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JUST IN: No more night, underage grazing, destruction of crops — Miyetti Allah orders herdsmen in Southwest

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The National President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa has directed Fulani Herders across the Southwest to put an end to both night and underaged grazing with immediate effect.

Kiruwa also warned herders to desist from taking their cows to people’s farms for grazing, adding that the frequents farmers/herders clash must be brought to an end.

He spoke in Akure, the Ondo State Capital during a meeting between the Miyetti Allah and some Governors under the platform of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

The MACBAN President said the order given by Governor Akeredolu was not new but has been issued two years ago, adding that those who wished to remain in the government forest reserve should get registered.

While stressing that MACBAN is a peaceful association that values peace and condemned criminalities in any form, the President said MACBAN will continue to work with security agencies to fish out criminals.

MACBAN Southwest Zonal Chairman said the association was ready to abide by the rules and regulations of the government, saying that Governor Akeredolu never asked the Fulanis to leave Ondo State but to get registered if they are illegally occupying the government forest reserve.

He expressed their readiness to support the governors and the security agencies in bringing the criminals masquerading as herdsmen to justice.

Meanwhile, Senior Special Assistant on Social Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, Lauretta Onochie, had warned against criminalizing Fulani herdsmen. 

Onochie claimed that many critics of Buhari’s government were driven by hate and bitterness and were, therefore, want to accuse Fulani herdsmen of every heinous act perpetrated by criminals, adding that such commentators were fishing for trouble.

Nigeria has decayed — Obi

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Former Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Peter Obi, has said the country has decayed because of the nation's painful level of rotten and decayed political system. 

The former Anambra State Governor, however, said the nation is not beyond salvation if the system is purged, and honest men can join the political space with the intention of causing positive change.

Obi, who made this known during his appearance on Nigeria Leadership Series, hosted by Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, accused Nigerian elites of being part of the problem facing the nation.

He said the elite and informed citizens who were at the fore-front of change had refused to contribute positively to nation building, but were bent on finding ways of satisfying their selfish interests.

“What we see in Nigeria today is a situation where people are getting more greedy and becoming less caring about the less privileged. The learned and averagely comfortable ones in the country have little or no virtue of contentment. The less privileged ones who need all the opportunity in life to become rich, now appear to be more honest than the elite.”

Obi expressed the hope that Nigeria would become a better place if men of integrity would bring in honesty into the country’s political landscape.

He said the current evils of god-fatherism, bribery and corruption, abuse of public office and so on, would be reduced when people who have the nation’s interest at heart join politics. He argued that politics would arguably remain dirty, as long as people who have selfish interests continue to parade the corridors of power.

He further noted that fear of criticism, verbal and physical attacks, and in some cases death, had made many well meaning Nigerians stand aloof from the political process of the nation.

“Every country that has progressed from failure to national success passed through the same phase. Men of vision, sincerity, uprightness, probity, honour and moral rectitude, always rise up to cause a wave of change that turns around a nation for the better. We have such men in Nigeria. This is the time for them to rise up and join hands to save our country,” he said.

It is sad to be identified with failure — Dalung

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Former Minister of Sports under the Buhari administration, Solomon Dalung, has expressed regrets that the government under which he once served, has failed the Nigerian people. 

Dalung who made the statementSpeakin in an interview with BBC Hausa, said despite having worked with the Buhari government during his first term in office, and is still a card carrying member of the APC, he is not afraid to speak truth to power.

He said the current state of the nation is frightening as Nigerians are forced to seek alternative means of survival in their own country as government doesn't exist.

He said, “In the north, if you are a Muslim and you want to travel, you must pray, fast for days before embarking on the journey. If you are Christian and you want to travel, you must fast and pray for days before you travel.

“Even if the journey is successful, you will still go to the hospital because of high blood pressure arising from fear during the journey. We have never experienced this kind of situation. Imagine in the north, before you go to your farm, you will have to pay gunmen to allow you farm. If you want to harvest your farm produced, you will still have to pay gunmen before they allow you to harvest.

“So how can there be farming in the North? We have never experienced this kind of situation. It is our APC government, but this government has not address the needs of Nigerians. It is our government, but if we are not doing the correct thing, it is our responsibility to speak out because we spoke against some people in the past and we need to speak to ourselves too.

“You know me and everybody in Nigeria knows me. Whether I am still a minister, even if I am the president, whatever I see that is not right, I must speak out, not because of myself, but in the interest of the generality of the people,” he said.

OYO Quit Notice: Stop looking for trouble — Onochie warns against criminalizing Fulani herdsmen

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Senior Special Assistant on Social Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, Lauretta Onochie, has warned against criminalizing Fulani herdsmen. 

Onochie claimed that many critics of  Buhari’s government were driven by hate and bitterness and were, therefore, want to accuse Fulani herdsmen of every heinous act perpetrated by criminals, adding that such commentators were fishing for trouble.

In a string of tweets on Monday, the President’s aide said all crimes committed in non-Fulani host communities were attributed to guest -herders- who are of the same tribe as Buhari.

Onochie was reacting to statements made by a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), on the eviction order issued by Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, that herdsmen should leave the state’s forest reserves within seven days.

Onochie wrote, “If there is an ethnic or community clash where lives and properties are lost, we pick and choose which to attribute to community clash and which to lay on the doorsteps of the Fulanis, Buhari’s ethnic group, in order to satisfy the craving for more bitterness and hatred towards Buhari.

“There is no tribe that is free of bad eggs. But criminalising an ethnic group because you don’t like President Buhari’s face, is nothing short of evil and fishing for trouble.”

The President’s aide further said the critics of the regime have insatiable demands. “They had asked for restructuring. Buhari has no power to alter the constitution so he did what is within his power…After restructuring, they moved to Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram,” she wrote.

Onochie, however, sued for peace amid the unfolding situations in Ondo and Oyo States, adding that elections remained the constitutional way to remove an unpopular government.

“Those threatening mayhem must calm down, take a deep breath and remember that this is the only nation we can truly call, “ours”.

“The ballot box is usually, the best way to change a government. That is in 2023. Let common sense prevail. God bless Nigeria,” she tweeted.

OYO: Fulani leaders beg for forgiveness as residents insist on quit notice

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Two Fulani leaders, the Seriki Fulani of Igbo Ora, Alhaji Idris Abubakar, and the Seriki Fulani of Eruwa, Alhaji Sule Mohammed, have solicited for forgiveness, assuring the people of Oyo State that they would facilitate peaceful coexistence in Ibarapa land.

Recall that there was violence at Igangan on Friday when a popular Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, alongside his followers, stormed the Fulani settlement in the ancient town to eject Seriki Fulani, Salihu Abdukadir, and herdsmen accused of perpetrating crimes ranging from kidnappings, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands with their cattle.

The community leaders spoke during a visit of the state government delegation to the town on Sunday.

At the meeting, residents of Igangan in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State recounted their ordeals in the hands of Fulani herdsmen.

The community also presented to the delegation, pictures and other evidence of ransoms paid to the herdsmen. They accused the Seriki Fulani of complicity in the negotiation of ransoms.

During the meeting, those who paid ransoms to the bandits presented pictorial evidence to back up their claims.

The traditional ruler of Igangan, the Asigangan of Igangan, Oba Abdulazeez Adeoye, whose cousin was kidnapped, tendered the evidence of the ransom he paid to secure his release.

Residents also stormed the venue of the meeting with photographs of those who were killed and those who suffered attacks in the hands of criminal herdsmen.

Oba Adeoye confirmed to Punch that victims and their families came to the meeting with photographs to back up their claims.

He said, "Our people brought photos. I also showed the evidence of ransom paid for one of my children."

The PUNCH gathered that despite that Seriki Fulani in Igangan had fled; there were still some Fulani living in the midst of the people in the town unmolested.

Some youths were also bearing placards, with inscriptions, which condemned the atrocities perpetrated by herdsmen in the community.

The Commissioner of Police, who led senior police officers, including Deputy Commissioners of Police and Mobile Police Commanders on a tour of Igangan, Tede and Ago Are communities, urged the residents to toe the path of peace.

She expressed the police's readiness to carry out a thorough investigation to ensure justice for victims of kidnappings, rape and other crimes committed in the areas.

But Fulani leaders, who attended the meeting, begged for forgiveness, saying the Fulani were ready for peaceful coexistence with their hosts.

The Secretary of Igangan Development Advocates, Lawal Akeem, said the people were tired of the antics of the Seriki Fulani of Igangan, whom he accused of complicity in different kidnap cases.

He also said that the community had been forced to pay about N50 million in ransoms for different kidnapping cases while also accusing Fulani herders of regularly vandalising farms and raping women of the community.

A youth in the town, Taiwo Adeagbo, said that no fewer than 15 women had been raped in recent weeks.

A member of the state House of Assembly, Peter Ojedokun, also told the delegation that the peace in Ibarapaland had been stirred by the Fulani herders with the incessant attacks on community members, kidnappings and other crimes.

The Caretaker Chairman of Ibarapa North-West Local Council Development Area, Okediji Olusegun, corroborated the allegations levelled against the Seriki Fulani of Igangan, saying that the Seriki had been fingered in the series of security challenges in the area many times.

The real enemies of Nigerians are not those who stand by the roadside with Ak-47, says Jega

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Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, has described the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as “very disappointing.”

In an interview with Daily Trust, Jega said the current administration has performed below the expectations of “so many Nigerians”.

Jega served as Nigeria’s electoral umpire from 2010 to 2015, following his appointment by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He remains the only INEC chairman that has presided over two general elections in Nigeria — in 2011 and 2015, when Jonathan lost to Buhari, making him the first incumbent president to lose re-election.

Jega, who was once a vice-chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, said although Buhari enjoys goodwill from many Nigerians, citizens are worried “about the direction the country is taking.”

“He (Buhari) has disappointed so many people. He still has time to correct things if he has the capacity to do that. Frankly, his government has been very disappointing,” he was quoted to have said.

“Governance has been very poor at the federal level and many of the states, that is why we are seeing challenges everywhere; whether it is insurgency, banditry, armed robbery or other things.”

Jega also described Nigerian politicians as the most reckless, most selfish and most self-serving in the world.

“We have a lot to do; and the first thing to do is to get it right by securing the mindset of our politicians from selfishness, greed and reckless banditry. Actually, many of them are also bandits, not just those who stand by the roadside with AK 47.

To steal recklessly from government’s coffers and turn hundreds, if not millions of people into poverty, deny children the opportunity to go to school because they have stolen the money that would have gone into education or was supposed to buy arms and ammunition for the military, to the extent that they can no longer fight banditry, that is banditry itself,” he said.

We are not even enjoying one Nigeria, let's go our separate ways — Miyetti Allah tells Buhari

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The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore herdsmen group has called on the Federal Government to heed the call for the restructuring of the country to allow the Fulani go their way. Adding that they are not even "enjoying the Federation." 

The National Secretary of the group, Saleh Alhassan, said in an interview with PUNCH on Saturday that herdsmen were being marginalised in the country and that it was best if they were on their own where they would be protected.

There have been calls for the restructuring of the country, with many southern groups insisting that it was the only way the country could move forward, while northern groups have largely been divided on the issue.

The herdsmen attacks across the country had caused distrust among the ethnic groups, with some individuals from the different zones issuing quit notice to some others.

Alhassan however insisted that it was wrong to punish a group of people for the sins of some.

He said, “We don’t support crime. So, I’m not saying there are no Fulani that are criminals, there are, like other tribes, but don’t destroy their profession. It’s not good for the country. If everything busts, it’s to the advantage of the herders because we are not even enjoying the federation.

“We are even bidding for restructuring of the country; let every part go, so we can say this is where we are. As it is now, there is no form of marginalisation we are not seeing in this country. Everywhere we are being marginalised. You think we will accept Nigeria where we don’t have access to land to feed our animals and you think there will be peace?”

When asked if he thinks restructuring would solve the herders/farmers crisis, he said, “Quite fundamentally. If we leave today now and if there is no oil revenue, won’t they pay attention to animal rearing? If we restructure the country and the South-West region says they won’t accept cattle unless they are brought to the market or supermarket, it’s okay by us.

“The mistake people make is that they think when they put pressure on herders they are getting at President (Muhammadu) Buhari. Buhari has no relationship with the herders. That is the truth. When people say he is our grandpatron, was Jonathan from the South-South not our grandpatron?

“If the President is a Fulani, it doesn’t in any way affect the life of a herder. In fact, they are worse off under Buhari. What are they benefitting? They don’t access any government facility or social amenity, yet they are responsible for the bulk of animal protein we produce in this country. I think it’s deliberate for people to think otherwise.

“Buhari has not done anything for us other than creating enemies for us. Herders are being chased around. Let us look at the larger picture and not allow enemies penetrate us. If Buhari loves the herders, he would have created the grazing reserves for them.”

He said further that government’s refusal to address the issue of land management, which he said is at the root of the crisis, had been fuelling the crisis.

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