ACF, others tell Buhari to end attacks, killings

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The leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Afenifere, the Middle Belt Forum and other groups have told President Muhammadu Buhari to end attacks by herdsmen, killings, kidnappings and other vices in the country.

The groups, which decried the level of insecurity in the country, told the President to act promptly to save the country.

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The ACF told Buhari to “do everything to stop all these killings, kidnappings and other vices.”

The group spoke through its chairman, who is also a former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Coomasie, in Kaduna on Tuesday.

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Coomasie said the killings, as well as kidnappings, particularly of the 110 pupils of the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, and other vices had portrayed the North and the country in a bad light.

The former IG spoke when the ACF played host to a northern women socio-cultural group, Jam’iyya Matan Arewa at the national headquarters of the group in Kaduna. He said the ACF was gravely concerned about killings in the region.

He said, “Enough to the killings of our women, children and the kidnapping of our daughters, as well as the wanton destruction of property in the North. We appeal to northern leaders to put their heads together to save the region from activities that cast negative narratives on it (north).”

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Coomasie, who noted that Nigeria could not survive without the North, added that the region could no longer afford to be in the negative footage at all times “as it is the case since the return of democracy in 1999.”

The former IG called on the Buhari administration to do all within its powers to end the killings and kidnappings of Nigerians, particularly women and children.

He said, “We all know that without the North, Nigeria can never survive. But now is the time to walk the talk in the interest of our people.

“Chibok girls are still missing. Now kidnapping has gone to Dapchi in Yobe State. What happened? Are we always going to be the victims? Boko Haram; see what they did to the North-East. The members have spread to the North-Central and even to the southern part of the country.

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“Whenever there is crisis, women and children are always the major victims. Enough is enough; enough of killings of our women and children; enough of kidnapping of our daughters and enough of destruction of our property.

“The government should do everything to stop all these killings, kidnappings and other vices.”

The Chairperson of the JMA, Aishatu Pamela-Sadauki, said the visit of the group was meant to “discuss how to protect children and women in the region from incessant attacks.”

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Pamela-Saduaki, who was represented by Hajiya Aliko Muhammed, said, “As mothers, the continued abduction of our children and the unwarranted killings in the region are unacceptable to us.”

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The pan-Yoruba cultural group, Afenifere, also decried the level of insecurity in the country, vowing to protect Yorubaland from possible attack and invasion.

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In a communiqué released on Tuesday at the end of a summit by the group in Ibadan, Oyo State, which had the theme, ‘The Yoruba nation; For a better today and tomorrow,’ Afenifere expressed disappointment at the rate which prominent Yoruba businessmen were losing their positions in major industries, while also calling on Yoruba people in government agencies to be conscious of their responsibilities to the race.

Among those who were at the summit were a former Oyo State governor, Omololu Olunloyo, Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, Afenifere National Leader, Chief Ayo Fasoranti, national leader of the Alliance for Democracy, Mojisolowa Akinfenwa, a governorship aspirant in the state, Seyi Makinde, and the state Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Gbade Ojo.

The communiqué read, “The Yoruba were known to be on the front line of various aspects of human endeavour such as in education, business and industry. Unfortunately, the Yoruba appear to be losing this position. It is therefore very imperative that we re-invent ourselves.

“The Yoruba must use their knowledge to address Nigeria’s challenges. Yoruba in various agencies of government at all levels should always be conscious of their responsibilities to their race.

“Security challenges of today are quite unprecedented: Fulani herdsmen attacks, Boko Haram insurgency, kidnappings and so on and so forth. Afenifere shall take steps to safeguard lives and property in Yorubaland. The new focus of Afenifere is to reconcile all Yoruba in order to ensure a broad consensus over most important issues.”

In his address, Ladigbolu called on Afenifere leaders to stay off politics and play neutral role in their quest to unite all Yoruba people.

He said, “Afenifere leaders should shun politics and see themselves as one. They should fulfil their promise to the people and avoid corruption and nepotism,”

Ajimobi in his speech noted that it should be the utmost desire of the Yoruba to promote federal stability because of the economy of large scale and benefit of comparative advantage.

“This should, however, not be at the expense of the progress of the Yoruba nation. The race must continue to be at the forefront of the agitation for the strict application of the federal character principle as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended); to ensure that appointments to public service institutions fairly reflect the linguistic, ethnic, religious and geographic diversity of the country,” he said.

The Middle Belt Forum has asked the Federal Government to declare the marauding Fulani herdsmen as terrorists and activate the necessary security measures to end the ongoing killings in the region.

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The forum stated that lives were presently cheaper than cattle in the middle belt region, describing killings in the area as “pure ethnic cleansing aimed at disinheriting us of our lands.”

Presenting the forum’s demands after a meeting on Tuesday in Abuja, the MDF President, Bala Takaya, who read the communiqué, stated that the middle belt communities had become endangered under the watch of President Buhari.

The communiqué read in part, “The most frightening part of it is that government, security and law enforcement agencies merely look the other way rather than chase, track and arrest the herdsmen militia to face prosecution.

“As such, in the middle belt region, lives of human beings are now cheaper than cattle. Our communities have become endangered under the full watch of the FG.”

The forum asked Buhari to wake up to his responsibilities, proscribe the herdsmen militia and rebuild schools, hospitals and places of worship destroyed by the marauders.

Takaya also said communities destroyed during attacks by the herdsmen should be granted re-development funds from the ecological fund.

He said, “Do we as a people deserve to go through all this? What is our sin? Who will tell Mr. President that he is wrong? Who will save us from this menace? To the international community, we ask, ‘why is the world sleeping while another Rwanda is unfolding?”

Takaya further called for restructuring of the country and an overhaul of the security architecture to reflect true federal character.

A conglomeration of 15 churches under the aegis of Tarayar Ekklisiyoyin Kristi A Nigeria (meaning, Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri Christians), on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to deport all illegal immigrants who have been involved in killings of Nigerians and other violence.

The organisation also advised Buhari to be transparent in appointments and avoid running an ethnic administration.

The President of TEKAN, Dr. Caleb Ehima, expressed the group’s feelings in a communiqué he read after TEKAN’s extraordinary meeting in Jos, Plateau State.

He said, “TEKAN condemns in totality the laxity of the Federal Government in responding decisively to the ongoing killings in the country. TEKAN calls on the Federal Government to use all resources of peace available to it to stop the killing of innocent Nigerians.

“TEKAN observed that the Federal Government has admitted that some of the criminals killing Nigerians are illegal aliens in Nigeria. TEKAN calls on the Federal Government to deport all such persons.”

Ehima also advised Buhari to be sincere in his political appointments because Nigeria parades best brains in all parts of the country.

He said, “Somebody has described the present government as an ethnic administration. TEKAN agrees with this statement and we pray that government will understand that Nigeria operates a federal character principle which makes it mandatory to bring together people from all parts of Nigeria; the brains that can make this country what it desires to be.

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“And so, we must tell government that we are all Nigerians and the best brains are everywhere in this country and not from one particular place. And so, the government needs to do the right thing.”

No fewer than four farmers who were on fishing expedition have been reportedly shot dead by suspected Fulani herdsmen in a bush in Uwheru community, in the Ughelli North Council Area of Delta State.

The incident, which was said to have occurred on Saturday, had brought palpable tension to the area as other members of the fishing expedition were learned to have sustained different degrees of gun injury from the attack.

The Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, had last week, while receiving the Assistant Inspector General Police (AIG) Zone 5, Mr. Rasheed Akintunde, said herdsmen were occupying three Uwheru communities and farmers would have to pay Fulani herdsmen before being allowed access to their farmlands.

The governor had told the AIG to urgently mobilise police operatives to the area to avoid breakdown of law and order.

A security personnel who confirmed the incident, noted that the attack took place in the bush in Oreba village of Uwheru community on Saturday.

Other sources added that persons who survived the attack with gunshot injuries were currently receiving treatment at undisclosed hospitals within the state.

A senior police officer at the Ughelli Police Area Command, who also confirmed the incident, disclosed that the corpses of the deceased were recovered from the scene of the incident on Sunday.

The President General, Uwheru community, Chief Ogarivi Utso, also confirmed the killings, adding that communities in the area were under siege by arms wielding herdsmen who had been preventing the people from visiting their farmlands.

Utso added that victims of Saturday’s attack made it six persons that had been killed by herdsmen in the last few weeks in the area.

He called on the state and the federal governments to come to their aid before the situation snowballed into a full blown crisis.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Aniamaka, could not be reached as calls to his telephone line rang out.

He had yet to reply to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

:PUNCH

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