Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is chairing a committee comprising nine state governors to end the killings by herdsmen in parts of the country.
This was one of the decisions reached at a meeting of the National Economic Council held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, stated this at the end of the meeting presided over by Osinbajo.
Ganduje named members of the committee to include governors of Kaduna, Zamfara, Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, Edo, Plateau, Oyo, and Ebonyi states.
The governor said, “The committee will work with the Federal Government to address the violence.
“Also, the committee will work to ensure that all the perpetrators of the violence are brought to book.”
The Peoples Democratic Party has criticized the All Progressives Congress governors and some serving federal ministers following their silence on the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Benue State over the killings of scores of citizens in the state by herdsmen.
The party said it was a tragic failure of character and an act of hypocrisy that the same APC governors, who in 2013 “unleashed insults on the PDP and its Federal Government for delaying in visiting the fronts of Borno at the heat of insurgency attacks, had lost their voices now that Buhari had refused to visit Benue, Taraba or Kadnuna states” to condole with the people.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, asked Nigerians to note that neither the APC governors nor any federal delegation had visited Benue, Taraba or Kaduna state since the killings and the traumatising mass burial of victims.
He said, “Today, Nigerians are heartbroken to realise that those they thought were patriots and messiahs never had any iota of goodwill towards them.
“The questions are: Why have the APC governors and ministers suddenly lost their voices now that President Buhari has refused to visit Benue or show any form of empathy to the plight of Nigerians? Have Benue and Taraba now become ‘no-go areas’ for President Buhari? Indeed, this indifference calls for deeper reflection by Nigerians.”
The Senate on Thursday postponed its planned national security summit on the spate of killings in Nigeria by two weeks.
The summit, which was scheduled to hold on Wednesday and Thursday next week, was shifted till February.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly had on Tuesday and Wednesday debated killings by herdsmen and other armed groups across Nigeria.
The lawmakers had resolve that plenary be suspended for two days to allow for a conference of stakeholders on insecurity in the country.
But at the plenary on Thursday, the Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who is the Chairman of the Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of Security Infrastructure of Nigeria, moved a motion to seek the postponement of the event.
Lawan said, “Our committee met and considered that the time between now and then (next week) is too short for this Senate to organise a very good national summit. The committee needs more time to organise a summit that is worth its name and get a proper outcome.
“Our committee is therefore asking that we rescind our earlier resolution of holding the summit on Wednesday and Thursday next week and postpone it by two weeks, while the exact time will be announced later after we would have arrived at the final arrangement for the time.”
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, put the request to voice vote and it was unanimously approved by the lawmakers.
Saraki asked Lawan to communicate the new date for the summit to the chamber as soon as possible.
Ishaku hails N’Assembly’s intervention
The Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, on Thursday hailed members of the National Assembly for their collective resolve to address killings by Fulani herdsmen across the country.
This is contained in a statement by Ishaku’s Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello.
The governor in the statement noted that the herdsmen crisis was as serious as the Boko Haram challenge in the North-East, commending the timely intervention of the legislators.
“This is very appropriate and timely because it is probably one of the biggest crises in Nigeria today.
“It is no longer a problem restricted to just one part of the country, it could consume the entire country if not checked,” the statement read in part.
While pledging his support to the lawmakers in finding a lasting solution to the problem, Ishaku urged the lawmakers to hasten up in addressing the issue from the legislative point of view to prevent further bloodshed.
“Nigeria is not the country with the highest number of cattle in the world; not even in Africa, but we don’t hear of killings by herdsmen in other countries like Nigeria.
“We must find out how others have coped with this problem and adopt their approach. I believe an effective legislation can bring about a lasting solution.
“As we speak, farming activities have stopped in many of our communities and this portends danger as famine looms in the horizon,” he added.
Herdsmen, farmers clash hijacked by politicians, says Miyetti Allah
The National President, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhaji Bello Badejo, on Thursday raised the alarm that politicians had hijacked the Fulani herdsmen/farmers’ crisis.
He added that the politicians wanted to use it as the 2019 campaign agenda.
At a news conference in Kano, Badejo said he was disturbed that politicians were using the face-off to create a division in the minds of the people by labelling Fulani herdsmen as killers.
He said, ‘’Politicians are interfering in the Fulani herdsmen/farmers crisis. They are trying to create a division. Politicians are punishing farmers and Fulani cattle herdsmen because they want to use the face-off as a basis for 2019 politics.’’
He said the Fulani were peace-loving people, adding that to label them as terrorists carrying AK-47 rifles to kill was unfair.
He said the Fulani worldwide were engaged only in cattle rearing and nothing else.
‘‘They plan to create 5,000 hectares of land to be used as cattle colonies in some states. It is a welcome idea, but if the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, had agreed to create the proposed cattle colonies, rather than the grazing law he enacted, it would have not degenerated into the current controversy.
“Ortom’s law is not favourable to the Fulani; that is why we are vehemently opposed to it. So, the proposed colony will serve as an enduring solution to the lingering Fulani herdsmen/farmers crisis. We are in support of the Federal Government’s agenda to create the colonies.’’
The Mayetti boss called on the Inspector- General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to establish the truth as to who was attacking who and prosecute whoever was found guilty.
He said, ‘‘Only desperate politicians are opposed to the creation of cattle colonies for Fulani herdsmen. These issues have been politicised. Anyone armed with AK-47 rifle cannot be rearing cows; such a person must be an armed robber disguising as a Fulani herdsman.
He added that if any Fulani man invaded any farm; he should be arrested and cautioned “rather than blowing it out of proportion.”
‘Poor handling of killings’ll trigger war’
A group of indigenes, under the aegis of All Cross River Nationalities Front, has cautioned the Federal Government on the poor handling of the killings by Fulani herdsmen.
The group, in a statement on Thursday by its Chairman, Mr. Edet Asim, warned that such could trigger a war in the country.
ACRNF said, “We are unable to understand how a band of herders can invade one community after another for years and a responsible government cannot bring anybody to book.
“We are not convinced that the invaders are ghosts. So, the Federal Government must be held to account for not performing its duty of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians.”
The Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, and the head of the Mount Zion Faith Global Liberation Ministries, Nnewi, Bishop Abraham Udeh, say it is time for Nigerians to defend themselves from killer herdsmen.
Speaking at different forums in Onitsha and Nnewi, the bishops likened what was happening in the country to a jihad.
Chukwuma urged Nigerians to defend themselves, describing the killings in Benue, Taraba and other parts of the country as ungodly.
In his comment, Ude described the killings as a declaration of war.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has failed Nigerians for not checking the activities of the herders.”
‘Avoid inviting herdsmen into Kwara’
The Kwara State Security Council has directed community leaders in the state to avoid inviting herdsmen or other individuals into their communities without the knowledge of the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, who is also the Chairman, Kwara State Traditional Council of Chiefs.
A former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Samuel Afolayan (retd), had raised the alarm on Wednesday that herdsmen had destroyed 45 hectares of his 500-hectare farm in the Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on Media and Communications, Dr Muyideen Akorede, on Thursday said the directive was issued by the Security Council at its meeting in Ilorin.
Besides Ahmed, the council meeting also had in attendance the Deputy Governor, Mr. Peter Kisira; Emir of Ilorin, Sulu-Gambari; Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold; the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kamaldeen Ajibade, (SAN); and heads of security agencies in the state.
Akorede said the council, which was chaired by Ahmed, “urged the Kwara State residents to be security conscious and report any suspicious activities or movement to the appropriate authorities.”
Dangote donates N50m to victims of attacks
The Dangote Group of Companies on Thursday donated N50m to the Nasarawa State Government to provide relief materials to victims of attacks on border communities of Benue and Nasarawa states.
The Chairman of the group, Mr. Aliko Dangote, announced the donation when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura at the Government House, Lafia, over the incident.
He said, “We shall continue to identify with the leadership style of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura in terms of peace maintenance and development of the state.”
The chairman, who was represented by Abdullahi Sule, the Group Managing Director of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, said the donation was in line with the company’s corporate social responsibility.
Tanko Al-Makura commended Dangote for the gesture, assuring him that he would continue to be committed to the peace in the state.