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APC backs Lawan as new Senate Leader

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THE All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday backed Senator Ahmed Lawan as he replaces Senator Ali Ndume for the position of Senate Leader.

The party said that, the development was a concrete expression of faith by the APC Senate Caucus in its efforts to resolve the lingering issues that have trailed the election of Senate leadership.

The party’s position was contained in a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi.

“We believe this is a major step forward in our efforts to reunite the various interest groups in the Senate election, thereby presenting a common legislative front for our great party.

“We are particularly delighted that the consultations that were initiated towards the end of 2015 between the Party caucuses in the National Assembly and the party executives, as well as other leading stakeholders of our party have yielded these results and the Senate has demonstrated its willingness to finally submit to the will of the Party in this regard.

“Recall that soon after the issue of election in the Senate occurred, the Party leadership had resolved that Senator Lawan be compensated with the position of the Senate Leader. Sadly, that directive was not fully complied with at the time. But we are happy to see this change effected, which represents a significant progress in our efforts to build a strong and united Party. With this development therefore, we are confident that the issues arising from the elections in the Senate in 2015 have been put to rest.

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“We thank Senator Ndume for his service and sacrifice to our party, which would not be forgotten. We also congratulate Senator Lawan, the new Senate Leader on his election by the APC caucus in the Senate. We hope he will use his vast experience and knowledge to enhance legislative works to further our party’s agenda of change.

“The APC assure Nigerians that we will continue to work assiduously under the leadership and guidance of President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve any other pending issues that may have affected our Party at different levels. However, with this latest development, APC has demonstrated its resilience and capacity to resolve its internal differences in order to realise the true change and transformation that we promised Nigerians”, the statement concluded.

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National Issues

Insecurity: South-West govs, traditional rulers, security chiefs back end to open grazing

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The South-West Region on Saturday agreed that open grazing must be checked and looked at to curb the incessant security threats in the zone, especially the farmer- herder clashes which has continued to remain topical issue.

The decision was reached by the governors, traditional rulers who gathered in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, to review the security situation of the zone.

The meeting, which was held inside the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s office, Agodi, Ibadan, had in attendance five governors including the host, Governor Makinde; Governors Akeredolu of Ondo, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.

The meeting equally had in attendance the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of South-West, David Folawiyo, and security chiefs serving in Oyo State.

Others included the chairmen of Council of Traditional Rulers in each of the South-West states and some first class monarchs.

Some of the traditional rulers who took part in the meeting include the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III; Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; Akarigbo of Remo, Oba Babatunde Ajayi; Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, Oba Fredrick Akinrutan; Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunnjso 1; and Olugbon of Orilegbon, Oba Francis Olusola Alao.

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Also in attendance was the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, and other heads of security agencies in Oyo State.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, who spoke at the end of the meeting hinted that though the meeting was at the instance of the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, the trio could not fly out of Abuja due to bad weather.

He said that the governors and the traditional rulers thereafter decided to meet to appraise the security situation in the zone.

Akeredolu, who briefed newsmen about the resolutions of the meeting said, “The discussion we had with our Obas and security chiefs have been most productive. Many things we never thought of came up and we heard from our Kabiyesis more mature approach to challenges we are facing in the South West and the country at large.

“And from our discussion, we all agreed that the time is now that we support the decision of National Economic Council (NEC) about forests management. They believe that all the states should be in the position to manage their forests, which will give enough room to determine who is there, what purpose they are serving, and where you have people illegally. The states should be able to take steps to enable us preserve our forests.

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“We all agreed that our borders have become too porous, and that we need to do something urgently to prevent foreign herdsmen from coming into this country without any form of caution, because a number of them have come in with their herds and what they do is of concern to us. We all believe that our borders need to be checked and tightened, so that all those foreigners from Niger Republic and those beyond bordering states don’t come in with their herds and destroy our farms.

“We also discussed that, as we are supporting other areas of farming, like rice farmers and others, there is need for government to support cattle breeding.

“One of the ways we can support cattle breeding is to change the ways cattle breeders are adopting now. So, there will be designated grazing areas, as well as feed mills. With these, there is no need to trek with herds from far. But, things that will lead to open grazing in these modern times must be looked at and the state and federal government, in particular, should give as much support as possible to cattle breeders”, he concluded

 

 

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National Issues

Gov Bala Mohammed’s paradise for AK-47, cows and Fulani | By Festus Adedayo

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At the risk of being charged for excessive hyperbolism, “AK-47,” “cows” and the word, “Fulani,” are the most notorious clichés on parade in Nigeria today. And, come to think of it, they are woven together in narratives of the affliction that threaten to tear Nigeria asunder today.

As if by coincidence, the three also bear very similar traits that unite them. While the Fulani herdsman is one of the most ubiquitous tribes in Africa, encircling the region like a contagious pestilence and sowing tears and sorrows in their trails, the cow is a common denominator on every dining table on the continent. Aside from kittens and dogs, the cow is one of man’s most abiding acquaintances. Until it shows its destructive tendency and inability to differentiate between what to eat and what not to trample in plunder, the cow has a gentle demeanor.

The AK-47, also referred to as Kalashnikov Model 1947, is a Soviet assault rifle rated to be the most pervasive and widely used shoulder weapon in the globe. The word “AK,” the gun’s initials, is a representation of the name Avtomat Kalashnikova, a Russian byword for “automatic Kalashnikov,” and a memorialization of Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, the man who designed the gun. Kalashnikov designed the assault rifle in 1947. The rifle looks very inviting while lying undisturbed, with its brown wooden butt and nose like a hippopotamus.

The Fulani herdsman too has an ambiguous persona, with a tender, inviting, ripe pumpkin-like skin and friendly mien. Shunned of histrionics and profiling, however, make no mistake about their seeming friendliness: the AK-47, Fulani herdsman, and the cow are a deadly trio. While the cow is deadly and destructive with its hooves, orange spurts from the mouth of a Kalashnikov assault rifle can assault a life and bring it quickly to the presence of its creator. The Fulani herdsman, especially the variant in the last decade, can also unconscionably ruin a whole village, especially if his cow gets killed.

Since the Soviet military officially adopted it into its weaponry in 1949, the AK-47 has manifested its simplicity to operate, ruggedness in the midst of use, and reliability to manipulate, even under pressure. However, like the cow and the Fulani herdsman, even the Soviet military couldn’t stand the AK-47’s lack of scientific accuracy. This is said to be due to challenges with the gun’s recoil forces, a product of its powerful 7.62-mm round. Other shooting mechanisms called blowback, engendered by the gun’s “heavy internal mechanisms are also responsible for its inaccuracy.”

These three indices are the most constant bywords in Nigeria’s troublous narratives today. Unless Nigeria successfully interrogates the place of the three, it may be difficult for her to make any headway. Apart from these, one other unifying characteristic of the AK-47, the Fulani herdsman and the cow is that none of them considers any land, any man, or any object sacred: Once the cow, Kalashnikov, and Fulani are on their devious assignment, they can penetrate the most inviolate territory. Again, wherever the troika decides to unleash their anger, logic is always absent.

Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, demonstrated this last week and even more. At the closing ceremony of the 2021 Press Week of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bauchi State Council’s Correspondents’ Chapel, Mohammed literally went back to that same self-serving argument that Fulani, cows, and AK-47 have a right to any part of Nigeria, no matter the villainy they demonstrate to their hosts. You can glean from his long sermon a feeling of Fulani conquest and superintendence over the rest of Nigeria, a belief that other tribes are captives of his ethnic group. His prong for exhibiting all these was what he perceived as some of his governor colleagues’ inability to accommodate Fulani herdsmen who the former have ample evidence to confirm are unleashing violence on their constituents. Remove the siren, the expensive babanriga and the environment where Mohammed made the statement, you would think a Miyetti Allah representative was spewing their regular territorial bunkum.

Yes, regular. Some Miyetti Allah cattle officials have spoken in the same vein before now. They all took their inspiration from Sokoto Caliphate founder, Fulani warlord, and religious reformer, Usman Dan Fodio, who was quoted to have said that he would not stop expanding the Caliphate’s territory until he dipped the Koran into the sea. Initially sounding like a tale from the moonlight, but when you hear otherwise highly placed individuals like Mohammed espousing such territorial irritancy with amazing candour, then you begin to wonder. All forests belong to Nigeria and Fulani herdsmen can ply their trade everywhere. Fine. The Nigerian Constitution guarantees all Nigerians the right to live in any part of Nigeria, so far it is their place of choice. Great.

“You have seen what our colleagues in South-West are doing and some of them in South-East. Some of us told them with all modesty and humility – you are wrong… Governor (Samuel) Ortom, he started all these. If you don’t accommodate other tribes, we are also accommodating your people in Bauchi and other places. We have so many Tiv people working and farming in Alkaleri, farming in Tafawa Balewa, farming in Bogoro Local Government areas of Bauchi, has anyone asked them to go? We have not, because it is their constitutional right to be there. We have Yoruba people in Bauchi for over 150 years, even before the birth of Nigeria. Nobody has told them to go, some of them have risen to become permanent secretaries in Bauchi, Gombe, and Borno. Nobody owns any forests; the forests are owned by Nigeria,” he said.

“And now, the Fulani man is practicing the tradition of pastoralism, he has been exposed to the dangers of the forests, the animals, and now, the cattle rustlers, who carry guns, kill him and take away his commonwealth, his cows, he had no option than to defend himself because the society and the government are not protecting him. It is not his fault, it is the fault of the government and the people, you don’t criminalize all of them because in every tribe there are criminals. You should be very sensitive,” he concluded.

The above was the long-winding defence of the Fulani by Governor Mohammed, which can be broken into the conversation in this piece, to with the troika of AK-47, cow and Fulani. One wonders what Mohammed’s Fulani’s kin have done to warrant this chest-thumping that other tribes haven’t done in amazing proportion.

Go to Afenai Market or even the Ogbete Market in Enugu and you will wonder whether you were in Ilela in Sokoto State, with the heavy presence of Hausa and Fulani therein. They have been there for almost a century. In fact, as far back as 1952, Mallam Umaru Altine became the First Mayor of Enugu Municipal Council and administered it till 1958. Altine, a cattle dealer who hailed from the Sokoto province, had sojourned to the Coal City and got married to an Igbo named Esther.

He later became youth president of the Enugu branch of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC).

Go to Kishi in Oyo State and you will momentarily think you had crossed the southern border into the north. About half of the blood of the people in the latter place is said to contain Fulanis’ due to intermarriage. Some of them get elected councilors and even angle to head local councils. More fundamentally, if southerners living in those places were as violent as the Fulani living in the south, they ostensibly could never have risen that high in their places of domicile in the north. So what is the need for Governor Mohammed’s self-aggrandizement?

To proceed from the elementary reasoning level that Governor Mohammed inhabited and get to the level of articulating why people who had lived together for almost a century, now seek to live apart, is where the intellectual competence of anyone canvassing Fulani spatial hegemony seems to meet its waterloo. What went wrong is, first, Fulani settlers in those lands became hostile to the lands, raping, stealing, killing, and kidnapping their hosts. So, the land, which the Yoruba venerate as a spiritual object – the ile ogere afikuyeri  – rebelled against them.

Again, with the advent of Muhammadu Buhari and his ultra-underscore of Fulani ascendancy, foreign Fulani herders, many of whom obviously had a fraternal relationship with notorious terrorist groups in the world, are infiltrating the Nigerian borders and Buhari is too ethnic-blind to stop them. For as long as Nigerian Fulani justify the infiltration of Nigeria’s borders by foreign herdsmen, in the name of Fulani nationalism, they and their kin in Nigeria who we had been living with in peace for about a century now, without any bother, would continue to have criminal blankets spread over them, without any demarcation. This is because many southerners cannot differentiate between them. A dog which, awhile ago, wagged its tail in obvious welcome and acceptance of its host and which, awhile thereafter, kept on barking in obvious hostility, should alert any sensible person of the need to conduct an examination into this obvious u-turn.

Many submissions on Fulani pastoralists’ residency in southern forests, especially the reserves, have been made. They perfectly responded to Mohammed-type puerile constitutional backing and latitude to Fulani inhabiting the forests. Thus, responding to him would be worthless. One of such is: how can a right-thinking person, in a 21st century Nigeria, justify human habitation of the forest? Those who reserved the forest did so for its habitation by flora and fauna, not human beings. Even if Fulani forefathers had been making forests their habitation, there is the need for a u-turn by their current progeny.

Governor Mohammed’s justification of the ownership of AK-47 by Fulani pastoralists is another self-serving slant of an extremely self-centered Fulani irredentist. If he glibly mouths constitutional explanation for Fulani’s ubiquitous rove across Nigeria, he should also address the constitutionality of these pastoralists owning AK-47. Where and from whom did herders get licensed to possess guns? If anyone who roves the bush could own an AK-47 because of dangers of the forest, farmers and chicken farmers should also be licensed to do the same as they are equally exposed to dangers of foxes and reptiles. Mohammed should explain the transmutation of Fulani herders of yore, who only went about with knives to confront their attackers, into wild terrorists who wield deadly AK-47 as weapons.

Why is it that when it comes to AK-47, cow, and Fulani, Fulani elite think like people who recently leased out their faculty? It was the same poisoned thinking that oozed out of renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi a few weeks ago. After meeting AK-47-wielding bandits inside the forests of Shinkafi and Gummi council of Zamfara State, Gumi asked for federal amnesty for these criminals. “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,” he said.

If that isn’t the height of criminal complicity and opaque thinking, I cannot find a substitute. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on a TVC programme last week, even confirmed that Gumi had the consent of the Federal Government to go inside the forests to talk to those bandits. He further said that the doggerel-spitting Sheikh was acting as a bridge between government and the bandits. How come Gumi didn’t go to Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun to talk to Fulani terrorizing the Yoruba in those enclaves if indeed peace was what he desired?

President Umaru Yar’Adua, who gave amnesty to Niger Delta militants during his tenure, didn’t do that because he loved the Niger Delta. He did it because militants at that time had constituted economic sabotage to Nigeria. Without that armistice ensured by Yar’Adua, Nigeria would probably vanish from the economic world. On the reverse, these terror-baking pastoralists are social leeches whose nuisances are basically their irritancy. Unlike the militants whose umbilical cords are tied to the oil from their land, the oil which has served as water trough which wets northern arid lands, the bandits are criminals, plain and simple. So why does any reasonable government need to court, rather than execute, them for their spate of murders?

The audacity of Fulani herders and their violence are on the ascendancy because the Buhari government looks the other way while their impunity lasts. They don’t have a monopoly of killing and violence but the feeling that they have government’s backing makes their victims look like cowards. It is that audacity that explains Fulani and their cows – probably with an AK-47 abetting them – infiltrating Wole Soyinka’s own forest of a thousand daemons territory in Abeokuta last week.

The truth that Bala Mohammed and the Fulani elite may not want to listen to is that southerners who have lived for almost a century with their well-behaved Fulani neighbours, could not have turned against them, all of a sudden if they had not chosen to be social leeches, burdens, and threats to their existence. In case it is bitter for them to swallow, let me embitter their spleen once again: Nigerians will continue to resist this mentality that excuses, legitimizes and justifies the tyranny of the cow, AK-47 and Fulani terrorists.

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FG commences drilling activities, to begin oil production in Northeast

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The Nigerian government has revealed plans to begin oil production in the Northeast.

Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, who disclosed this during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight in Abuja, the nation’s capital, which was aired on Monday and monitored by Mega Icon Magazine also submitted : “I have said it a few times that we have found oil in the northeast and we have started drilling activities in the Lake Chad Basin”.

“I don’t know how the discovery of oil in the area will impact all the issues there but on our side, we believe that in a very short time, we will start production”, Sylva continued.

He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world’s narrative, including the oil and gas industry, recalling that the recent meeting held by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in which Nigeria is a member was held virtually.

Justifying his claims, the Minister noted that such meetings were not envisaged before the COVID-19 era.

Reacting to the piracy, oil bunkering and illegal refining in the oil-producing region, Sylva said such activities had reduced when compared to what was obtained in the past.

“Pipeline vandalisation is less than it used to be. Before now, we had less than 50 per cent production, I can assure you that pipeline vandalisation is less than it used to be. If you compare what happens now with what obtains in the past, I think it is less now.

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“There is still a lot of piracy I understand, but the law enforcement agencies are dealing with it. We are looking at other ways of dealing with it and believe that in a very short time, we will be able to get the full handle on it”.

Also speaking on the gas conversion, the Minister informed that the policy was necessitated by the Federal Government issuing an alternative to Nigeria following the deregulation of oil that will lead to the rise in oil prices.

The Minister, though, noted that gas is a cleaner and more efficient fuel, however, regretted previous administrations had not developed the nation’s gas, maintaining that Nigeria’s gas penetration is the lowest in Africa.

 

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