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Yoruba, northern elders fight over Fulani herdsmen



The Nothern Elders Forum (NEF) and the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) on Friday exchanged hot words over the lingering security challenges posed by criminal herdsmen in the country.

NEF, in a statement signed by its director of publicity and advocacy, Dr Hakeem BabaAhmed, accused YCE and other similar southern groups of eroding the security and integrity of Nigeria through what it called unfounded allegations of genocide.


“Allegations of planned or actual genocide are being made with reckless abandon, and even the international community is being lobbied in futile efforts to sell the fiction that some groups are intent on mass extermination of other groups.

The latest communication by the Yoruba Council of Elders to the United Nations is an example of lamentable desperation of some groups to erode our security and integrity as a country, and it is more regrettable that it is the handiwork of so-called elders who should forfeit all rights to that honour.”

But the YCE fired back through its secretary general, Dr Kunle Olajide, describing the northern elders as reckless and unfeeling, keeping mum in the face of mass murder in the South West by their children.

NEF also said that there were plans by elites and some elected individuals to incite people against one another and cause breakdown of law and order.

NEF said the individuals had gone as far as lobbying the international community in an effort to sell the fiction that some groups were intent on mass extermination of other groups. In a statement signed by its director of publicity and advocacy, Dr Hakeem BabaAhmed, NEF alleged that there were ongoing efforts to create multiple sources of falsehood in videos and other inflammatory materials with the aim of inciting people to act violently against each other. It said “now the nation is facing imminent threats from persons who are bent on pushing all of us nearer to disaster, to help them achieve their nefarious goals.”

On herdsmen, NEF said: “We repeat our demand that Fulani who have broken no laws must be protected from abuse wherever they are.

“We ask all governments to identify criminals among the Fulani and subject them to the laws of the land.

“Similarly, we demand the cessation of threats and attacks by local ethnic defenders on Fulani communities. “People who have broken the law by attacking and harassing Fulani for just being Fulani must be brought to book.


“We encourage all law-abiding herders to stay put and seek protection, and if they cannot be protected, to relocate to safer areas in the country.

“We urge northern governors to prepare to receive law-abiding Fulani herders who may be compelled to relocate. We urge all northerners to assure Nigerians from other parts of the country that they are safe and welcome to continue to stay in the north.

“The Forum repeats: it is not a crime to be member of any ethnic group, and no one has the right to attempt to expel any Nigerian from places where they live lawfully.”

On the alleged destabilisation plot, the statement said: “The Forum particularly notes that continuing narratives and threats, including comments from seemingly responsible Nigerians and even elected officials who swore to protect the rights of all citizens and the survival of the country, are raising fears and passions that could make it easy to break more laws of the land and pitch citizens against each other.

“There are efforts to create multiple sources of falsehood in videos and other inflammatory materials in the media clearly targeted at inciting people to act violently against each other.

“Allegations of planned or actual genocide are being made with reckless abandon, and even the international community is being lobbied in futile efforts to sell the fiction that some groups are intent on mass extermination of other groups.

“Northern Elders Forum commits to continue to work to retrieve the country from the dangerous cliff where it has been placed by irresponsible people, many of them in positions of responsibility.”

NEF said it had plans to meet with governors in the North and South to improve collaboration and synergy and it also intends to visit communities where it has influence to lower tensions and provide assurances and comfort.

The forum, however, advised President Muhammadu Buhari and governors to consult and explore measures that would lower tensions and assure all Nigerians that they live in a country where laws have meanings, and all citizens have equal rights to live under secure environments.

“The fight against armed criminals must be pursued on all fronts and with a lot more seriousness. The criminal must not reap from the suspicions and fears which his activities also generate,” the statement added.

The NEF had, earlier this month, issued a similar advice to Fulani herdsmen asking them to move to northern region if their security could not be guaranteed in their host communities in the South.

Northern elders reckless, condone mass murder in S/ West —YCE

Dr Olajide of the Yoruba Council of Elders, reacting to the statement by the Northern Elders Forum, said: “The YCE is by far more patriotic and nationalistic than the Northern elders. In the YCE, we believe in a truly federal republic of Nigeria where equity fairness and justice will be available for all citizens of this country and where no citizen of this country will be regarded as inferior and where appointments will be based on merit; where there would be no ethno religious sentiments openly expressed by those in power.

“In the last three to four years, it actually started in 2016, the criminal herders have been so brazen in their invasion of Yorubaland, carrying sophisticated weapons, raping our women, kidnapping for ransom and murdering our people, destroying farmlands; the economic means of survival of our farmers. We have been shouting at the rooftops almost on a daily basis and the Federal Government seems to turn deaf ears to these complaints, giving gross insensitivity to the plight of our people here.

“So, we had to appeal to the global community to intervene in restoring normalcy into the Nigerian nation state. it was becoming obvious, especially in the last two years, that this country has been polarised along ethno-religious lines. In fact, we have never been so divided like this. We have made several appeals to Mr. President to speak to Nigerians to reassure us that he stays committed to a truly Federal Republic of Nigeria where justice, equity and fairplay will reign supreme, but not a word from the presidency. The statements coming from the presidential aides, in fact, polarise the nation the more. You hear all sorts of things, like ‘farmers should obtain permission before going to their farms’ when 43 farmers were killed in Borno State.

“And we don’t know where farmers take permission and who from… so we have such statements that give credence that this government is only for a particular ethnic part of the country and when you get to this particular situation, we have to appeal to the United Nations because virtually all countries in the United Nations have citizens in Nigeria and they must be made aware of the level of insecurity in this country in the interest of the entire world.

“So, what YCE did was to call attention of the global body to what appears to be the insensitive nature of the powers that be in Nigeria to the plight of Yoruba farmers, women, children and citizens. It is because we believe that a truly federal, united Nigeria will be the best for every part of the country.

“It is not because we want to secede. No, we have made too much sacrifice to keep Nigeria one. We are not into wanting to divide it at all because all parts of this country would feel the pain. On NEF’s advice to Fulani to come back to the North if they felt unsafe in the south, Dr Olajide said “there is freedom of movement. Anybody can go anywhere. We have not said Fulanis should leave. We said the criminal ones… we have Aliko Dangote in Lagos for example; nobody has said he should leave. We have some Fulani in the universities here who are contributing and adding value to society. But those ones killing and maiming citizens, raping women and kidnapping for ransom and destroying the means of livelihood of our farmers are the ones we said should vacate our forests.”

“They are in power today and they are in charge of all the security. If the security agencies allow what they call ‘genocide’ to go on, then whose fault is that? They should talk to the commander in chief of the armed forces and the Inspector-General of Police. In fact, if anything, we should accuse them of keeping mum and maintaining silence in the face of genocide and mass murder in the South West.



Niger communities excited as soldiers return to Bassa, Allawa



Excited villagers on Saturday welcomed the return of soldiers to Bassa and Allawa towns in the Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State after a month of their quitting the area due to invasion of their camps by bandits.
The armed soldiers came in about 100 camouflage vehicles to begin a special operation in the area.
The return of the soldiers followed a series of meetings between the new General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Maj-Gen. Danjuma Hamisu Ali-Keffi, the state government and other stakeholders in the state.
The military camps in Allawa and Bassa in the Shiroro Local Government of the state were shut down last month after bandits numbering about 100 invaded the Security Joint Taskforce camps in the two towns, killing 12 soldiers, burning the camps and some operational vehicles.
Another camp at Zagzaga in the Munya Local Government was also sacked a few days later during which one RSM was kidnapped and found dead three days after.
A senator representing Niger East Senatorial zone in the National Assembly, Alhaji Sani Musa, said, “It is a welcome development and a great relief to the people it should be sustained.
“The return of soldiers is a great relief for my people, and I want to thank and commend President Muhammadu Buhari and the military for the return of the soldiers.
“I will equally want to appeal to them to hasten the return of soldiers to other communities to enable the people go back to their homes to continue their farming business.”

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Thunderstorms, heavy rains disrupt Yoruba Nation agitators rally in Osogbo



Thunderstorms with heavy rain on Saturday disrupted the rally by agitators of Yoruba Nation in Osogbo Osun State.
Scores of Yoruba Nation agitators had stormed the popular Nelson Mandela Freedom Park in Osogbo on Saturday after they changed the venue of the rally because of the heavy security presence.
One of the leading Yoruba Nation agitators, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, arrived in Osogbo from Oyo State at 1.40pm and went straight to where the agitators were demonstrating at Nelson Mandela Freedom Park.
Igboho got to the venue at 2.01pm to address the agitators.
He was addressing the agitators when the scorching sunny weather turned cloudy at 2.25pm.
He hurriedly addressed his supporters standing on top of a vehicle. When other leaders wanted to address the agitators, heavy rain started and it dispersed supporters from the venue.
While it was raining, thunderstorms made it impossible for supporters to gather and they ran for cover.

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Our police are overwhelmed, says Bauchi governor



Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed has said that security challenges in Nigeria will require collaborative efforts because the police are overwhelmed.
He stated this when he addressed journalists in Bauchi, stressing that addressing insecurity could not be left to the Federal Government alone.

He urged state and local governments, as well as traditional rulers, to be actively involved in ensuring improved security across the country.

Mohammed said, “It is the responsibility of the federal, state and the local governments, including all the traditional institutions in the country.
“These problems can only with tackled with concerted efforts and collaboration from the federal, state and local governments.“As a nation, we are challenged by so many aspects of misdemeanours, crime and criminality. We must be very courageous to say it, and that is not something that is acceptable within the tenet of Islam.
”It is not just a Federal Government’s responsibility; it’s a responsibility of the Federal Government, the state and the local governments as well as our traditional institutions and all the stakeholders.”

He also said, “We are all policemen today; we know these bandits; we know where they stay and what they do.
“Sometimes, they are aided and abetted by some of us and we should fish them out, because the police in their numbers are already overwhelmed.
“I’m calling on the federal government to work with us as governors and local governments, because that’s where the solution is.
“I hope we sit down as a country to reflect and make sure we bring solutions.”

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