…We received letter of attack on Taraba State – Gov. Ishaku
…Taraba Reps petition Buhari over planned attack
…Military can’t move unless directed by the C-in-C – DHQ
…Why farmers/herdsmen clashes can’t end — Gov Yari
…Umahi heads Govs C’ttee to meet Miyetti Allah
By Kingsley Omonobi, Emman Ovuakporie, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & John Mkom
ABUJA—Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State and lawmakers from the state in the House of Representatives, yesterday, raised alarm over planned attack on the state in the next 10 days.
The lawmakers have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to take action to stem the attack.
The governor dropped hint of the attack yesterday in Jalingo when the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Uche Secondus, paid him a condolence visit over the death of the member representing Takum in the State House of Assembly, Hosea Ibi.
He said the state has had its share of herdsmen attacks and killings since the beginning of the year, noting that the situation in his state was as bad as that of Benue.
He said: ‘’National chairman, it’s indeed a thing of joy for you and the National Working Committee, NWC, of our party to come and condole with us here in Taraba. Mr. Chairman, I have all the members of Taraba State House of Assembly here with me, I have informed them that you are coming for condolences and they are all here with me.
Security has deteriorated
‘’Mr. Chairman, to tell you how the Nigerian security has deteriorated, Hon. Hosea Ibi left me, just an hour later, I received a call from his colleague, Mark Useni, that Ibi was kidnapped directly opposite the 93 Battalion Ada Barrack, Takum, where he went that night to discuss with his mother and sisters.
‘’Mr. Chairman, it pains me as a governor because the first word I promised to the people of Taraba on the day I took the oath of office is ‘Give Me Peace and I Will Give You Development. And I want to ask Tarabans, have you seen the development? (The people said yes.)
‘’Mr. Chairman sir, development we have but peace is what we are battling with; I wonder those who drafted our constitution and left behind the constitution that would protect the lives and properties of our people.
‘’We copied our democracy from United States of America but we copied it wrongly; there, you have Marshals at the local government, you have the state police and you have the police at the federal level, and since I have been there, I have never seen the Army in any function, but here, they confine themselves at the federal level.
‘’I am a governor with a crown without a sword. How can I perform? How can I control power? If I am here with my police and I have challenge, even if it is 12 mid night, I will solve the problem but you have to rely on federal police.
‘’If you give them instructions, they will tell you until they get clearance from Abuja. Before they get their clearance from Abuja, you have lost more than 100 lives. We will be here asking both the Muslims and Christians to pray for peace because, all of a sudden peace is distorted.
‘’The best thing to do now is to look at the restructuring of our country, if we truly want to move forward. Now, the choice is ours on whether we want to build a country, otherwise, if we are not careful, one day we will be ruled by war lords.
‘’It is unfortunate that the police here don’t have the arms to defend themselves, let alone defend others. We, as opposition party, will keep talking because that is the only way we will bring an alternative to our people.
‘’Mr. Chairman, just the way you mentioned earlier that the basic responsibility of government is to protect lives and properties, you can imagine that some one went to his farm and his family is attacked and killed.
The notice for attack
‘’As I talk to you now, there is a notice from unknown persons that Taraba State I’ll be under attack in the next 10 days; we are waiting. We’re talking now so that at the end of the day, some will say we did not talk.
‘’I have said it that before now, helicopter had dropped arms and ammunition here in Taraba, let the authorities check very well before it will be too late.’’
APC has failed — PDP chairman
Earlier in his speech, Chief Secondus, said the All Progressives Congress, APC, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari had failed Nigerians and should be voted out in 2019.
Secondus said the basic responsibility of any government was to protect lives and properties which the APC had failed to do in the past two years.
He noted that since APC came to power, there had been senseless killings without justification and destruction of properties worth billions of naira across the country, while the government was not leaving up to beat the insecurity challenges.
The PDP chairman also called on the National Assembly to extend their investigation to Taraba killings the way it did with Benue.
He also urged the National Assembly to quickly conduct more investigations on the rumor that Helicopter landed in Taraba State with arms to attack the people of the state, with a view to bringing to book those behind insecurity in Nigeria.
Too many killings in Taraba — Lawmakers
Similarly, lawmakers from the state in the House of Representatives also yesterday raised alarm that Fulani herdsmen had concluded plans to attack their constituents.
Briefing journalists shortly after plenary, spokesman of the lawmakers, Isaac Danjuma Shiddi, APGA, Taraba, said: “We painfully wish to inform President Muhammadu Buhari on planned attacks on Wukari/IlIbi Local Government Area of Taraba State by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
“We have received information of their intention and if the Fulani says he is coming, definitely he will come to perfect his intentions.’’
Shiddi further said the areas had recently experienced attacks by unknown gunmen which caused needless deaths and extensive damage to the socio-economic lives of the residents.
According to him, attacks on Matar-fada, Jibu road, Ibua in Ibi local government, Tse-Ikyande in Wukari local government and Jandekyula village in Wukari local government have left scores dead and many injured.
“Others are in Gborcha where three persons were killed, Kaameh in Ibi local government where the village head was killed and Dan-wanzam also in Ibi local government where three persons were killed,” he added.
Shiddi expressed worry that the attacks and the resultant deaths have not been unearthed and the perpetrators brought to justice.
He said: “This has created serious panic and unrest in the minds of our law abiding people and is fast eroding their confidence in the capacity of government to ensure their safety and protection from further attacks.
“It is in view of the foregoing that we call on the security agencies to urgently move to prevent the imminent attacks on these communities.
“This is of utmost necessity in order to forestall needless bloodshed and destruction of properties,” he noted.
Other lawmakers present at the briefing included Rimamde Shawulu Kwewum and D.C Hosea.
It’s responsibility of security agencies — Presidency
Contacted for reaction on the issue yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Shehu Garba, said: “It’s not in our position to react to this. You should get in touch with the Minister of Defence, the Inspector General of Police or the security agencies. They are in the right position to comment on this.”
We can’t move without order from C-inC— Military
In his reaction, Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig-General John Agim, said the military was not the first line of defence.
He said: “The governor of Taraba State, if he has information of any such planned or impending attack, should get in touch with the police authorities who are in charge of internal security.
“If he feels the situation cannot be handled by the police, he should get in touch with the President and Commander- in-Chief. The military on its own cannot just move into a place without an order.
‘’The police are in charge. The military is the last line of defence. So the question as to what the military is doing to checkmate the alleged planned invasion does not arise.’’
Taraba Police Commissioner: We will Prevent Herdsmen Attack
The Commissioner of Police, Taraba State, CP David Akinremi while reacting to the alleged Planned Invasion of Taraba State said though he is in Abuja for the IGP’s Conference, the police will not fold its hands and allow such herdsmen attack in the state.
CP Akinremi said if the alarm raised by the Executive Governor is found to be true, necessary steps would be taken by the police with support of sister security agencies to prevent such.
Meanwhile, the National Economic Council, NEC, yesterday met at the Presidential Villa and appointed Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State to head a committee that will meet with the leadership of Miyetti Allah to find a lasting solution to farmers/herdsmen clashes.
This is as the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, Abdullaziz Yari, said the farmers/herdsmen clashes will linger for a long time because some criminal elements were making money from the clashes.
NEC, which has Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as the chairman, is made up of 36 state governors and some key ministries and institutions that have to do with the economy, including the Central Bank of Nigeria.
At the meeting held in Vice President’s office, the Minister of Interior, Abdulraman Danbazzau and the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who had proposed the establishment of cattle colonies in the states as well as the deputy governors of Benue and Oyo states, Benson Abuonu and Moses Adeyemo respectively, were in attendance.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the closed-door, meeting, chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Abdullaziz Yari, said the National Economic Council was worried over the constant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers and had decided to set up a committee to interface with the leadership of Miyetti Allah to find a lasting solution to the problem.
Yari, who is the governor of Zamfara State, also noted that there were criminal elements that have decided to make money from the clashes.
Umahi heads NEC committee
He said: “There is progress. One, this committee is a NEC committee established by the Vice President so that this issue of herdsmen/farmers clashes will be put to rest.
“Though it is a long standing problem since 2007 in some states, particularly in my own state, (Zamfara), we have been battling with it. Now states and Federal Government under the leadership of the Vice President, have agreed to have a small committee at NEC so that the situation will not get out of hand, so that it won’t be looked at as an ethnic or religious crisis.
“So, in our discussion today (yesterday), we have set up a committee, headed by the governor of Ebonyi State, while Plateau and Adamawa governors are members, and we are bringing some other technocrats that will visit the hot spot states as Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and Zamfara, where there is crisis so that they can interface with Miyetti Allah and other groups to see how we can reduce this to the barest minimum.
“Why we cannot say we can put this matter to rest finally is because some of them have taken this as a money making venture, some are criminals who hide under this to perpetrate this act.
“As a government, we have to take all the measures, despite the fact that the army, Police, all the security agents are on the field at the respective places, still we have to form this committee to interface with those actors so that this matter can be reduced to the barest minimum and possibly be wiped off.”
Some other governors at the meeting were Malam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Simon Lalong of Plateau State.
Recall that NEC had a forthright ago, set up a nine-member committee, headed by Vice President Osinbajo to investigate and find lasting solution to the incessant clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen.
Governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Ganduje, who briefed State House correspondents, had said the mandate of the committee included fishing out those behind the constant clashes and ensure that they face the full wrath of the law.
Ganduje had said: “On the farmers and herdsmen crisis, council constituted a working group to collaborate with the federal government in addressing the issues of impunity regarding killings and violence.
“The committee, consisting of nine governors, under the chairmanship of the Vice President, will work in accordance with commensurate commitment to ensure that all perpetrators of violence are brought to book.
“The committee consists of governors of Zamfara, Kaduna, Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Edo, Plateau, Ebonyi and Oyo States. The committee has started its meeting right after this NEC meeting.”
Seven killed as herders attack village in Kaduna
Not less than seven people have been killed by gunmen suspected be herdsmen in an attack on Kaguru village, in Chukun local government area of Kaduna State.
Several villagers are believed to have sustained injuries while several fled into the bush.
According to a resident of the area who chose to remain anonymous, the attack took place at about 7pm on Wednesday.
He said numerous armed herdsmen opened fire on the villagers and burnt their houses.
“It was around 7pm that they came, as soon as they came, they started shooting and setting houses ablaze. Many houses were set ablaze.
“Seven people were killed on the spot. We buried the dead last night. Many people ran to the bush for their lives. We are living in fear. We are appealing to government to provide security for us” he said.
Aliyu Mukhtar of the Kaduna State police command, did not respond to phone calls and text messages seeking confirmation of the attack.
54 communities sacked, taken over by foreign herdsmen– Group alleges
Fifty four communities in Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government areas of Plateau State have been sacked since the beginning of herdsmen attacks, their inhabitants displaced and the ancestral lands taken over by Fulani herdsmen, a socio-cultural group, Berom Youth Moulders Association disclosed.
The Association also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare the Fulani herdsmen as terrorist just like IPOB which has not launched attack anywhere, but was tagged as terrorist group by the Federal Government.
National President of the Association, Choji Chuwang, at a Press Conference in Jos yesterday, tasked the Federal Government to demonstrate leadership in the interest of justice by reclaiming their ancestral lands that have been forcefully taken over by the use of sophisticated weapons of war by herdsmen.
Speaking on the proposed cattle colony in the State, he stated: “This is a sensitive matter that the Federal Government should handle with tact and all seriousness. The rearing of cattle is a private and personal business which should be left in the hands of relevant stakeholders. For us as citizens of Plateau State and especially the Northern Senatorial zone, we wish to state in unequivocal terms that we do not have land for cattle colonies.”
His words: “We state in clear and unambiguous terms that the Federal Government under President Buhari should declare killer herdsmen as terrorists just like IPOB which has not even launched attack anywhere but has been tagged a terrorist group by the Federal Government.
“Our zone is also chocked up by urbanization and development, while Tin mining has already devastated large portions of the land. We would rather plead that government should demonstrate justice by reclaiming our large portions of the already diminishing lands that had been forcibly occupied by some killer herdsmen.
“This is evident in Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas. This we can affirm because the current herdsmen in those areas are not the ones that had lived among us previously. Our people have been traumatized, several killed and property destroyed to make them flee their ancestral homes which are now being occupied by the same “terrorist” herdsmen.
IGP directs police commissioners to disarm militias, vigilantes; silent on herdsmen
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has directed all state Commissioners of Police to immediately disarm militias and vigilantes in the various states they are in charge of.
This was even as he warned state governments against arming militias to protect citizens of their states, saying no law in the land empowers them to do such.