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Farmers/Herders Crisis: Group Cautions Ortom Over Constant Attacks On President Buhari*

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…..says Benue Gov using the crisis to steal public funds

Some middle-belt leaders have denounced Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over his persistent attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari.

The group, under the auspices of the Middle Belt Conscience Guard (MBCG), warned the governor to focus on governance rather than habitually incite Nigerians against Fulani herders.

The MBCG, at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, described Ortom’s assaults on President Buhari and Fulani herders as “uncomplimentary, satanic and a grand plot to orchestrate widespread public violence in Nigeria”.

In his address, Alex Samuel, the Secretary of MBCG’s Board of Trustees, said the governor’s antics is aimed to divert attention from public funds being looted in his state.

Samuel noted that Ortom capitalizes on the slightest opportunity to criticise Buhari whereas in his state people die daily of hardship and starvation.

According to him, while President Buhari has entrenched durable peace between farmers and herders, Ortom continues to fuel hatred amongst the people due to political benefits from the crisisd create using Fulani herdsmen.

The MBCG advised the governor to concentrate on providing genuine leadership to the people who elected him.

The group added that Ortom who has displayed zero capacity to lead people uses President Buhari to cover his own failures in leadership.

Mr Samuel, however, warned the governor to stop dancing on the graves of innocent citizens with his persistent onslaught on Buhari and Fulani herders.

He said Gov. Ortom has been tolerated enough and he should purge himself of the anti-Buhari and Fulani herders’ sentiments and face genuine governance.

Read the full statement below:

We are pained to pencil down these feelings at a time Nigerians are celebrating the Christian feast of St. Valentine; which is a day globally set aside for the expression of love and brotherhood.

But it has become expedient for us to let out our feelings known to all Nigerians, which are in stout disagreement and stiff opposition to Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom’s habitual and consistent incitement of Nigerians against the Fulani herders. We are equally vexed by his unrestrained verbal assaults on President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, which shows scant regard for the person and office of Mr. President.

In the last few days, as done in the past, Gov. Ortom has decided to revive his penchant, umbrage, hate against the Fulani ethnic group and outright incitement of other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria against Fulani herders. He has accused the Fulani herders of various unsubstantiated misdemeanours against crop farmers, including bloodshed and sought very foolishly to terminate the traditional occupation of the Fulanis, which is cattle rearing from the face of the earth.

Middle Belt Conscience Guard (MBCG) finds Gov. Ortom verbal assaults on President Buhari and Fulani herders very uncomplimentary, satanic and a grand plot to orchestrate widespread public violence in Nigeria. We find this very unacceptable, especially, as the hateful campaigns are mounted by Gov. Ortom  a supposed leader of the people and who by his status ought to be the father of all Nigerians domiciled in the state he governs.

Those in Benue state or the people Gov. Ortom governs knows that each time the demand for the Governor’s stewardship accountability comes up, he resorts to the antics of the sentimental resurrection of the issue of Fulani herders to divert and distract focus on his disastrous leadership of the state.  This trick is conveniently used by Gov. Ortom to gain undeserved political milage and favours’. It is what is known to us and Benue people are not deceived either.

We understand Gov. Ortom’s actions and he stops dancing on the graves of innocent citizens of Nigeria.  His constant and senseless vociferousness on the issue of Fulani herders and crop farmers for very personal and selfish reasons. Ortom created and natured to blossom, the conflict between idyllic herders and crop farmers in Benue state. These two groups co-existed and practised their occupation in peace and commonality until Gov. Ortom decided to thrust a knife on the fraternity between these twin traditional brothers and friends.

Gov. Ortom is very skilful in deceitfulness and manipulation of the people for his political and economic interests.  That’s why he has deliberately refused to address the root causes of the herders-farmers crisis in Benue State because of his political and economic interests. His inactions laced in propagandism have worsened the fragile relationship between Fulani herders and crop farmers across the country.

Gov. Ortom kick-started the farmers-herders crisis with the so-called anti-open grazing law. And since the law came into effect through an Act of the Benue State House of Assembly more than three years ago, Gov. Ortom’s Livestock Guards have seized or confiscated thousands of cattle from Fulani herders under the pretext that they have violated the law.  A clause in the anti-open grazing law, which Ortom knows very perfectly, makes provision for the public auctioning of seized cows on the strength of the anti-open grazing law.

But in truth, can Gov. Ortom tell Nigerians where and when he has ever auctioned the cattle confiscated from Fulani herders? There are no such records anywhere. Rather, the seized cattle end up in Gov. Ortom’s Oracle Farms Limited as his personal possession and treasure.  We challenge Ortom to publicly disprove us.

Gov. Ortom is a mere opportunist, propagandist and leadership accident on the people of Benue. He has become an emergency herder because there are free cows of Fulani herders to impound through the instrument of state power. Ortom should have been contented with the illegal use of state power on innocent Fulani herders. But to further defame or malign the Fulani herders by labelling them killers and bloodsuckers is very unconscionable.

If herders necessarily kill as propagated by Gov. Ortom, it means, he is also a chief killer himself. Why has Gov. Ortom not explained to the people of Benue and the Nigerians, the identity of the six suspects, including his kinsman and political associate, Alhaji Aliyu Tashaku arrested in connection with the murder of two catholic priests and 17 parishioners at St. Ignatius Quasi Parish, Ukpor-  Mbalom community in Gwer-East local government area of the state? Were they Fulani herders? Why is Ortom silent over this incident?

The suspects were charged to a magistrate court in Makurdi.  Nobody has heard about the case anymore. Gov. Ortom himself does not talk about it. The principal suspect, Aliyu Tashaku, the former leader of Ortom’s Livestock Guards is a free man now and we cannot determine whether the courts discharged and acquitted him together with the other suspects.  There is obviously something which Ortom is trying to hide from the people by making Fulani herders his scapegoats.

Gov. Ortom is a master of doublespeak! Just yesterday, he praised President Buhari for intervening in the farmers/ herders’ crisis. Today he is vilifying the same President and accusing him of complicity in the Fulani herders and crop farmers hostilities. But  Ortom has forgotten in his narrow senses that he told Nigerians repeatedly that  President Buhari’s intervention through the  Nigerian Army’s  “Exercise  Ayem Akpatema” and “Exercise Whirl Stroke,” which is still in progress brought relief to troubled communities and quenched the conflagrations between herders and farmers.

It’s simple reasoning that if President Buhari is really sponsoring Fulani herders to unleash violence on crop farmers in Benue or anywhere else in Nigeria, he wouldn’t bother to order Military intervention.  Let leaders like Gov. Ortom begin to think with their brains; let him wear his thinking cap properly. A leader who reasons and behaves like an infantile is a curse to his generation and the people he is leading.

Whilst President Buhari is doing all within his powers to entrench durable peace between farmers and herders, the likes of Ortom have continued to fuel hatred amongst the people because they gain political benefits from the crisis they create, using Fulani herdsmen.  Fulani herders have become targets of attacks everywhere in Nigeria, particularly in Benue because the likes of Gov. Ortom have decided to light the candle of hatred and discrimination against them.

We advise Gov. Ortom to listen to the voice of his colleague-governor, Alhaji Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state. He told Gov. Ortom the gospel truth. He was very articulate and his reasons have no contradictions; it’s a voice of wisdom. If Fulani herders do not make preliminary arrangements for their protection, incensed vampires like Gov. Ortom would finish them.

Ortom has deceived Benue people and Nigerians enough. Let him concentrate on providing genuine leadership to the people who elected him. Leading people is not done by tricks. The person entrusted with the responsibility must commit his mind and soul to it. It is not propaganda; leadership is not a world of fantasy and personal enrichment as promoted by Gov. Ortom in  he almost six years of his tenancy in Government House Makurdi.

MBCG finds it incompatible that Gov. Ortom is vocal on traditional and social media platforms about the protection of his people, yet allows the same people massively die every day because of hunger and starvation. Ortom should explain why his personal businesses as symbolized by Oracle Farms Limited are performing maximally, but private businesses of other Benue people are dying or have closed up because of high taxations and other unfriendly government policies.

We want Ortom to tell Nigerians why Benue people are dying of hunger or swimming in poverty while himself and members of his family are buying every land in Benue and building personal fiefdoms. MBCG wants the world to know the insidious evil Gov. Ortom is doing to Benue people but diverts attention from it by playing the card of Fulani herders.

It’s shameful to know that more Benue persons have been killed under Gov. Ortom’s very nose due to lack of salaries and pensions than any other state in the country or even the alleged killings by herdsmen. But he hardly talks about it. He lies freely and thinks, everyone is fooled by his local antics.

We have tolerated Gov. Ortom enough and he should purge himself of the anti- Buhari or Fulani herders’ sentiments and face genuine governance or else, we shall not hesitate to begin to match him word for word, henceforth.  Its clear, Gov. Ortom cannot lead people, but we find it repulsive for him to keep using President Buhari to cover his own failures in leadership.

Thank you all and journey mercies back to your various destinations.  Happy Valentine’s day to all couples.

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Group Hails NPHCDA Over Arrival, Distribution And Administration Of Covid-19 Vaccines

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The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy (NVVAA) has commended the management of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the seamless arrival, distribution and administration of coronavirus vaccines across the nation.

The group, in a statement by its Secretary-General, Akor Oche, on Monday, said the agency has displayed a high sense of transparency and accountability so much so that Nigerians should expect the safety of the vaccines upon administration.

Following the arrival of the first batch of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines in the country, the NPHCDA began the massive roll out on Friday with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo subsequently receiving their first jabs.

By setting up a website for Nigerians to register, the NVVAA noted that the health agency eradicated all forms of encumbrances that would have marred the successful rollout of the vaccines.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy, however, called on members of the general public to extend their support to the NPHCDA by disregarding the narratives against the suitability of the vaccine for humans.

On its part, the group urged the NPHCDA not to relent in the task of ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated in the coming months.

Read the full statement below:

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy is issuing this press statement to commend the management of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) on the arrival and subsequent distribution and administration of the AstraZeneca COVID 19 Vaccine across the country.

It is indeed commendable that the NPHCDA put in motion mechanisms that ensure that all states of the federation receive their doses of the vaccine in a timely and orderly manner that remains a disconnect from the norm whereby exercises such as this are always marred by poor logistics arrangements.

The NPHCDA has by its actions in recent times displayed a high sense of transparency and accountability so much so that Nigerians should expect the safety of the vaccines upon administration.

It is thus the considered opinion of the National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy that meeting the various timelines from the arrival to the country and its subsequent rollout is indicative of the sustainable efforts of the NPHCDA towards ensuring that the vaccines are safe for humans, as well as ensuring that there is an equitable distribution across the country.

It is also commendable that the NPCHDA opened an online registration platform for Nigerians to register for vaccination. This is indeed an exemplary display of foresight by the management of the NPHCDA in the sense that it has successfully eradicated all forms of encumbrances that would have marred the successful rollout of the vaccines in Nigeria.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy calls on members of the general public to extend their support to the NPHCDA by disregarding the narratives against the suitability of the vaccine for humans.

It also states that with the level of expertise displayed by the NPHCDA, Nigerians should be assured that there shall be equitable distribution of vaccines across the country and all Nigerians regardless of their status in the society shall be vaccinated in record time subject to availability.

Nigerians are also enjoined to continue to support the efforts of the government towards ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated in the race to put COVID 19 behind us as quickly as possible.

We also encourage the leadership of the NPHCDA not to relent in the task of ensuring that all Nigerians are vaccinated as the vaccines become available in large quantities in the coming months.

The National Vanguard for Vaccine Administration and Advocacy as a critical stakeholder in the country is pledging its continuous support to the NPHCDA in ensuring that the vaccination programme is successfully implemented across the country.

The NPHCDA has indeed displayed exemplary service to Nigeria and it behoves all mischief makers to desist from spreading negative information with regards to the safety of the COVID 19 vaccines been administered in Nigeria.

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BREAKING: Fire Breaks Out In Aso Rock

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A fire outbreak has been reported at the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Abuja, causing confusion among workers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s abode, SaharaReporters reports.

It was learnt that the fire started at 4 pm as the fire service officials tried desperately to put it out.

“The security men were chasing people not to capture the incident, but I tried my best to capture it. The fire is still on,” a source disclosed around 9 pm.

Although the cause of the fire is not yet known, fire service trucks have moved in and were seen in the villa.

More details soon….

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We Won’t Allow Hijab In Kwara Mission Schools, CAN Insists

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The Christian Association of Nigeria in Kwara State has insisted that it will not allow its pupils to wear hijab, despite the Kwara State Government’s directive that Muslim female pupils in Christian mission schools should wear hijab.

The state government, last week, said it had approved wearing of hijab by Muslim female pupils in Christian mission grant-aided schools in the state.

It also said the 10 Christian mission schools closed down in the wake of the hijab crisis would be reopened on Monday, March 8.

However, the state branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria said it would not agree to the use of hijab in schools established by Christian missions, alleging that they were surprised that the government was trying to make a decision on a matter that was still before the Supreme Court.

CAN said, “The body condemns the use of hijab in Christian missions grant-aided schools as this will cause discrimination in schools and allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards.”

Two missions, Evangelical Church Winning All and the Kwara Baptist Conference, said they would not allow the wearing of hijab in their respective schools when the schools reopen on Monday.

The leadership of ECWA said it would not welcome the directive in all its schools in the state.

The Chairman, ECWA Ilorin District Church Council, Rev John Owoeye, who spoke at a press conference in Ilorin on Friday, said ECWA schools were established by Christian missionaries for purposes of reaching communities with the love of Christ and to meet educational needs of the indigenes irrespective of religious affiliations, among other reasons.

The ECWA church leaders, who demanded return of ECWA schools to them, said since 1974 when there was agreement on collaboration between the state government and the proprietor for the school to be grant-aided schools, “the policy has never been total takeover of our schools by the government.”

Owoeye, who said Christians are bona fide citizens of the state, added, “We have equal rights under the provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He argued that the government was aware that Christian Religious Knowledge teachers were not posted to Muslim grant-aided schools and that the gathering of Fellowship of Christian Students was not allowed in Muslim grant-aided schools.

“Similarly, we want the government to be informed that her decision and plan to provide hijab and enforce its use in our Christian mission grant-aided schools will not be tolerated as it is an infringement on our freedom of religion as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria,” he said.

Also, the President of Kwara Baptist Conference, Rev Victor Dada, in a separate press conference, said the mission would not allow the use of hijab in its 38 schools across the state, adding that the government was wrongly advised in taking the decision.

Dada argued that the state government took a wrong decision by its blanket approval of wearing of hijab for female pupils in mission schools.

READ ALSO: I was overwhelmed by job emails from US, UK after I carried placard –Job-seeking Delta graduate

“The state government was wrongly advised to take that decision. The state even acted in contempt of court as the case is still pending before the Supreme Court.

“We want to warn the government that the step it wants to take by approving the use of hijab for all public schools and grant-aided schools in the state will lead to an avalanche of reactions, the end of which no one can predict.

“With this move, the state government is saying the Muslims’ purported rights are superior to those of the Christians.

“What we are saying is that no one, whether the Kwara State Government or even the Federal Government, can force hijab on our children or in our schools. We shall not hesitate to use all legitimate means to protect our heritage. We will defend our faith and protect our property.”

Meanwhile, Muslim stakeholders in the state have urged the state government to stand by the rule of law in taking a final decision on the hijab issue.

In a statement signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Is-haq AbdulKarim; and Secretary, Professor Ibrahim Abikan, the Muslim Stakeholders said the state branch of CAN, which engaged the state government in a legal battle over the issue of ownership of the grant-aided schools since 2013 lost its two cases in Ilorin High Court in 2016 and the Court of Appeal in 2019.

In a related development, Chairman, Kwara State branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Olu Adewara, said the union was not part of the hijab crisis currently going on in the state.

The NUT Chairman, Adewara, told reporters, “The hijab matter is basically an issue between the government, the Muslim parents and the owners of these schools, regardless that such schools are grant-aided by the government. The NUT is not involved because this is not a matter bordering on teachers’ rights.”

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