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Governor Bala Mohammed, herdsmen and AK-47

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The President Visits Owerri

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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?

READ ALSO: Dozens Of Boeing Aircraft Grounded After Crashes

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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We Did Our Best To Save Mailafia – Hospital

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We Did Our Best To Save Mailafia - Hospital

Worried about the allegation of complicity, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) has said that it did its best to save the life of former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Dr Obadiah Mailafia.

The hospital said those accusing it of having a hand in the death of the foremost activist were not sincere.

The acting Public Relations Officer of UATH, Michael Atiga, speaking on Mallafia’s death and allegations that trailed it, wondered how the hospital could be blamed for being responsible when its medical personnel did everything necessary to revive him.

According to him, the exceptional performances of medical personnel in Mailafia’s case earned them verbal accolade from the wife of the deceased, who he noted, was around the husband.

He explained:”The patient came in on Saturday, September 18,2021, around 2pm to 3pm in the afternoon. He was well received because the doctors even had pre-information that he was coming, so he was well received.

“And considering the nature of his illness because from what I gathered from the doctor, as he was rushed to this place, his oxygen saturation was like 60 percent, so there was a problem already. He was in a bad condition so they had to commence treatment immediately.”

According to him, the doctors ”placed him on a free-flow oxygen in order to increase his oxygen saturation and they started this medication immediately without asking for any money.

“The saturation which was 60 percent at the time they came to this place, at a point, went to like 90 percent. So they continued the treatment till like 10 clock at night.

“Since they discovered that his condition demanded utmost care, they called a nurse who was even off duty to be stationed with the patient throughout the night. The nurse was off duty but they called him to come and stay with the patient.

READ ALSO: ‘How Doctors Shabbily Treated Mailafia While Dying’

“So, the doctors did all they could to salvage the situation but you know that in health, doctors can only treat, it’s God that saves lives.”

” Even the wife, in the morning of that day around 8, o’clock when they passed the news of the husband’s death to her, appreciated the doctors that this is the first time she was seeing very dedicated health workers, whose priority is to save lives,” he added.

Asked if he had the appreciation from the deceased wife on record, he said, “I don’t have it on record but this was what I gathered from the doctor on duty.”

While admitting that a foreign doctor who was contacted abroad following the development, reached out to the hospital’s doctors handling Mailafia’s case, he said,” As at the time the foreign doctor was calling, the man had passed.”

“The foreign doctor was calling from abroad through the son of the deceased instructing the doctor who had certified the man dead to go and start pressing the chest again, who now told him that “Oga, I have been into this practice for over 20 years, the man is dead, if I like, I can press his chest from now till tomorrow, that would not bring him back to life. That was what happened,” he explained.

When told there was an allegation that the hospital asked for N600,000 before administering certain medication, he responded, “No, no, no.”

“That is why I’m telling you a clear record of what transpired in this hospital. If you like, you can meet with the wife of the deceased to hear her side. Nobody asked for money,” he explained.

When equally told that the Middle Belt Forum quoted the wife as saying this, Atiga said:”That means the woman is not sincere, she is not sincere, because when he was certified death and the doctors passed his condolences to her, she appreciated them according to what I learnt.”

He explained further:”The man was admitted into the VIP wing of the infectious disease centre which attracted more attention. Nobody said they should deposit before they commence treatment.

“It was after his death, and they said no problem, that the CBN was going to foot the bill. So, we are suprised that all these things started coming up.

READ ALSO: Obadiah Mailafia: The Grip Of Grief

“Before his death, he was even talking to them. At a point when they were trying to improve the oxygen saturation, according to what I gathered, all their efforts connecting the cylinder was going down. They tried all they could but it was going down and that was when the man passed away.

“The doctors said at the point he was requesting for ventilator, if they do that, it would even fast- track his death, they are practitioners.

“That was what happened because I went there and interviewed the doctor as a public relations officer and he briefed me on all that happened.”

 

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Anti-open Grazing Laws In Southern States Unrealistic – El-Rufai

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Anti-open Grazing Laws In Southern States Unrealistic - El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday described the anti-grazing laws being signed by some of his colleagues as unrealistic.

According to him, while ranching is the ideal solution to the problem, it cannot be done overnight.

El-Rufai also said Kaduna State would require at least N114 billion to put together 14 ranches to fully settle herders and their families.

The governor said this while speaking to newsmen during a visit to the National Secretariat of the All progressives Congress, in Abuja.
He said : “The northern state governors’ forum has already taken a position that open grazing is not a sustainable way of livestock production. And we must move towards ranching.

READ ALSO: Delta Lawmakers Pass Anti-open Grazing Bill

“But moving towards ranching cannot be done overnight. We have to have a plan; we have to have resources and we have to implement it sensibly. It is not a matter of populist legislation or saying tomorrow this or that. It is not a solution. We have taken a position as northern state governors and we are implementing that.

“And in my state, for instance, we are developing a huge ranch to centralize the herders. And that is the solution, a long time. But can it be done overnight? No.”

“This project we are doing will cost us about 10 billion naira. The CBN is supporting us with about 7.5 billion. And it will take about two years to do.

“We will be settling Fulani herd families. And I hope that they will see that there are alternative ways of producing livestock instead of running up and down with cattle going to people’s farms to cause all kinds of problems. We want to solve the problem.

“It is unhelpful to politicize the situation and pass legislation that you know that you cannot implement. So, we have taken a position and we are working round the clock to implement that position.

“These herders emanate from the north and we are going to centralize them. We cannot do it overnight. We need billions of naira. This is just one ranch that is causing 10 billion. I have 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna state and I would like to convince them into ranching. Do I have 14 times 10 billion naira? I don’t have.

READ ALSO: Govt Wants Supreme Court To Dismiss Rivers’ Bid To Stop Ceding Of 17 Oil Wells To Imo

“If the federal government will give me a hundred and fourteen billion, I will convert the other thirteen into ranches and make sure that nobody comes out with a cow or sheep in Kaduna state because I will have enough ranches to take care of everybody. That is the solution. You can legislate but let us wait and see. And I wish them the best of luck.”

 

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Sunny Ade’s Wife Dies

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Sunny Ade's Wife Dies

Risikat Ajoke Adegeye, a wife of Juju maestro, King Sunny Ade, is dead. She was a former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

A media aide to the son of the deceased , Daniel Fayemi, and sources in the Lagos State House of Assembly confirmed Adegeye’s demise.

Fayemi said : “The philanthropic politician passed on in the early hours of Tuesday. Her remains have since been deposited at the TOS funeral homes, Lagos.

“She is survived by her grieving husband and son, Mr. George Folarin. Funeral arrangements would be communicated accordingly.”

Her son, Folarin, also confirmed the death on behalf of the family in a statement on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Govt Absent From Court As Nnamdi Kanu Seeks Return To Britain

He said the ex-lawmaker died after a brief illness.

The statement read in part: “We wish to formally inform friends, well-wishers, political associates, and the general public that Hon Risikat Ajoke Adegeye passed on after a brief illness during the early hours of Tuesday, 21st September 2021.

“Hon Risikat Ajoke Adegeye was a Honourable Member in the 6th Assembly of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

“She will be greatly missed not only by her immediate family but also by her political associates and followers. Further information in respect to her burial ceremony will be announced later after extensive consultations with the family.

“Thank you as we pray that she continues to rest peacefully and eternally with the Almighty God.”

 

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