is therefore both unfair and unkind, for anyone to keep insinuating that the President is condoning the spate of killings in Benue and other neighboring States.

“President Buhari has publicly condemned the violence at every turn. He is prepared to permit every possible step that can lead to the stoppage of the killings. It is on account of this he brushed aside an opinion that the federal government should challenge the constitutionality of the anti-open grazing bill. He wanted to give a chance to the State government to succeed in stopping the senseless killings.

“It will be recalled that as he did in dealing with the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, which required sustained action from the government before it was finally curtailed, President Buhari gave the relevant mandates to the country’s security agencies to put a stop to the Benue killings.

“The killings must stop and the security agencies have the President’s support to do this as quickly as possible.

“Whipping up hate may captivate the public and score political points on social media, but it will not bring an end to the crisis. Let every stakeholder instead sit down with the government and security forces and carry everyone along in finding an all-embracing solution.

“As a father, a military General and a statesman, President Buhari has maintained lasting relationships with Nigerians, Muslims and Christians among every ethnic group. It is also a known fact that the young people who trek the whole distance of thousands of kilometers tending the cattle do not own the cattle. In fact many of the cattle are not owned by Fulanis or Muslims. The point is that it is too simplistic to see the conflict as ethnic or religious.

“The President seeks the support and cooperation of all citizens and the media in particular, to join hands with his administration to find permanent solutions and not to aggravate or escalate tensions in all conflict areas of the country,” Shehu said.

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[VIDEOS] Trump booed as he arrives for college football game, ‘forgets’ words to national anthem

Donald Trump was booed by fans as he attended a college football game between the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.

The president was at the ceremony to make the opening of the college football national championships on Monday.

But fans were left waiting in the rain outside after the Atlanta stadium was locked down for Trump’s arrival.

Boos were heard along with cheers as Trump’s motorcade pulled up to the stadium and then again during the ceremony, when the divisive politician appeared to forget the words to the national anthem.

Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey tweeted that Trump was “both cheered and booed as he strode to midfield for the national anthem”.

 Mr Dawsey added that it “sounded like mainly cheers.”

He said that Trump “stood stoic at midfield, hand over heart, mouthing words.” (Yahoo News UK)

 

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Perm Sec settles with EFCC, forfeits N664m SURE-P fund

The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday, Tuesday ordered the serving Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Clement Onubuogo, to permanently forfeit to the FG the sums of N664m and $137,680.11 found in his bank accounts.

Justice Saliu Saidu gave the forfeiture order pursuant to an application to the same effect by the EFCC. Onubuogo did not oppose application.

The EFCC told the court that the permanent secretary diverted the funds from SURE-P, a youth empowerment programme initiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

At the Tuesday’s proceedings, Onubuogo’s lawyer, Mr. T.S. Awana, told Justice Saidu that his client had opted for an out-of-court settlement with the EFCC.

The court had, last August, also ordered him to temporarily forfeit two landed properties. One of the properties was Onubuogo’s house, known as Clement Illoh’s Mansion located at Ikom Quarters, Issala-Azegba, Delta State; while the other, a hotel, is said to be located at No. 19, Madue Nwofor Street, off Achala Ibuzo Road, Asaba, Delta State.

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Graphic: Corpses litter the ground as lawmaker visits his LGA in Taraba

Hon Joseph Albasu Alkinjo kunini, the member representing Lau LGA in the Taraba State House of Assembly, recently visited the villages affected by the lingering crisis between farmers and herdsmen in his local government.

During his visit, many corpses were spotted all over the villages. The lawmaker commiserated with the people and sued for peace among them. Soldiers and JTF have since been deployed in and around the crisis areas.

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Buhari orders IGP to relocate immediately to Benue

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to immediately relocate to Benue State, following ongoing tension in the state following renewed killings of residents by suspected herdsmen.

The presidential directive to the police chief late Monday night, particularly mandated the police boss to immediately restore law and order, prevent further loss of lives and forestall the crisis from escalating and spreading .
To this end,the IGP, according to a statement from the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, a Chief Superintendent of Police,is moving into Benue state with additional five units of Police Mobile Force (PMF), making a total of ten units of PMF deployed in the state which is in addition to other police formations on the ground in the State.

The full statement read thus:”In compliance with the Presidential directives, the IGP is moving into Benue state with additional Five (5) Units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) making a total of Ten (10) Units of PMF deployed in the State which is in addition to other Police formations on the ground in the State before the crisis. “More Units of the Police Special Forces, Counter Terrorism Units, and Conventional Policemen are already being deployed to the State as at this time today to comply in totality with the Presidential order ” They Aerial Surveillance by Police Helicopters will continue, while the Police Mobile Force Personnel, Police Special Forces and conventional Police Personnel, the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Police Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD) and Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Teams already deployed to Benue State will carry on un-relentlessly with the patrols and crime prevention activities in the affected areas to sustain the normalcy that have been restored in the State. “The Force will not hesitate to deal decisively with trouble maker(s), any group(s) or individual for conduct likely to instigate the escalation of the crisis. The full weight of the law will be applied on anyone arrested for being responsible for the mayhem in the affected areas.

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NUC APPROVES LASU OPEN AND DISTANCE LEARNING INSTITUTE

The National Universities Commission (NUC) has approved by the establishment of the Lagos State University (LASU) Open and Distance Learning and Research Institute (ODLRI).

The approval came after a recent visit by the Universities Regulatory Body to assess the facilities of the Institute at the Main Campus of the University in Ojo.

The ODLRI was established by the Prof. Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun-led administration to replace the now rested LASU External System (LASUES) and provide opportunity for millions of knowledge seekers who are desirous of pursuing their first degrees in the University, but are unable to gain admission into the regular programmes.

The ODLRI Board is headed by renowned Academic and Former Executive Secretary, NUC, Dist. Prof. Peter Okebukola.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Fagbohun, while receiving the NUC team on their assessment visit, had assured the Executive Secretary, NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed that LASU-ODLRI will be the gold standard in the delivery of quality University education in Africa through the Open and Distance Learning delivery platform.

The approved take-off programme is the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

LASU-ODLRI has several unique features. Course contents are pitched above NUC minimum standards with slant on 21-Century skills especially critical thinking, teamwork, entrepreneurship and digital literacy.

It will be delivered on a learner-friendly, easy-to-navigate e-learning platform with 24-hour learner support.

It will apply global best practices in Open and Distance learning delivery. Another distinguishing feature is that it will embed research and development into all operations.  

All course materials are pilot tested before full diffusion. There are no imported courseware as all materials are proudly homegrown in LASU.

It will blend 30% on-campus instruction with 70% instruction in a technology-enabled virtual learning environment.

With the approval of the Institute, sale of forms is expected to commence any moment from now.