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Fear grips Kwara communities over influx of herders

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Several communities in Kwara State are now reviewing their security strategies following the influx of herdsmen and their families from the neighbouring states of Oyo, Ekiti and Osun in the North-Central state.

The herders’ relocation arose from the ban on night grazing across the South-West, the  quit order from government forest reserves in Ondo State, and the  campaign against criminal herders in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State.

The ECOWAS Court of Justice, Abuja on Friday fixed April 12 for judgment in a suit filed by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) seeking “justice and accountability for the authorities’ failure to prevent, account for and investigate killings, raping, maiming of Nigerians and other residents, and destruction of property across the country by herdsmen and other unknown perpetrators.”

 

A panel of discussants also asked government to take decisive action on the incessant clashes between farmers and herders in the country before the situation degenerates.

Residents of Ifelodun, Irepodun and Isin local government areas of Kwara State, according to investigation, are currently taking stock of their security arrangements with a view to checking any threat to life and property following the relocation of herders to the localities.

A group, Omo Ibile Igbomina, an association of Igbomina people, said that six trailer loads of herders arrived in the area penultimate Friday alone, causing anxiety among the people.

He said that even before the arrival of the new comers, farmers had always been clashing with herders who seemed to take delight in taking their cattle to graze on farms.

Spokesman for the Omo Ibile Igbomina, Oni Martin, said, “Farming remains foremost of our economic activities that has become endangered, arising from mindless criminality, impunity and wanton destruction of crops and human lives right on our ancestral soil.

“We had a day when these gang of heartless strangers killed our people in broad day light on a particular market day in Oro-Ago town, for instance.

“We have series of reports of herdsmen chasing out our farmers out of their farms, for daring to challenge them for feeding their beasts with their source of living.

“Worrisome enough, the herdsmen have appeared to make it a vogue to array themselves with terribly sharpened cutlasses, assault walking sticks and of course assault rifles.

“This intimidation and threat appeared worse on the farms as these strangers exhibit no reservation to make their beast comfortable to the sorrow of our farmers even to the point of terminating lives.

“All of the above has been our routine experience and the herdsmen have taken over our forests and farmlands with our people living in fear of being kidnapped or hacked down.

“With the above background, the national body of Omo Ibile Igbomina with all has been on consultations in a bid to arrest the ugly development.”

Continuing, Martin said, “All of a sudden on the 29th of January, 2021, we heard the news of the arrival of an uninvited army of more dreaded herdsmen, more ferocious looking than those we had been trying to manage. They came in six trailers to Igbomina land.

“Thank God for the vigilant patriots who intercepted them at the wee-hour of the day at a point between Buari and Okerimi Oro.

“Our people’s reaction was spontaneous and responsible: the Women Farmers Association in Oro stormed the palace of the Oloro of Oro to find a lasting solution to the situation.

“These people who were driven out from the Southwest states of Osun, Ogun, Ekiti and Oyo could not and will not be allowed to use any part of Igbomina land as their new abode. Igbomina will not concede an inch of her land to these unwanted visitors.

“In view of the above, it is our resolution that our community remains peaceful, law abiding but alert to security threats.

“Strangers should spontaneously be reported to our traditional rulers, and if unresolved, to the security agencies.

“Let our people go to the farm as a team and avoid staying late on the farm much less doing a lone ranger farming.”

Residents of Igbaja in Ifelodun local government area of the state also recently staged a peaceful protest at the palace of the traditional ruler of the ancient town, the Elesee, to draw attention to alleged intimidation and destruction of their farms by herders.

The head of the Fulani community in Igbaja, Mallam Abubakar Garba, said in an interview that some of the accusations were true, but implored the natives to be patient, saying deliberate efforts were being made to address the matter.

Garba expressed sadness over situation of security in the communities, calling for dialogue to ensure amicable resolution.

The state government also called for peace across the state.

Secretary to the State Government, Prof Mamman Sabbah Jubril, said, “In the light of some unfortunate developments in some neighbouring states, we urge our people not to entertain any fear as proactive measures have been, and are still being, taken to maintain peace and ensure security of lives and properties of every resident.

“The government is working with all the security agencies, directors of personnel management (DPMs) and the leadership of Miyetti Allah to strengthen the existing peace between various economic interests.”

He also said, “At the instance of His Excellency the Governor of Kwara State, the office of the SSG has held briefings with various stakeholders across the state on the need to ensure that all hands are on deck to protect lives and properties.

“The leadership of Miyetti Allah has also committed to disallow night grazing or cattle grazing by underage persons. Assisted by the security agencies, the DPMs across the 16 local government areas have been directed to work with local communities and legitimate herders to keep the peace.

“We therefore urge everyone to key into this peace building process and to avoid taking laws into their own hands or engage in activities that can undermine peaceful coexistence.”

 

FG using back channels to resolve crisis, says Lai Mohammed

Speaking on efforts by the Federal Government to resolve security challenge in the country, Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, said different approaches were being adopted.

One of such is what he called back channels; that is the use of a third party to broker peace.

He cited this week’s meeting between renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi, and bandits terrorising Zamfara State.

“When you want to resolve an issue like this, you use lots of back channels,” the minister said.

The minister spoke on TVC’s ‘This Morning’ show.

He added, “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.”

-The Nation

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DSS intercepts syndicates selling new currency notes

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new redesigned Naira notes

The Department of State Services (DSS) said it has intercepted some syndicates in parts of the country for their involvement in selling the new redesigned Naira notes.

The service disclosed this in a statement on Monday by its spokesman,Dr Peter Afunanya saying that the syndicates were intercepted by operatives of the service during an operation.

“Investigation has also shown that some Commercial Bank officials were aiding the economic malfeasance.

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“Consequently, the Service warns the currency racketeers to desist from this ignoble act.

“Appropriate regulatory authorities are, in this same vein,urged to step up monitoring and supervisory activities to expeditiously address the emerging trends,”he said.

He said the DSS has ordered its commands and formations to further ensure that all persons and groups engaged in the illegal sale of the notes were identified.

The DSS spokesman, therefore, urged anyone with useful information relating to the sales of the new currency to pass the same to relevant authorities.

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Accidents: FRSC boss recommends truck barrier on Ojuelegba Bridge, warns against ‘one-way’ driving

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The Federal Road Safety Corps has recommended the construction of a truck barrier on Ojuelegba Bridge in the Surulere area of Lagos to prevent articulated vehicles especially trucks carrying containers from using the bridge and falling on other vehicles.

The FRSC Corps Marshal, Dauda Biu, made the recommendation while reacting to an accident around the bridge on Sunday in which a container-carrying truck fell on a passenger bus, killing nine people including two children.

A statement by the Corps Public Education Officer of the FRSC, Bisi Kazeem reported the corps marshal as expressing deep concerns over the fatal accident, which he noted was becoming a regular occurrence.

Biu also spoke on another accident recorded on Sunday that claimed 11 lives on Soka Bridge on the Lagos-Benin Highway and warned against excessive speeding and driving against the traffic popularly called one-way.

The statement said, “Whilst his concerns stem from the reoccurring container crashes on Ojuelegba bridge that has claimed several lives, the Corps Marshal recommends the construction of barricades against articulated vehicles (tankers, trucks, trailers and other heavy duty vehicles) on Ojuelegba Bridge as a permanent solution to the reoccurring crashes.”

The corps marshal who frowned on the incident explained the importance of barricading the bridge against articulated vehicles citing some of the dangers that come with their continuous use of the bridge as he called for efforts to be made towards expanding the connecting roads under the bridge to accommodate all articulated vehicles.

He revealed that FRSC rescue teams in collaboration with other Emergency Management Agencies had cleared obstructions from the crash scenes for ease of movement while the driver of the Mack truck had been arrested and handed over to the police for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The corps marshal also reiterated the need for the enactment of laws that will bring justice to victims of these crashes and where such laws already exist, efforts should be made to activate them so that justice will be served accordingly to both the drivers and the victims.

It stated that a preliminary investigation conducted into the fatal crashes revealed that the Ojuelegba crash involved a Mack Truck with a 40ft container with the registration number KJA 380 KD, who apart from engaging in excessive speed, also indulged in an act of wrongful overtaking and a Suzuki mini bus registered as KTU 921 YD; while the Soka avoidable menace involved a truck driven against the traffic and a Macopolo bus.

The statement said, “The container mounted on the Mack truck at Ojuelegba, according to our operatives, fell off the truck and landed on the Suzuki mini bus filled up with passengers which obviously led to the death of 9 of the passengers.

“As at the time of this statement, 11 victims were burnt beyond recognition at the Soka Bridge while the Ojuelegba crash involved 13 people comprising of nine males and four females. Out of the 13 people, nine were killed comprising five male adults, one male child, one female child and two female adults.

“Out of the four victims who survived the Ojuelegba crash, two were rescued without injuries while the remaining two sustained various degrees of injuries.

He urged the public to always use the FRSC toll free line 122 and the National Traffic Radio 107.1 FM which are always available for all road users to report emergencies at any given time.

 

 

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Oyinlola threatens to sue IG over non-release of report on MTN

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Former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola

A former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has threatened to sue the Inspector General (IG) of Police, for allegedly refusing to release the IG Monitoring Team Report in respect of his petition against MTN Nigeria and others.

Oyinlola in a letter dated January 27, 2023, addressed to the Inspector General of Police, said he had no other choice than to commence the legal action as the refusal of the force to release the said report creates the impression of a cover up.
The expected report which dates as far back as 2013, bordered on investigation of a case of conspiracy, forgery and perversion of the course of justice by MTN Nigeria Ltd.

According to Oyinlola, the police after its investigation had advised that MTN Nigeria be prosecuted in line with Section 167(8) of the Evidence Act, for an attempt to suppress evidence in the case.
Oyinlola had in his petition to the police in 2012, alleged of an unholy relationship between then Justice Ayo Salami and some chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to pervert the course of justice when Justice Salami presided at the Osun State governorship election petition tribunal involving the ACN and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

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He had claimed that there was a telephone interaction between and among ACN chieftains, its lawyers, Justice Ayo Salami (now retired) and his bosom friend, Tunji Ijaiya, which MTN desperately tried to cover up from the NJC’s Special Investigative Panel.
Amongst the phone numbers the petitioner believed to have held discussions with the then presiding Justice of the election tribunal were 08034240000 and 0802240104, “both numbers, I am certain are/were being used by Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The latter is registered in the name of MTN Director, Tunde Folawiyo. The former is registered in the name of Gbadegesin Ademola, who is Tinubu’s Personal Assistant.

“MTN officials. All four individuals ought to be invited by the police to disclose at what point, ownership of the two subscriber lines changed,” Oyinlola argued.
He added that, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Gbadegesin Ademola (Tinubu’s aide), Justice Ayo Salami, Tunde Folawiyo, Tunji Ijaiya and Rotimi Odusola must appear before the police, “to narrate their roles in the grand scheme to pervert the course of justice.”

However, Oyinlola claimed that the police has since 2013 failed to supply him with the said report after several requests.
The former governor in the January 27, letter titled: ‘Re: Protest at the Refusal of the Nigerian Police Force to Release Report of Investigation Carried Out By IGP Monitoring Team in Respect of Petitions against MTN Nigeria Communications, Certain Staff of The Nigerian Communications Commission and One Simon Egede (REF: CR3000/IGPSEC/ABJ/VOL. 103/603) and signed by his aide, Mr Adeolu Oyinlola stated that, “Given that the police establishment is unwilling to release the said report for reasons we find difficult to fathom, we are now left with no choice than to approach the courts for intervention.”

Before the January 27 letter, the petitioners had written similar protest letters dated January 4 and 26, 2023, and December 20, 2022, wherein they had registered their “surprise and disappointment at the refusal of the police to release to us the report of investigation carried out by the IGP Monitoring Team in respect of petitions” written by Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

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“Having written more than 10 letters requesting the release of the aforementioned report in the intervening period of eight years (and counting) acknowledged copies of four of which letters are attached to this correspondence, we have good reason to believe that a cover-up has patently been hatched and is being overtly executed by certain persons in the Nigerian Police Force”, the letter dated December 20, 2022 read in part.
Oyinlola, who claimed to be the only witness during the investigation submitted that there was a manipulation of the Call Detail Records (CDRs) forwarded to the police by MTN at the behest of the National Judicial Council (NJC) sometime in 2013 which necessitated the initial complaint.
According to him, “only the Originating (Outgoing) components were made available, while the Terminating (Incoming) components were witheld in order to conceal the identity of callers.

“The implication of the foregoing is that MTN can (and did) manipulate the Call Detail Records of persons being investigated by law enforcement and security agencies,” he added.

While the letter appealed to the police “to be conscious of the verdict of history and mindful of the judgment of posterity; it implored the IG to use his good office “to cause the release of the report in question to us without further delay.”

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