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Opinion: Amotekun Will Succeed As A Shield Not As A Sword | By Muideen Olagunju 

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Let’s not deceive ourselves, AMOTEKUN evolved into our security consciousness because of the incursions of criminal elements among the Fulanis of Northern Nigeria who have mastered crimes like pillaging, malicious damage, murder, rape and armed robbery. If I am not directly familiar with the modus operandi of the ones that lay sieges along the Osun-Ondo-Ekiti axis, I am fully abreast of the activities of these Fulani gangsters in my immediate environment of Oyo Town. The Oke Ogun zone of Oyo State has also been the stomping grounds for Fulani armed robbers.

Many of us view them as mere cattle herders but they are super intelligent. The level of their conspiracies is higher than that of common criminals. A Fulani man doesn’t act alone. If he is a crime perpetrator, he could get backing as high as Abuja. If he’s the victim, and the wrongdoer is Yoruba, haaaaa, his rights and interests could be defended by the high and mighty.

I’ll give you an example. A Fulani herdsman was killed just before Fasola Village in Oyo Town in 2013. His kinsmen reported to the Police and 3 individuals were arrested close to the scene of the crime. They protested their innocence and were able to give accounts of their whereabouts at the time of the murder. In short, in legal parlance, they had alibis. The DPO exercising jurisdiction over the matter couldn’t release the suspects. He said he had to transfer them to Homicide Division at the State CID even though he was convinced they are innocence.

He confided in me that he feared the influence of the Fulanis and their propensity to escalate the matter up to the office of the IGP in Abuja. He then gave me an alternative route to get my clients released. He said I should talk to a particular Fulani man who, at the time I must add, was the Head of all Fulanis in the Oyo area. I approached him. He said MIYETTI ALLAH was monitoring the matter. He became convinced too that the suspects had nothing to do with the murder but said only a directive from Miyetti Allah could make him drop the case. We exchanged numbers as he promised to get back to me. He did the following day and asked me to meet him at a Filling Station around Gedu, Oyo.

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I met him and at least 10 other men. He asked me to tarry as they were expecting Miyetti Allah’s representatives from Ilorin and Ibadan. Within one hour, the delegation from Ilorin comprising three individuals arrived and two persons came from Ibadan. They spread mats within the premises of the filling station and began deliberations. After about 20 minutes, I was summoned. I presented the case of my clients before the entire group. One of the men from Ilorin replied.

He was quite garrulous and had an air of assumed authority. He said they could punish my clients for the sins of Yoruba farmers against their people in the area. He added that but for the generous recommendation from the Seriki Fulani about me, my clients would have faced charges of murder. He then gave the OK that my clients could be absolved.

The above is just to tell you how organized and protective these people can be. We cannot forget how President Buhari accompanied them to confront erstwhile governor of Oyo State, Lam Adesina, over skirmishes between Fulanis and local farmers in Oke Ogun area in 2001. In terms of influence, we don’t actually stand a chance.

Now let’s discuss the composition and the operational nomenclature under which the Amotekun outfit will function. It appears they would not bear firearms and if they would, it is likely police or the government will only allow such basic firearms like pump action rifles. It goes without saying that the Fulani marauders bear more sophisticated weapons. The least In their Arsenal is the Kalashnikov (AK 47) assault rifle. In terms of operations, we have to remember they are primarily pastoralists.

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Walking the bush or forest is child’s play to them. Stamina comes in abundance. They can operate during the day or night with ruthless efficiency. No matter how well we train the Amotekun outfit, taking the battle to the marauders will be counter-productive except the Police and/or army will be co-opted to assist in the manhunts.

Keep in mind that the Amotekun initiative is being rammed down the throats of Northern interests. They see it as act of confrontation. In the minds of the hardliners among them, it is an affront. The current make up of the hierarchies of the security sector in Nigeria is not favourable to Southerners except we want to live a lie. All out battle against the marauders may elicit surreptitious complicity from the rank and file of the traditional security outfits like the police and the army in their favour.

As a sword, Amotekun will be like a Pygmy squaring up to Goliath.

So we have to use it as a SHIELD. At least by now, the signs are obvious that Southwestern states are fed up with the brazen activities of Fulani bandits. We have to mix the show of force with clever diplomacy. We have to open an interface for dialogue and engagements with the relevant stakeholders including the Miyetti Allah. This will include security summits between our six governors working in unison and their Northern counterparts. Engagements should include fast-tracked solutions to the perennial open grazing crises. This is where engagement with the federal government is crucial. The POWER OF SIX should be persuasive and result-oriented.

Of course, not all Fulanis are bad. The settlers are actually good people for the most part. Their major infraction is malicious damage of farmlands. Many of them have been with us for long and some have been completely Yorubalized. We can develop a system of useful collaboration with them. One thing I’ve discovered is that they also hate the activities of the nomads particularly since the settlers are often victims of the cattle rustling activities of the nomads. The “enemy of my enemy is my friend” mantra is apt in that situation.

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While the issue of banditry may have spurred the birth of the Amotekun initiative, there are sundry crimes being committed daily by Yorubas themselves. Ritual killing is one. Youth gangsterism is another. Proliferation of drugs is also a matter of concern. Amotekun should be localized to work with community leaders for the purposes of identifying bad eggs among us. Working in tandem with the police, criminals can be easily identified and reined in. We should also work hard to see that the outfit is not infested with corruption. Who would have thought the FRSC will deteriorate into being part of the “Sabanmu” gang?

It will take a lot of tact and wisdom to get Amotekun to achieve its fullest potentials. May we get it right.

 

Barrister Muideen Olagunju, ex-lawmaker,

Oyo State House Of Assembly writes from Oyo town

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Opinion

Why Is Ajimobi’s Mausoleum A Subject Hypocritical Outrage? | By Maroof Asudemade

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Nigerians derive a kind of unexplainable pleasure in brazen hypocrisy. The latest in their display of mischiefs coated in feigned outrage is about the grand Mausoleum constructed by the family of the deceased former governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

This writer must confess that he held initially that the resting place was vainly flamboyant when the video of the Mausoleum was sent to him. But after making some enquiries as to the intent and purpose of the tomb, he’s convinced that there was nothing vain about it and that it’s the best way the Ajimobi family thinks it fit to honour and keep memories of their illustrious patriarch.

Mausoleum is a phenomenon that has been embraced in all continents of the world. It was invented by Phythius and named after King Mausolus, a Persian satrap of Caria in Harlicarnassus near the modern Turkey, whose grieving widow had the Mausoleum done to immortalise him. The large Mausoleum housing the remains of King Mausolus was reputed to be one of the Seven Wonders of the world! Since its invention, mausolea have been regular features of burial and internment arrangements, cutting across continents and religions, especially among royal, political, military and economic leaders around the world.

Mausolea are monuments. Monuments represent the histories and the heritages of peoples of the world. Without monuments, histories and heritages are lost to generations who need them to develop a sense of history and to recognise past glories in which they must exude pride. But when a people choose to sneer at a monument because of flimsy consideration of vanity, then, it’s no curse that such people already have courted extinction.

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The ‘vanity’ that mausolea are tagged to be began and spread from ‘saner’ climes after which the insanity of adopting them in Nigeria afflicted us. Almost all known deceased leaders in politics, economy, royalty and military and professional endeavours had mausolea constructed over their remains in their sprawling premises. Mausolea came into the consciousness of Nigerians when the ever sagely Obafemi Awolowo died in 1987 and a mausoleum was constructed over his embalmed remains which visitors and tourists continued to troop to see even after many years before his corpses was decaying and he had to be buried appropriately. Since then, mausolea are being constructed by families of deceased eminent Nigerians as an indication of how immensely they cherish the lives and the memories of their departed loved ones.

When Mike Adenuga lost his mother, he spent several millions of naira to construct a mausoleum to house his mother’s remain. In Nigeria today, deceased eminent Nigerians who had mausolea built over their remains included Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi, Sani Abacha in Kano, Olusola Saraki in Ilorin, Oba Okunade Sijuwade in Ile-Ife, Tayo Aderinokun in Lagos and a host of others. Even Dino Melaye built a world class Mausoleum for his mother’s remains! We can all see how vanity drives our eminent men and women to have mausolea that hold no pleasure to them built on them! Don’t Yoruba elders say ‘he who isn’t entitled to a bonus calls it unlawful’? Only a poverty of acute proportion will make one attach vanity to every luxury in life.

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If all these eminent men and women mentioned above embraced vanity for having mausolea built on their remains, let me regale you with a burial story of a sincerely altruistic and the only truly radical and activist lawyer Nigeria has ever produced, Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi. No one can associate an atom of corruption to the late fiery lawyer! He lived a good life despite that he was an excessively incorruptible man. Yet, he planned his burial immediately he was told of his terminal lung cancer. He instructed that he wanted to be buried in gold casket! And, yes, Gani Fawehinmi was buried in gleaming gold casket! So, Gani too was vain! If Gani did not elevate vanity while alive, why would he elevate vanity in death?

No one is justified at all to wail about the vanity of life to the families of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi. What could be more vain than having to lose a man larger than his existence, an illustrious colossus for that matter? If losing Ajimobi to the inevitable death does not define life as vanity, one wonders what else will? Senator Ajimobi lived a good life, worthy of emulation in all ramifications. Yoruba elders say, ‘a dowry paid on a bride depends on how cherished the bribe is’. Therefore, it’s also apt to conclude that ‘Ajimobi was befittingly buried based on how so much he was cherished, loved and adored by his families’.

 

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Is the word bankrolling derogatory? | By Onike Rahaman

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Subject:

Given the harsh reactions and ill-mannered responses of Femi Fani Kayode to the question asked by The Daily Trust Correspondent during the interactive session held with the journalists in the Cross River State yesterday, the action of FFK which has been largely condemned, considered as social misconduct and irrational forced me to carry out further search of the extensive meanings of the word ‘bankroll’ .

 

Up till now, I have not got any hints, tips or information on the derogatory meaning of the word bankroll to have prompted FFK outbursts of anger.Even my dictionary of insulting words didn’t include such entry.

 

Background information:

Chief Femi Fani Kayode in the past few days had been touring some states meeting the governors in those states.

He was in Calabar the capital of Cross Rivers state when he was asked by Eyo Charles the Daily Trust Correspondent in the state that who is bankrolling his tour.

Fani Kayode became livid with anger and said, ” What type of stupid question is that?

Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to? I will not take any questions from this man. What type of insulting question is that? Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything?

Who do you think you are talking to? Go and report yourself to your publisher… Don’t insult me here… I could see from your face before you got here how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. Who do you think you are talking to?”

While some people have blamed the reporter for asking a denigrating question, others insist Fani Kayode displayed pride as it is the duty of journalists to promote accountability. Who do we blame?

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A. Eyo Charles the reporter.
B. Chief Femi Fani Kayode.

Semantics of the word that ignited the anger of Femi Fani Kayode:

Bankrolling:

1.Cambridge English Dictionary: verb. informal.
‘To support a person or activity financially’

2.Collins Dictionary:

VERB
‘To bankroll a person, organization, or project means to provide the financial resources that they need’.

[mainly US, informal]
The company has bankrolled a couple of local movies.

3. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:

bankroll:Informal-to provide the money that someone needs for a business,a plan etc.

4. Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
bankroll verb
bankrolled; bankrolling; bankrolls
Definition of bankroll (Entry 2 of 2)
transitive verb
: to supply money for (a business, project, or person.
5.Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners:
bankroll:to provide the money for something.

My Take:

What then could have infuriated the former Minister and Lawyer with the question asked by the timid journalist for him to have acted oddly and reacted annoyingly in a way that has exposed him to public ridicule?

The whole scenario is a pointer to the fact that the man lacks emotional intelligence, maturity, decency and capacity to handle stressful situations.

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Opinion

Need for discipline in PMB’s cabinet to fight real corruption | By Abba Dukawa

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With three cardinal programs of PMB’s campaigned promises, i. e Insecurity, Corruption and Economy, Nigerians expected effective and rebut fighting of Insecurity, Corruption and improved Economy in the country.  It will be recalled that following the intense presidential campaign and the victory in the March 28 presidential poll in 2015 election.   Let me start with corruption war. For long PMB had been pontificating about his desired to fight   Corruption made Nigerians believed that he is capable to beat the previous administrations ‘efforts in anti-corruption war in the country and improved security and economy of the country.  

To the extent that even the war waged by the administration against corruption proved to be toughest and it’s fighting back each passing day because there are several alleged corruptions within the administration.

The most disturbing point of war against  corruption is becoming a subject of public scorn. There are several examples I can cite as proof of evidence but I will limit myself to a few. Nigerians may recalled less than two years  of  PMB’s administration , face  its first litmus test in fighting corruption when a court fined MTN to pay billions of dollars to the government.

The most   shocking of the administration error was the given approval of $25 billion contract awarded by NNPC without  the input of the acting president at the time of the said approval PMB was lying in a sick bed in faraway London. This cast’s serious doubt in the mind of Nigerians.

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In spite of highly celebrated profiled corrupt cases like ex petroleum minister, Diezeini Allison, Defencegate and PDP campaign funds, five years into the administration, there were no convictions of the alleged looters in this highly profiled corruption cases. The most worrying development is that the anti-graft war, which used to be his major feat, is now all over the place. Magu, the anti-graft Czar, has himself been accused of various infractions — some of them contained in reports submitted to PMB.

Did PMB heard  Prof  Pondei, NDDC acting MD, when he told a senate panel that he spent N1.5 billion as COVID-19 relief on the staff? Did you heard him brazenly told the committee that “we took care of ourselves”, he is still in office. That any of your appointees could make such a reckless statement on record shows how low they rate your anti-graft war.

There is  extraordinary chaos   going on between  President’s   power-drunk ministers and chief executive officers of the  respective departments and agencies under their watch.

Did PMB knows that as a result of these infighting among the administration’s appointees are becoming a subject of public ridicule.  Minister of labour who suspended the management of  NSITF  said he had PMB’s  approval. Former MD of the Niger Delta Development Commission vs. Minster of Niger Delta, Dr Isa Ali Pantami Vs Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Minister of Power Vs MD of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, Minster of power Vs MD of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA)

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Another episode of indiscipline was when police officers were deployed to the house of Mrs Joi Nunieh, former MD of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to intimidate her on a day she was supposed to testify about the massive corruption in the agency. Latest episode of indiscipline was when the minister of labour, Dr Chris Ngige Vs James Falaki on the screen of a national TV when he  called him Mushin boy and that he is VI Guy.

It is seem the government is indisposed to instill discipline within the ranks of the administration.  Many Nigerians are asking whether President Buhari is the man of dependability Nigerians saw in him some years back.  This is not the same person Nigerians  ostensible  brought into office in 2015, Buhari’s fear factor has  gone which  the corrupt people and other  had on him disappeared,  the fright  notion of If Buhari catches you, one would bear the consequence also gone and  no longer scares anybody, as we all can see even  there is   apparent lack of coordination and infighting among different agencies of government as well as key functionaries serving in the administration came to the front in the wake of the confirmation of the suspended EFCC chairman DSS, wrote to the senate to counter your choice.  

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If indeed those allegations are true, it should be a major indictment on Mr President, that right under his nose, all these things were happening and you did not act swiftly but the way the whole thing has been handled is damaging to the anti-graft war, and infighting  among the appointees are  hurtful to the administration integrity.   Nigerians never expected negative things to happen under PMB’s stewardship and voters never thought he would head a government bedeviled with boggling financial recklessness of public funds, chaos, in fighting among the administration appointees and endless things which are discrediting his administration’s  goodwill and the nation at large.

 

Dukawa can be reached at[email protected]

 

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