Disgruntled politicians behind killings By Jide Ayobolu

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When the President Buhari administration came on board, it quickly reorganized the security architecture of the country and put the Boko Haram terrorists to flight, it returned peace and normalcy to different parts of the country that were hitherto ungovernable and under the firm control of external aggressors; but today the story has changed, the Boko Haram terrorists have been largely defeated, as peace and tranquility are now the order of the day.

It is very curious that now that the Federal Government has put the insurgents on a back foot that there is ascendancy of the so-called Fulani herdsmen; we have always had them in our midst, grazing peacefully and interacting with different host communities in a very cordial manner, so, why is it that, it is now that these so-called Fulani herdsmen bear arms and engage in wanton killings of innocent citizens in different parts of the country for no just cause.

It can then be reasonable to say that, the activities of this nefarious group is sponsored by disgruntled politicians and economic heavy weights who have lost out in the political cum economic equation in the current dispensation.

However, if the government can deal decisively with Boko Haram terrorists, it will definitely cut the herdsmen to size.

But the propaganda all over the place is that the government is not doing anything to deal with the absolutely horrendous situation but is not correct, no government in its right senses would sit back and allow some undesirable elements to the country into a battle field of endless killings.

The government is working round the clock to address the recurring security decimal in the polity.

But what propagandists and traducers of the government are doing, particularly those who been touched by the anti-graft stance of the present administration is that, they are the backers and supported of these arms-carrying militias called Fulani herdsmen and in order to give the government a bad name, they turnaround to claim that government is folding its arms while some people are killing others.

Their sole aim is to polarize the country along ethnic and religious lines, thereby manufacturing non-existence crisis as a red-herring, so that the government would be distracted from pursuing its anti-corruption war to a logical conclusion.

They are also bent on discrediting the present government through spurious and baseless claims, as a way of having victory at the polls, during the next general elections in the country.

But all these nebulous plans have failed thus far because Nigerians are very wise, they know where they are coming from, they know where they are and they have an expectation of where they are going, hence, they cannot be easily hoodwinked.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently said that his government has the grasp of the security challenges in the country and was determined to implement solutions that would stand the test of time.

President Buhari and heads of security agencies held the routine weekly security meeting where heads of the security agencies brief him on the security situation in the country.

As usual there was no briefing of State House correspondents as it was purely security matters, but President Buhari in his twitter handle said that the government would implement solutions that would be acceptable anywhere.

The President’s post on his twitter handle read thus, “Today I presided over a Meeting of the Security Council. We fully understand the seriousness & urgency of Nigeria’s security issues, and are determined to implement carefully considered solutions that will not only earn the confidence of Nigerians, but also stand the test of time.”

The meeting which was an enlarged one with heads of Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Prisons Service, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps lasted about three hours at the State House, Abuja.

At the meeting was the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd)

Also in attendance were Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS); Lawal Daura, Director of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Abubakar, and Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

The service chiefs at the meeting included Chief of Defence Staff; Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff; Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, and Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar.

According to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, stated in section (13) that it shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government, and of all authorities and persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers, to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this Chapter of this Constitution.

(14) (1) that The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice.

(2) It is hereby, accordingly, declared that:

(a) Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority;

(b) The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and

(c) The participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

The Presidency has said it was in possession of evidence to prove that some politicians were behind the killings allegedly being carried out by herdsmen in parts of the country. It said the unnamed politicians were using criminals to perpetuate the killings.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in a statement in Abuja. Shehu however said climate change, especially the drying up of the Chad Basin, had also been compounding the problem.

He said the climate change, which he described as an issue of global significance, had led to more pressure on the population in the North.

The presidential spokesman however assured stakeholders that the government was determined to continue to work hard towards a long-term solution to the problem which he described as historical. Shehu also appealed to Nigerians and members of the international community to desist from spreading false information and inflammatory statements concerning the issue.

He said the Federal Government, with the state governments, security agencies and international community should collaborate with a view to resolving the problem.

The statement read, “The Presidency is appealing to all its citizens as well as members of the international community to refrain from spreading false stories and inflammatory statements concerning the recent herders-farmers’ clashes.

“The Nigerian government is working closely with state governments and the security services – as well as international partners – in order to resolve this ongoing issue.“The clashes between herders and farmers are historical. The causes of these confrontations are varied and complex.

“Climate change, specifically the drying up of the Chad Basin, has led to more pressure on the population in the North of Nigeria, which further compounded the problem.

“As President Buhari indicated lately, there is evidence of involvement of some politicians using criminals to perpetuate the killings.

“Climate change is an issue of global significance and the Nigerian government is determined to continue working closely with its neighbours in order to ensure that a long-term solution can be implemented. “The Federal Government makes no distinction amongst the population and works tirelessly to protect all Nigerian people. We are strongest as a nation when we are united and it is through unity that we will overcome this challenge.”

Meanwhile, the number of Internally Displaced Persons following the June 23 and 24 attacks on 15 communities in Plateau State villages has risen to 11,515. An advocacy group, Stefanos Foundation, which gave the figure in its Fact-finding Report on Barkin-Ladi Attacks, 2018, said the 11, 515 IDPs were taking refuge in 13 locations in the state.

According to the foundation, a total of 233 persons were killed in the two-day attacks carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen, while “those that are badly injured are hospitalized in various medical centres in Jos, with their families left to struggle with the hospital bills.”

The foundation, which said it received early warning messages from the various communities prior to the attacks and sent same to the government and security agencies, regretted that the attacks still took place. Stefanos Foundation, in its 14-page report, said its Needs Assessment team deployed in the crisis area, observed that the affected areas were insecure and vulnerable to further attacks.

The fact-finding team, it said, gathered that “some of the communities attacked in the past have now been occupied by Fulani herdsmen.”

“From their records, over 40 villages have now been completely deserted in the Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas as a result of continuous attacks.

“The locals, who are the inhabitants of these communities, have no hope of returning to their homes, rather, new houses belonging to the Fulani are now being sighted to be springing up in the deserted communities,” the foundation said.

The 14-page document titled, “Report of June 23 to 24 2018 attacks on 15 communities in the Barkin Ladi, Riyom, Bokkos and Mangu Local Government Areas of Plateau State, Nigeria,” was signed by the Programme Coordinator of SF, Mark Lipdo,

The team led by the Administrator of SF, Abraham Hassan, included Franco Majok and Joel Vandaspek (both from CSI, USA), who were in the country for a visit at the time of the recent killings in the four LGAs.

The report said, “Coordinated military-style attacks ravaged 15 communities in some LGAs of Plateau State from June 23 to June 24, 2018, which resulted to the death of 233 persons with many others injured and several properties destroyed while thousands of villagers were displaced.”

The six-man team, during its fact-finding mission, met with the victims (survivors) where they are now taking refuge in about 13 locations.

The report said, “These locations include CAC and ECWA in Bokkos, with 260 people; Geo-sciences complex in Anguldi, with 3, 061 people; Riyom Community Hall, with 300 people; RCC Fan, with 382 people; ECWA Lawuru, with 452 people; and St. John Viani, Barkin Ladi, with 1, 552 people. “Others are COCIN RCC Heipang, with 3, 026 people; LCC Ban, with 820 people; COCIN Gasa, with 800 people; Karos Barkin- Ladi, with 132 people; LCC Rampiang, Mangu with 400 people and Dorowa Soho Primary School, with 360 people, bringing the total number of displaced to about 11, 515 IDPs.”

SF said its team spent some time talking with the victims to understand their stories and also prayed with them. The team, which was able to provide a token of cash gifts to support the victims in the interim for their feeding, Lipdo said, also planned to mobilize more support in the shortest possible time in order to assist the victims.

 Ayobolu, a public affairs analyst contributed this piece from Lagos State

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