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Governor Bala Mohammed, herdsmen and AK-47

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Who Are You?

By

Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

Last two odd weeks, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State was in the news nationwide, at the closing ceremony of the Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the NUJ in Bauchi State. For a man who hardly gets national media attention, he certainly had to say something outrageous and asinine to get a mention in all the national dailies. Governor Mohammed expressed his mind on the rather spicy herdsmen-farmers-bandits issue that has almost torn the country into two parts or more. He was quoted as saying that “AK-47-bearing herdsmen are forced to do so because the government has failed to secure their lives and livelihood’. He then went ahead to give a punchline, exonerating the typical herdsman from blame: “it is not his fault, it is the fault of the government and the people! It is the fault of the people that herdsmen invade communities and attack innocent citizens, stealing, kidnapping, and killing! All because they must graze their cows on farmlands that do not belong to them!

While the nation was yet digesting this odious and provocative message, Sheikh Gumi was quoted as telling bandits who received settlement from government that it is non-Muslim soldiers that have been fighting them. It was bad enough that a government sent a religious cleric to discuss peace with thieves. But to promote religious bigotry while engaging ordinary criminals who should be in jail is tantamount to treason! Do some people want to set Nigeria ablaze?

To be sure, the governor’s misstep received knocks from all sensible and reasonable quarters. In reaction he came out with what an aide of his described as an explanation of what his boss had in mind. Indeed, the detailed explanation was worse. It showed the dissonance between Fulani leadership and the situation on the ground. He did not deny the statement ascribed to him that herdsmen should carry guns to protect themselves. His objective, he said, was to ‘avert the dangerous prospect of a nation-wide backlash and generalization of the Fulani clan as criminals’.

Now, the good book, the Holy Bible states clearly that ‘great men are not always wise! On this matter, some of our leaders, in the north and south have not been wise. Mohammed has especially not shown an iota of wisdom, statesmanship, or prudence. He has deliberately refused to read the handwriting on the wall correctly. His interpretation of the current tension in the country has been warped, selfish and dangerous. He ought to have kept quiet if he had nothing profound to say. Nobody has said that all Fulani are criminals. That is certainly not the point. Nobody has said men from other ethnic groups do not engage in criminal activities. The major point being made is that the stay of Fulani herdsmen in communities has produced a new trend of criminality that we never witnessed before in the country. Most of those bloody killers are not the pastoralists we grew up to know who even apologised if their cattle destroyed crops. These ones are aggressive, move with a sense of entitlement and arrogance. The forests or bushes anywhere in Nigeria are their property. And they impose themselves on communities. How can a Fulani man travel to Uwheru in Delta State and ask locals to pay a fine to gain access to their farms?

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As for carrying weapons, what, if I may ask Governor Mohammed makes the Fulani herdsman different from ordinary Nigerians who were all asked to surrender their weapons, licensed or unlicensed, to the police a few years back? If the communities all carry weapons to fight or protect their lands having been failed by state security won’t the country descend into anarchy and war? What has Governor Mohammed made of the heroism now being ascribed to Sunday Igboho in Oyo State?

The truth is that there is growing and deepening resentment against the incumbent government because it is perceived as promoting an ethnic agenda. The nation is being split further and further into ethnic enclaves. The Ibadan explosion has been contained, sort of. But anger is seething. Revenge has no end. If Fulani herdsmen can carry weapons for self -defence, the Igbo man or the Yoruba man can as well make the same argument. The impudence of the rampaging herdsmen is attributed to the entrenchment of Fulani men who have been placed in charge of different security units across the country. Certainly, this is not how to run a federation.

What compatriots fear is the outbreak of violence that could spiral out of control. What has saved the nation so far is the refusal of any prominent political leaders in the south to make inflammatory statements on the plight of their kith and kin. The memories of 1967 to 1970 are still very clear. No one should by design or default plunge this country into a conflagration. Former military Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar recently warned that the situation in the country is dangerous and could lead to an outbreak of war! The bombings taking place in Orlu is interpreted differently by people of that ethnic group. There is infinite madness in the land right now. Sadly, if there is formal war, (aren’t we at war already?) these cowards are likely to flee the country and leave the poor to suffer. Let us remember Rwanda. Let us remember Sierra Leone. Let us remember Liberia. Things have not been the same again!

Governor Mohammed should look beyond the selfish interest of his minority kith and kin while making comments on the sensitive issue of land grabbing. Governor of Taraba State was more practical and more sensitive when he said all Nigerians should be allowed to bear arms for self-defence. Although that could also be bloody and anarchic, it rises beyond the parochial and insensitive view expressed by Bauchi State governor. Governor Ortom whose State is in the thick of the murderous activities of the herdsmen has called on the federal government to be more responsible and non-partisan in handling the insecurity situation. It just takes three or four more angry Ortoms to further raise the tension in the country to dangerous proportions. We must not get to that level. And to think that the tension is caused by herders most of whom are non-Nigerians is the height of national foolishness. The time to apply the brakes is now!

Professor Eghagha can be reached at heghagha@yahoo.com or 08023220393

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Court Jails APC Senator Seven Years For Fraud

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Court Jails APC Senator Seven Years For Fraud

The Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Peter Nwaoboshi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) , has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

The Court of Appeal in Lagos on Friday also ordered that the senator’s two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd, be wound up in line with the provisions of Section 22 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2021.

The court’s ruling was delivered in an appeal challenging the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court which on June 18, 2021, discharged and acquitted the defendants on two counts of fraud and money laundering. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which arraigned him however challenged the lower court’s decision.

EFCC had arraigned the three defendants over the acquisition of a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million.

 READ ALSO: Why Move To Impeach Senate President Will Fail – Nwaboshi

Part of the money paid to the vendor – N322 million transferred by Suiming Electrical Ltd on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd – was alleged to be part of proceeds of fraud.

Earlier in his judgment, Justice Aneke said the evidence of the prosecutor “proved that the third defendant obtained a loan of N1.2 billion from Zenith Bank to purchase additional equipment and as provision of working capital”.

“It also proved that the loan of N1.2 billion together with interest of N24 million was properly granted to the third defendant .Nothing else was proved by the complainant or prosecutor in this case,” the EFCC quoted the judge as saying in a statement.

The high court judge was also quoted as claiming that a fatal blow was dealt to the case of the prosecution by its failure to call officials of Sterling Bank “to testify and probably tender exhibits F and F10. Consequently, he discharged and acquitted the defendants”.

However, ruling on the EFCC’s appeal on Friday, the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in dismissing the charges against the respondents.

“The court said the prosecution had proved the ingredients of the offence and consequently found the defendants guilty as charged,” EFCC said.

 

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Drama In Court As Lawyer Appears In Priestly Attire

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VIDEO: Drama As Lawyer In Priestly Attire Appears In Court

By John Michael Ojo
There was a mild drama today at the Okpoko Magistrate Court in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, as a lawyer simply identified as Ogbachalu Goshen appeared before the court in a pastoral robe.

But Ogbachalu who was standing before the magistrate, CB Mbaegbu, was denied  hearing on the ground that he was not properly attired, leading to a minor incident in the court.

READ ALSO: Female Students Can Wear Hijab To Lagos Schools – Supreme Court

However,  citing a recent Supreme Court’s judgment which supported the wearing of hijab by female students in public schools as a reference point, Ogbachalu reminded the court that it was his right to dress in his priestly attire as he was an ordained pastor and that the objection by the court to hear him, was an infringement on his fundamental human right as enshrined in section 38 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

The magistrate however disagreed his submission which only forced the court to dismiss.

 

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Court Orders Immigration, Banks To Release David Ukpo’s Details To Ekweremadu

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Court Orders Immigration, Banks To Release David Ukpo's Details To Ekweremadu

To enable detained former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu to effectively defend himself in London, a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday ordered the Nigerian Immigration Service and three banks to immediately release details of David Ukpo to him.

Justice Inyang Ekwo issued the order while delivering judgment in a suit instituted by Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice.

The judgment against the defendants followed their non-appearance in court to defend the suit.

By the court order, all official information including the account opening package in relation to Ukpo are to be released to Senator Ekweremadu to ascertain the real age of the said Ukpo.

READ ALSO: Real Age Of Ekweremadu’s Kidney Donor – Immigration

Ukpo had claimed at a London court that he was a minor of 15 years old which led to the arrest and detention of the Nigerian Senator.

Other defendants are the Comptroller General (C-G), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); Stanbic-IBTC Bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA), and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc as 2nd to 5th respondents, respectively.

 

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