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Governor Bala Mohammed, herdsmen and AK-47

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Who Are You?

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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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BREAKING: At last, Obi Releases Campaign Manifesto

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BREAKING: At last, Obi Releases Campaign Manifesto

The 2023 presidential candidate of the the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Peter Obi, has finally released his long-awaited 62-page campaign manifesto.

The manifesto titled, “Our Pact with Nigerians: Creating a New Nigeria“, unveiled Obi’s proposed plans to lead Nigeria if elected as president.

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Page 18 of the document that was released on Saturday itemized his economic plan founded on a shift from consumption to production by running a production-centred economy that is driven by an agrarian revolution and export-oriented industrialization.

 

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Aisha Buhari Withdraws Defamation Case Against University Student Aminu Mohammed

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Aisha Buhari Withdraws Defamation Case Against University Student Aminu Mohammed

First Lady Aisha Buhari on Friday withdrew a defamation case against a student of the Federal University, Dutse, Aminu Mohammed.

The prosecution counsel, Fidelis Ogbobe, told the court in Abuja on Friday that the president’s wife withdrew the case due to the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians.

The first lady has been under pressure since news of Mohammed’s arrest broke last week.

Celebrities, social media influencers, students, politicians, media analysts have been commenting on the plight of Mohammed, who landed in trouble over a comment that the wife of Nigeria’s number one citizen found offensive.

Back in June, Mohammed had tweeted that the First Lady was feeding ‘fat’ on poor people’s money.

READ ALSO: Questions For Aisha Buhari

The tweet, which was posted in Hausa, read: “Su mama anchi kudin talkawa ankoshi.” It loosely translates as “Mama has fed fat on poor people’s money.”

A picture of Aisha Buhari was posted with the tweet to match the post.

 

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Labour Party Rejects Suspension Of Okupe As Campaign DG

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Labour Party Rejects Suspension Of Okupe As Campaign DG

The Labour Party has rejected the purported suspension of its presidential campaign council (PCC) director-general, Doyin Okupe.

Umar-Farouk Ibrahim, the national secretary of the party said this when he addressed reporters in Abuja on Friday.

Ibrahim said that the national leadership of the party was surprised at the suspension by the Ogun chapter which was without due process.

“The Ogun State Chapter has acted outside its constitutional jurisdiction; the party has an internal conflict resolution mechanism of handling cases against members as enshrined in the party’s constitution.

“There are also disciplinary measures to be taken, for example, before you discipline any member, there are certain procedures that you have to follow, you have to issue a query among other procedures, and that has not been followed.

“No complaint was written by the state chapter, his ward and his local government, so we are saying the national headquarters is not aware of what they are doing, they are doing it on their own.

“The National Working Committee(NWC) is going to set up a committee and appropriate disciplinary action would be taken against the perpetrators in the state exco and we are going to fish them out and take appropriate action,” he said.

READ  ALSO: Okupe Sacked From Labour Party

Ibrahim said the suspension was void as Okupe remained a card- carrying member LP and the DG PCC.

He said that the party was not unaware of attempts by opposition parties to infiltrate its structures at all levels.

Ibrahim said that the party’s leadership would do everything within its powers to ensure that its cohesion was not tampered with and would not be distracted by the antics of the opposition candidates until all its candidates were victorious in the 2023 general election.

He expressed worry over recent attacks on party members, candidates and officials in some states, particularly Edo, Ebonyi states and Kaduna where the state women leader was gruesomely murdered.
(NAN)

 

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