[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety Writes Senate President & House Speaker ] - Below is a copy of Intersociety’s letter to Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki - Senate President and Hon. Yakubu Adamu Dogara - Speaker of House of Representative titled "Nationalization Of Fulani Animal (Cattle) Husbandry In Nigeria By Way Of An Act For The Establishment Of The National Grazing Reserves (Establishment & Development) Commission: Dangers, Consequences & Solutions".
(1)The Senate President (Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki)
Office of the Senate President, Red Chambers
The National Assembly Complex, Three-Arms-Zone
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
(2) The Speaker of House of Reps (Hon Yakubu Adamu Dogara)
Office of the House Speaker, Green Chambers
The National Assembly Complex, Three-Arms-Zone
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
Nationalization Of Fulani Animal (Cattle) Husbandry In Nigeria By Way Of An Act For The Establishment Of The National Grazing Reserves (Establishment & Development) Commission: Dangers, Consequences & Solutions
(Onitsha Nigeria, 26th of April 2016)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety); supported by the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs), comprising: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA), Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)(HRC), Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights (FJEDHR), Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW), Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF), Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF), International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ITERSOLIDARITY), Igbo Ekunie Initiative (pan Igbo rights advocacy group) and Intersociety, have resolved, as a matter of urgency and national importance, to write your two important legislative offices concerning the subject matter captioned and underlined above. This letter of ours also becomes necessary in view of the forthcoming public hearing at the House of Reps concerning the controversial Bill under reference.
As your two important legislative offices are aware, two Bills concerning the above subject matter, originally drawn from “the National Grazing Reserve (Establishment & Development) Bill 2008”, introduced and sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure of Niger South Senatorial District of Niger State during the 6th National Assembly; are presently before the House of Reps. The two Bills are aimed at creating grazing reserves, ranches and cattle reserves across the 36 states to be funded with public funds through the establishment of a National Grazing Reserve Commission, an agency to be placed under the direct control of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also the national patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), a cattle rearing and trading association with membership in the civil service, retired and serving top security personnel, politics and other nomadic Fulani investors of sedentary backgrounds within and outside Nigeria (including Chad and Niger Republics); who are ethnographically referred to as “sedentary Fulanis”.
One of the two grazing reserve Bills under reference was published in the official National Assembly Gazette of February 1, 2016 and the other was published in the March 16, 2016 edition of the National Assembly Journal. The two Bills contain details of the proposed law. The first Bill with number HB.16.02.388 is titled: “A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Grazing Route and Reserve Commission, to establish and control Grazing Routes and Reserves in all parts of Nigeria and other incidental matters thereto…” It is sponsored by Honourable Sunday Karimi from Kogi State while the second Bill, published on March 16, 2016 and titled: “A Bill for an Act to Establish Grazing Reserve in each State of the Federation of Nigeria to improve Agriculture yield from livestock farming and curb incessant conflicts between Cattle farmers and crop farmers in Nigeria and for Related Matters,” is marked HB.16.03.448 and sponsored by Hon Sadiq Ibrahim of Fafure/Song Federal Constituency in Adamawa State. The Bill is contained in pages 931 to 941 of the National Assembly Journal, Volume 13. The two Bills are being consolidated, having passed the Second Reading at the House of Reps (source: Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, April 20, 2016). The two Bills are mostly a replication or repetition of the first National Grazing Reserve Commission Bill of 2008, sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure. The following link contains the original National Grazing Reserve Bill of 2008 under reference: http://nass.gov.ng/document/download/147.
As your two important legislative offices are further aware, for a Bill to be passed as a law, legislatively, before presidential assent, it must have originated from either of the two chambers of the National Assembly where most of its passage works are done, after which, there will be a concurrent passage of same by the other chamber; requiring lesser legislative work. This means that irrespective of the particular chamber where the Bill under reference is presently located or rooted, the two chambers (Senate and House of Reps) must pass or reject it concurrently at the end of the day. That is to say that the controversial Bill is presently before the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the watch of your two legislative offices.
We are saddened and dismayed over the referenced subject matter and local, national and international controversies so generated. It is further alarming and shocking that at this age of Nigeria’s statehood, its legislative, judicial and executive actors still rigmarole in absurdities, primordialism and clannishness by giving attention to issues that add no meaningful values to the country’s growth and development; other than those constituting and entrenching deepened structural violence, ethno-religious divisions, politico-economic exclusion, national backwardness, mass poverty, collective and individual security threats and other man-factored unsafe conditions. In the words of late Dr. Julius Nyerere; “Nigeria has chronically chosen to be moving steadily back to the cave, when its counterparts and peers of 60s and 70s are busy finding their ways into the orbit or moon”.
Today, as shameless as Nigerian political actors are and as intellectually and socially stunted as they are, they spend the country’s lean resources going to countries like China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates either to beg for loans or to look for elusive foreign investments when their country is on fire and made risky and investment unfriendly. These actors also go in search of elusive investments and modern enslavement in the hands of some rich countries across borders. Yet back home, they plant seeds of discord and run oppressive policies and governance actions, making it perpetually impossible for the country and its teeming population to grow and develop.
What they call “budgets” has conceptually and practically nothing to do with public budgets of comparative reality, but a mere aggregation of “public office squandering sheets” by public office holders and their subordinates; for the purpose of legislative codification and stamping and at the expense of direly needed capital growth and development of the country. A public budget is budget when it is developmentally ambitious in multi-sectored directions and least borrowing oriented; with capital expenditures doubling, if not tripling recurrent or personnel and overheads costs.Till date, Nigerian “budgets” are not only irreversibly and chronically negative with potentials of not taking the country to anywhere in the next fifty years, not to talk of paring the country with the likes of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong (ASEAN), Brazil and members of the Gulf Cooperation Countries (i.e. Qatar, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Iran). In 60s and 70s, Nigeria’s GDP and GNP were at par with these countries and even far above those of some of them.
We had expected the 8th National Assembly under the legislative watch of your two important offices; to sponsor and lay before the two chambers such bills that have capacities to radically move the country and its people away from the present socio-economic, cultural(i.e. religious and ethnicity) and political doldrums and negativities. One of such important bills in our mind is a bill for diversification and decentralization of the country’s ailing power or electricity industry. For instance, the major challenge facing Nigeria’s power sector is over reliance on hydrogen and gas as its core sources of electricity and their over centralization with a myriad of bureaucratic and graft bottlenecks.
As your two important legislative offices are aware, there are (globally) hydro-powered electricity, wind-powered electricity, solar-powered electricity, biomass-powered electricity, nuclear-powered electricity, coal-powered electricity and gas-powered electricity, among other sources. As a lasting solution to the country’s age-long power epilepsy, coal mineral found in industrial quantity in the Southeast, if reactivated and mechanized; has the capacity of effectively powering the Southeast Region. In the South-South Region, gas energy, if properly harnessed and funded (PPP); can effectively power the Region electrically. Solar and wind derived energy can take care of the Southwest, if properly developed via PPP. In the North and its three sub regions, hydro source or water dams can be industrially deployed through the expansion of existing dams and creation of new ones. Gaddafi’s Libya, for instance, is still noted internationally for constructing “the 8th Wonder of the World” (digging of industrial and artificial river or dam from deserts) for the purpose of addressing the age-long “water wars” with its neighbors (i.e. Egypt, Chad and Sudan). The development and passage of this type of public interest bill will be accompanied with attraction of core and external investors under PPP arrangements.
Another area that requires such public interest bill is intra and inter-communal and religious violence and victimization in Nigeria. There is urgent need to create “intra and inter communal and religious crimes or offenses and victims commission”; with designation of criminal court sections within the country’s existing judicial system to prosecute the offenders and award compensations to the victims. Other areas of extreme public and legislative importance are the age-long geo-political imbalance (i.e. State & LGA lopsidedness per geopolitical zone), geo-legislative imbalance, non-justiciablity of chapter two of the Constitution, threats to the secularity of Nigeria, criminal justice and crime victim welfare reforms, non domestication of numerous international rights and humanitarian treaties ratified by Nigeria, etc.
Rather than dwelling and dissipating energies, with tax payers’ wealth of Nigerians over genocide friendly and useless efforts like Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry Nationalization Bill (2016), the 8th National Assembly of Nigeria should concern itself with such critical areas that have made it very difficult for Nigeria to develop and grow with capacities to compete with its peers of 60s and 70s. The 8th National Assembly under the legislative watch of your two offices should investigate why the country’s unharnessed 33 solid mineral deposits in industrial quantities cannot be developed and mechanized.
Your two important offices should also tell Nigerians via your requisite legislative competence and capacities whether the 33 solid minerals under reference still belong to Nigerians or whether they have been couriered and cornered privately through illicit and subsistent mining and trading. What about the country’s mental or creative wealth? Have they been effectively developed and harnessed? What about cross-fertilization of scientific and technological resources with other rising economies like “Asian & Gulf Tigers” (i.e. trading what Nigeria knows and creates best to get what it lacks most)? It is a truism that Nigeria and Nigerians suffer till date on account of short-sightedness, crude individualism and intellectually daftness of its political, judicial and legislative actors. Most, if not all the country’s woes till date, are man-made; chiefly from its public office holders.
Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry Nationalization Bill: “Why is it that when the North American and European (and Asian) leaders are busy finding their countries’ ways into the moon; African leaders are busy taking their peoples back to the cave?” (Late Dr. Julius Nyerere:1994). A lot has been said and written concerning the bill above. We hold that the bill is not only controversial but also highly divisive, primordial, incoherent, unconstitutional, un-secular, ethno-religiously blood-soaking, structurally violent and unquenchably genocidal if passed and enforced as a law in Nigeria.
Originally and legislatively referred to as “An Act To Provide For The Establishment Of The National Grazing Reserve (Establishment & Development) Commission For The Preservation & Control Of National Grazing Reserves & Stock Routes& Other Matters Connected Therewith 2008 (now 2016)”; the bill expressly provides for nationalization or State funding, control, preservation and protection of the Fulani Animal (Cattle) Husbandry in Nigeria; a purely private affair run by a group of individuals known as the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), a cattle rearing and trading association with membership in the civil service, retired and serving top security personnel, politics and other nomadic Fulani investors of sedentary backgrounds within and outside Nigeria (including Chad and Niger Republics); who are ethnographically referred to as “sedentary Fulanis”.
Those recruited and employed as their cattle herders are called “pastoral Fulanis”; drawn from the Fulani and Hausa poorest/lowest/youth class. The activities of the latter and their well trained and armed military wing; fully backed by the former with their government links; have undermined and continue to undermine the national security and corporate existence and well-being of Nigeria, leading to massacre of at least 1000-2000 innocent lives every year. The latest of such butcheries by the Fulani Janjaweed was the killing of at least 40 defenseless natives of Ukpabi-Nimbo Community in Uzo Uwani LGA of Enugu State in the early hours of Monday, 25th of April 2016 (Sources: This Day & Vanguard Newspapers, 26th of April 2016). Over sixty others sustained various degrees of injury and more communities in the State including Umuchigbo are currently under the siege of the Fulani Janjaweed. In all these, the reactions of the country’s security chiefs including the Inspector General of Police and local army and police chiefs have remained complicit and omission to act. They deliberately refuse to act to stop or de-escalate the massacre, but embark on “casualty and property destruction assessment” tours or visits, well after the butchers have struck and concluded their murderous missions.
According to Comrade James Pam; a leading critic of the Bill, “the Bill has successfully scaled through the second reading in the House of Representatives and all that is left in the legislative process to make it a law is the Third Reading, that is, a clause by clause debate, voting (concurrent passage by the Senate) and then assent by the President. The Bill deserves very close scrutiny by all Nigerians and the international community should also be interested in this Bill because of the magnitude of the internal crises that the Bill could create with attendant spill-over effects if passed.
As explained below, the proposed piece of legislation is full of unconstitutionalities, ethnic discriminations, fundamental human rights violations, religious tenets violations, conspicuous criminal omissions and unforgiveable legislative indiscretions. The Bill should therefore be killed immediately and not presented for the last reading” (Comrade James Pam: April 2016; an activist for the protection of the ethnic minorities of the Jos Plateau. He also runs a blog called Jos Plateau Affairs).
According to Comrade James Pam in his well researched piece on the foregoing, the Bill is a proxy bill (executive engineered) originally introduced or sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure from Niger South Senatorial District of Niger State, who had earlier in 2008 during the 6th National Assembly introduced or sponsored the same Bill. Senator Zainab Kure is the current Senate Committee Chairman on Marine Transport. Following the emergence of Gen Muhammadu Buhari (a core partaker in the Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry in Nigeria), as sixth elected President of Nigeria in late May 2015; the Bill was dusted up and resurrected in the House of Reps reportedly by the Presidency using the duo of Hon Sunday Karimi and Hon Sadiq Ibrahim representing their federal constituencies in Kogi and Adamawa States respectively.
The Comrade James Pam’s informed piece further noted that the Bill’s concluding Explanatory Memorandum says that the Bill seeks to provide for, among other things, the establishment of the National Grazing Reserves Commission of Nigeria, for the preservation and control of national grazing reserves and stock routes in the country. He highlighted the Bill’s key provisions and high points to include the following:
1. To establish a National Grazing Reserve Commission (NGRC), a body corporate.
2. The NGRC may acquire, hold, lease or dispose of any property, moveable or immoveable for the purpose of carrying out its function.
3. The NGRC shall have a governing Council headed by a Chairman appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate with members representing the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Resources, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Housing and Urban Development, the National Commission for Nomadic Education and shall also have a Director General.
4. To raise monies by way of grants, loans, borrowing, subsidies and donations.
5. The following lands may be subject to the provisions of the Act to be constituted as National Grazing Reserves and Stock Routes:
(a) Lands at the disposal of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
(b) Any lands in respect of which it appears to the Commission that grazing in such land should be practiced.
(c) Any land acquired by the Commission through purchase, assignment, gift or otherwise howsoever.
- State Governments shall be given notice first before land acquisition and gazetting.
- The Commission shall pay compensation to persons affected by any land acquisition.
- There shall be no improvements, encroachment, bush burning, hunting, use of chemicals and felling of trees by anyone inside lands acquired and demarcated as National Grazing Reserves or Stock Routes.
- Contravention of any of the provisions in (8) above shall be punishable by a fine of N50,000 or 5 years imprisonment or both.
- No Court of law shall carry out execution of its judgment or attachment of court process issued against the Commission in any action or suit without obtaining the prior consent of the Attorney General of the Federation.
- For the time being, the Commission shall report to the Honorable Minster for Agriculture and Water Resources.
- Native communities referred to in the Bill shall be any group of persons occupying any lands in accordance with, and subject to native law and custom.
- Stock Routes shall mean tertiary or secondary or inter-state stock routes linking two or more States together or leading from grazing reserve to grazing reserve.
- When passed into law, the Act shall be cited as The National Grazing Reserve Commission (Establishment and Development) Bill 2016.
Apart from the above 14-point executive, judicial and legislative protective measures and incentives inherent in the Bill, it is further stated in the Bill that additional incentives and facilities such as functional Earth Dams, Water Points, Dairy Processing Centers, Schools, functional Barns and Livestock Service Centers, etc shall be provided in each of the acquired or possessed Grazing Reserves in Nigeria by the Federal Government through public funds, grants or borrowings. In other words, the Federal Government of Nigeria plans to fund these through the oil wealth of the South-south and the Southeast Nigeria, which constitute 90% of the country’s annual earnings as well as income, import, company, VAT and indirect taxes or non-oil earnings of the Federal Government, concentrated in the Southern Nigeria and a part of the North-central Nigeria. The proposed establishment of the National Grazing Commission is for the purpose of enforcing Grazing Reserve Laws for overall protection of the Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry in Nigeria as well as perceived protection by State of the atrocities of the Fulani armed wing or Fulani Janjaweed.
Dangers & Consequences: The Bill is not only politically motivated and ill-conceived, but also ethno-religiously antagonistic and war drumming. It is mischievously cloaked in the layers of “animal husbandry”, but with Islamist conquest intents. Our in-depth research clearly shows that the Bill has no reason whatsoever to be introduced or sponsored at the first place. Firstly, Federal Government of Nigeria has no business doing with Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry in Nigeria, except regulating the conducts of its owners and herders and the business of animal husbandry itself to ensure that they do not undermine the country’s physical, personal, communal, health, food, environmental and economic security. Secondly, to forcefully deprive peoples, citizens and communities of their ancestral lands all in the name of “Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry or Grazing Reserves”, is a total declaration of war by Federal Government against the people of Nigeria. Other social dangers and consequences include abduction and raping of married and unmarried women as well as under-age girls of the host communities by the Fulani Janjaweed and cattle herders; abduction and forceful conversion to Islam of defenseless citizens and vulnerable population; guest-host hostilities, hostile neighborhood relationships, frequent guest-host communal violence and incessancy of guest-rooted sundry criminalities (crimes against persons and properties).
Thirdly, by making the Bill a country-wide and compulsory affair, it clearly means that the Federal Government has been hijacked by some ethno-religious radicals and brigandage activists. We say this because out of the country’s 923,000 plus square kilometers of landmass, 70% is located in the Northern part. Also Niger and Chad Republics where the Fulanis and their cattle herders dwell, too; each of the two countries has over one million square kilometers of landmass. Where, for instance, will highly urbanized Lagos with a small landmass of 4,211 square kilometers get acres of land to give out for the so called “National Nomadic Grazing Reserves”? Where will Anambra State with high level of urbanization and a small landmass of 4,611 square kilometers get acres of land for such useless national project; likewise Bayelsa and Ebonyi States?
Fourthly and most importantly, the Bill is totally lopsided and negative justice oriented. The issue of Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry in Nigeria cannot be addressed leaving out the age-long hostilities and violence directed at the rural farmers of Southern Nigeria and old Middle Belt; who have been at the receiving end of the age-long atrocities of the Fulani Cattle herders, their armed wing and sponsors. The farmers of Nigeria’s rain forests, who are mainly Christians, have been killed in their thousands by the Fulani Janjaweed in recent times with the Federal Government keeping sealed lips till date. If Federal Government plans to mechanize, protect, secure and preserve the Fulani Animal Husbandry in Nigeria, leaving behind the Root Crops Farmers of the Rain Forests, made up of farmers of the South-south, Southwest, Southeast and the old Middle Belt of Nigeria, who are the victims of the age-long hostilities of the Fulani herders; then the Government is lending credence to one-way traffic justice, which is a recipe for genocide and unquenchable ethno-religious violence.
If the Fulani Animal Husbandry is being given Federal Government attention, for “mechanization”, “securitization”, “protection” and “preservation” purposes; then the same should simultaneously be extended to the Root Crops Farmers of Southern and old Middle Belt Nigeria. They need such incentives more than the Fulani herders. The root crops farmers of the rain forests are the traditional growers and harvesters of root crops like yam and its species, cocoyam and its species, cassava, banana, cashew, cocoa, palm nuts and oil, pears, maize, rubber, bread fruit, oil bean, udala fruits, mangoes, etc. Most of these root crops cannot traditionally be grown and harvested in the core north. Till date, they are still grown and harvested traditionally in the rain forests areas of Nigeria, with little or no government mechanized incentives to grow and harvest them in commercial or industrial quantities.
By the way, why has the Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry remained subsistent, unscientific, un-industrialized and un-mechanized warranting their use, till date, of crude pasturing and grazing methods with their attendant unsolicited antagonism and violence against their host communities? Why must Federal Government lend extended support to such crude and hostile pasturing and grazing methods by way of seeking for the expansion and codification of National Grazing Reserves across the country? Why won’t Federal Government hands off and restrict the Fulani Animal Husbandry to the North where large expanse of lands abounds? Why should the Fulani Animal Husbandry not be handled privately or regionally by the governors of core northern States, who may provide it with scientific, technological and mechanized incentives such as Earth Dams, Water Points, Dairy Processing Centers, Schools, functional Barns, Livestock Service Centers, electricity, etc? Why making it a mandatory country-wide affair with tax payers funds of all Nigerians and southern oil wealth?
Solutions: We are of the firm view that two key solutions abound in resolving the controversies and national security threats associated with the Bill under discussion. In addition to the solutions under recommendation, the introducers of the controversial Bill and its variants: Senator Zainab Kure, Hon Sunday Karimi and Hon Sadiq Ibrahim should be suspended from the Senate and House of Reps for introducing a Bill with capacity not only to undermine national security, but also to plunge the entire country into anarchy, chaos and widespread bloodshed. As matter of fact, they should be recalled by their constituents and constituencies. In our main solutions under recommendation, there are two-justice solutions: negative justice solution and positive justice solution. While the former is zero-sum oriented, the latter is win-win or problem solving oriented. We preferentially recommend the latter (positive justice solution).
Negative Justice Solution: It is a truism that passing into law the Nationalization of Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry or National Grazing Reserves Commission Bill, leaving behind the Root Crops Farmers of the Nigerian Rain Forests, who are victims of age-long hostilities and violence of the Fulani herders; is not only unacceptable and a recipe for anarchy; but also a fundamental injustice and gross affront to the sacred doctrine of audi altarem partem (always hear the other side). It is therefore our recommendation that there shall be introduced immediately and concurrently too; under the prompt legislative directive of your two offices, of a fresh Bill for “An Act to Establish the National Root Crops Farming Reserves & Protection Commission 2016”, with replication of all the features contained in the National Grazing Reserve (Establishment& Development) Commission for the Preservation & Control of National Grazing Reserves & Stock Routes & Other Matters Connected Therewith 2016 including making the Bill under recommendation a country-wide affair with provision of all the incentives contained in the Grazing Reserve Bill including mechanized agro technologies, security and protection. The two Bills must be passed concurrently or be rejected concurrently.
Alternatively, the present National Grazing Reserve Bill can be expanded for the purpose of integrating or incorporating the Root Crops Farming Reserve and Protection segment. This may be cited as “the National Cattle Grazing & Root Crops Farming Reserves Commission Bill 2016”; a sort of two-in-one Bill; providing for 50-50 Federal Government nationalization and provision of industrial or mechanized incentives, legal and executive frameworks for the Fulani Cattle herders and the Root Crops Farmers of the Rain Forests concurrently. For instance, if Federal Government possesses or acquires two acres of land for National Grazing Reserve in Zamfara State, two acres of land will concurrently and at the same time be possessed or acquired for the National Root Crops Farming Reserve. Such must be applied uniformly in all the States in the South-south, Southeast, Southwest, North-central, Northeast and Northwest geopolitical regions of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); in other words, a quota system methodology. The same set of rules, industrial incentives, policies, public funding or budgetary allocations, permissible socio-cultural practices and security measures should be applied evenly to the two Farming and Grazing Reserves in all parts of the country; whether they are created by one or two set of Bills.
Also if Fulani Herders are allowed to carry arms “in self defense”, the Root Crops Farmers of the Rain Forests must also be allowed to carry theirs “in self defense”. If the arms are for “offensive purposes” and the Federal Government allows and condones such on the part of the Fulani Cattle Herders and their armed wing; then the Federal Government does not have moral authority to block and query any retaliatory measures of the attacked party (i.e. root crops farmers) until it effectively curbs the atrocities of the former and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Socio-culturally speaking, if the Fulani Cattle Herders and Owners are allowed to build Mosques and install emirs or sarki in the National Grazing Reserves across the country, the Root Crops Farmers of the Rain Forests must be allowed, too, to build churches or other places of worship and install their trado-religious heads. If Fulani Herders are empowered to vote or be voted for or allocated with demographic constituencies in their host communities where the Grazing Reserves are located, the Root Crops Farmers of the Rain Forests must inexcusably be treated in a like manner and concurrently too. The recommendation above can best be described as “power balance solution” with its mutual deterrence effects. This informs the title of “negative justice solution”, given above.
Positive Justice Solution: On the other hand, it is our strong recommendation in the context of Positive Justice Solution that the Bill and its variants should be torn to shreds and trashed into the dustbin of your two legislative houses to be dusted or resurrected no more. The sponsors of the Bill should be severely punished as well. We further recommend for total and perpetual banning of the north to south movement of herds of Fulani Cattle and their herders; other than their trading. The exercise should also be totally restricted to core northern States, Niger and Chad Republics.
It is about time age-long crude methods of animal husbandry got upgraded and mechanized. The north to south crude grazing and pasturing movements should be banned and prohibited particularly in the Southern parts and the old Middle Belt. The Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry must go scientific and embrace modern “sedentary and industrial” grazing and pasturing methods. Members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria should also introduce far reaching innovations into their animal grazing and trading by expanding the business to attract core investors with industrial capital capacities to industrialize the venture. They can also partner with the governments of the core northern States and investment moguls like Dangote, Dantata, etc.
Rather than seeking to create a law of “national bloodshed and dismemberment of Nigeria through butcheries and anarchy”, the 8th National Assembly under the legislative watch of your two important offices should channel their efforts at strengthening legislatively the existing criminal justice laws for the purpose of curbing the rising cases of the hostilities and atrocities of the Fulani Janjaweed, hiding under the pretext of cattle rearing to perpetuate and perpetrate crimes against humanity against thousands of unarmed and innocent citizens of Nigeria particularly the rural Christian farmers of the Rain Forests Region. To be addressed legislatively, too, is high incidence of intra and inter communal and religious violence as well as ceaseless political killings and assassinations in Nigeria.
It is our hope that this controversial issue of Grazing Reserve Bill will be dealt a decisive blow by your two important offices as a matter of extreme urgency, otherwise we shall be left with no other option than to agree with some popular social quarters within and outside Nigeria that “the Nationalization of the Fulani Animal (cattle) Husbandry or National Grazing Right and Route Reserve Bill of 2016”, is an Islamic conquest policy by other means”.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu
Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN
*Photo Caption - As seen
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety’s Writes INEC Chair ] - Below is a copy of Intersociety’s letter to Prof Mahmud Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) titled “Non-Conduct Of Outstanding Legislative Reruns In Imo, Anambra & Rivers States Is An Invitation To Anarchy”.
The Chairman (Prof Mahmud Yakubu)
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
INEC National Headquarters
Plot 436 Zambezi Crescent, Maitama District
FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Non-Conduct Of Outstanding Legislative Reruns In Imo, Anambra & Rivers States Is An Invitation To Anarchy
(Onitsha Nigeria, 20th of April 2016)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties& the Rule of Law (Intersociety); supported by the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs), comprising: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA), Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)(HRC), Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights (FJEDHR), Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW), Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF), Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF), International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ITERSOLIDARITY), Igbo Ekunie Initiative (pan Igbo rights advocacy group) and Intersociety, write your electoral Commission concerning the issue captioned and underlined above.
It is recalled Sir, that Nigeria had on 28th of March 2015 held federal legislative election into the country’s existing 469 federal legislative seats; made up of 109 senatorial seats and 360 federal house of reps seats. By the country’s 1999 Constitution and its Electoral Act of 2010, judicial enquiries into any dispute associated with the outcome of any legislative poll so conducted, must end in eight months or within eight months; starting from 21 days after the official announcement of the results. The available laws further provide for conduct of a post election rerun or related others in 90 days or within 90 days, on account of nullification of the original poll and ordering of new one by a court of last instance (i.e. Court of Appeal). That is to say those legal disputes associated with the conduct of polls into the country’s 469 federal legislative seats on 28th of March 2015, mandatorily commenced in April 2015 and mandatorily concluded in December 2015 (six months of procedural proceedings plus two months of appellate proceedings), while the appellate court ordered reruns or related others; must be commenced and concluded in March 2016. These laws and judicial orders have been observed in gross breach by your electoral Commission till date.
It, therefore, saddens our heart that over 12 months after the country’s federal legislative poll was conducted, a number of outstanding reruns abound. Presently at the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, five Senatorial Districts with combined electoral population of 10million to 15million have been denied quality and deliberative legislative representation since December 2015. Similar sad fate has befallen other vacant House of Reps seats particularly those in Rivers State. All the five vacant Senatorial District seats and those of the House of Reps in Rivers State are in the realm of “primus inter pares” or first among equals; considering their strategic importance to national cohesion, unity and development. As important as Rivers State is to the country’s national wealth and politics, yet it does not have serving Senators till date; likewise Anambra State and its Central Senatorial District and Imo State and its North or Okigwe Senatorial District. There are no legal, administrative or political excuses that can impeach the right of the people of the areas to enjoy quality and deliberative representation at the National Assembly of Nigeria. The right of a people to vote is sacrosanct, constitutional and justiciable.
Sir, as Your Commission is aware, there is still outstanding Senatorial rerun for the Imo North (Okigwe) Senatorial District.Your Commission (INEC) was mandated by the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division to conduct a rerun election into the seat nullified by the Court on 11th of December 2015. The Court, in addition to nullification of the election of Senator Athan Nneji Achonu as Senator for the Senatorial District; further ordered Your Commission to conduct a rerun into the vacant seat in 90 days or within 90 days, which expired on 11th of March 2016. Till date, Your Commission has observed these judicial orders in gross breach. The electoral fate of the electorates of the Imo North (Okigwe) Senatorial District has remained at crossroads following Your Commission’s adamant refusal to fix a new date for the rerun.
The Anambra Central Senatorial Rerun is also outstanding till date. The Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, had on 6th of December 2015 nullified the election of Senator Uche Ekwunifie and ordered Your Commission to conduct a Senatorial rerun into the vacant seat in 90 days or within 90 days. The 90 days court order within which Your Commission was mandated to conduct the rerun expired on 6th of March 2016. Instead of Your Commission retaining its role as a neutral third party or disinterested third party/referee; the Commission became grossly partisan; featuring as a plaintiff party in a politically motivated and ill-conceived appellate suit, questioning the grounded decision of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on 1st of March 2016, which rightly ordered the Commission to include “wrongly excluded parties and their candidates” in the Court-ordered rerun.
The Court ruling, delivered by Hon Justice Anwuli Chikere also set aside INEC’s public notice titled INEC/SEC/314’ of February 1, 2016, which excluded the plaintiff (PDP) and its would-be candidate from participating in the court-ordered fresh election for the Anambra Central Senatorial seat. It is fifty (50) days today (1st of March to 20th of April 2016) since the grounded judgment was given and its consequential order made, yet nothing has been heard of Your Commission’s politically motivated and ill-conceived appeal. Deducting fourteen days traditionally allowed for filing of appeal, thirty (30) days have further elapsed and Your Commission has not bordered about collective socio-political consequences of deprivation of people’s rights to choose their leaders and to be numerically and adequately represented legislatively. We are still at total loss as how the inclusion of relevant parties in the rerun poll as rightly ordered by the Court will harm the Commission or hamper its delivery of popular and credible poll and its outcome. It appears the Commission has allowed itself to be remote-controlled and stampeded by some malicious and riotous political actors. As if this was not enough, INEC went further to announce indefinite postponement of the Rerun just as it has done in Rivers (senatorial and house of reps) and Imo (senatorial) reruns.
In Rivers State, there are still outstanding reruns involving Rivers South-West, Rivers South-East and Rivers East Senatorial District seats as well as nine House of Reps seats. The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division had on 10th and 11th of December 2015, respectively, nullified the elections of three former Senators: Osinakachukwu Idoezu (Rivers South-West), John Olaka-Nwogo (Rivers South-East) and George Thompson Sekibo (Rivers East, sacked by same Appellate Court on 10th of December 2015) and ordered Your Commission to conduct reruns into the three seats in 90 days or within 90 days. The 90 days court order expired on 10th and 11th of March 2016. In the case of nine House of Reps seats, their elections, alongside others were nullified by the same Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on 12th of December 2015. The 90 days court order within which to conduct their reruns expired on 12th of March 2016. Till date, Rivers State, with about seven million people, has no Senatorial representation at the Senate and nine of its 13 House of Reps seats are currently vacant on account of failure and incompetence of Your Commission to conduct and conclude reruns into the vacant seats.
Sir, in case Your Commission (INEC) has forgotten, as a constitutionally established executive body of the Federation by virtue of Section 153 (1) (f) of the 1999 Constitution with fully staffed departments including legal department; INEC is not permitted by law to operate above the law or undermine the laws of the land or constitute a serious threat to Nigeria’s pluralist democracy. As a matter of fact all the policies, pronouncements and conducts of the entire 17,500 top public office holders in Nigeria include Your Commission (INEC) and your office; are expressly subject to judicial reviews and pronouncements particularly by the High Courts of the 36 States and the FCT; the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Very importantly Sir, all authorities and persons in Nigeria holding judicial, executive and legislative offices at the Federal, State and Local Government levels; by virtue of Section 13 of the 1999 Constitution are firmly directed by Sections 287 (1), 287 (2) and 287 (3) of the Constitution to conform and obey as follows: Section 287 (1): “the decisions of the Supreme Court of Nigeria are final and shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by courts with subordinate jurisdictions to that of the Supreme Court”; Section 287 (2), “the decisions of the Court of Appeal shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by courts with subordinate jurisdictions to that of the Court of Appeal”; and Section 287 (3),“the decisions of the Federal High Court, a (State and FCT) High Court and of all other courts established by this Constitution shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by other courts of law with subordinate jurisdictions to that of the Federal High Court, a (State and FCT) High Court and those other courts, respectively.”
Apart from our sadness concerning the above clear threat to Nigeria’s pluralist democracy arising from Your Commission’s highly despicable and widely condemned conducts; widely considered as a clear invitation to anarchy; we further express fears that the independence and impartiality of Your Commission are challenged and threatened by malicious political actors, traders and entities. This is further worsened by the fact that Your Commission, till date, is not properly constituted as well as failure of Your Commission to tame the scourge of political parasitism, which continues to threaten the Commission’s independence, impartiality and neutrality particularly during recruitment of substantive and ad hoc staffs and during the conduct of elections proper. Sad events trailing Your Commission’s recent turbulent and inconclusive reruns in Rivers State are a clear case in point.
As we rap up this informed letter of ours, something very important worthy of mention, surfaces and we ask as follows: How come outstanding reruns and FCT municipal polls were recently conducted and concluded by Your Commission in Osun State and Abuja (FCT), yet the Commission has adamantly refused to fix new dates and conduct reruns for those of Rivers (three senatorial and nine house of reps seats), Imo (Okigwe or Imo North senatorial seat) and Anambra (Anambra Central senatorial seat)? Is it not correct to say that Your Commission is reluctant to conduct the outstanding reruns in the affected areas for political reasons (i.e. they are perceived to be the federally opposition party strongholds likely to be won by same if conducted)? Could it have been the same if they are in the areas perceived as federally ruling party strongholds? Are there remote or immediate links between adamant refusal by Your Commission (using legal and administrative excuses) to conduct and conclude the outstanding reruns in Rivers, Imo and Anambra States; and a number of controversial executive proxy bills laying before the National Assembly waiting for majority numerical voting to be passed into law?
Specifically, do all these have to do with the highly controversial “National Fulani Nomadic Grazing Reserves Bill”? Are those outstanding reruns being delayed deliberatively to castrate anticipated opposition party and moderate ruling party’s voting strength and opposition to the highly divisive, incoherent, primordial, controversial and inter-ethno-religious provoking Bill? Is Your Commission truly independent and separated from the federally ruling and opposition parties’ grips?
Finally, we call on Your Commission to reverse itself as a matter of uttermost immediacy and extreme public importance. INEC must not only fix new dates for the outstanding reruns immediately but also apologize to all Nigerians and the electorates of the nine federal constituencies and three senatorial districts in Rivers State as well as those of Imo North and Anambra Central senatorial districts. We also demand that Your Commission must file notices of withdrawal in its politically motivated and ill-conceived appeal before the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division challenging the Federal High Court judgment baring the Commission from excluding the plaintiff and its would-be candidate in the Anambra Central Senatorial rerun.
INEC must also distance itself from any other Court matter, appeal or cross-appeal where the Commission may have filed cross appeals, main appeals or fresh cases; deemed popularly as attempts to scuttle democratic process with its anarchical consequences as well as to deny the affected electorates their inalienable rights to choose their leaders and to be adequately and numerically represented legislatively. Your Commission must, henceforth, obey all the laws of the land and submit to all judicial consequential pronouncements in Nigeria. The Commission must at all times desist from being seen or perceived publicly as partisan and ensure that it conducts an all-inclusive and participatory poll irrespective of candidates or political parties of any national, sectional or ethno-religious camp. Voters must be allowed to choose their best candidates at all times through popular and credible balloting.
To add more salt to injury, INEC this morning (21st of April 2016), hardened its position by saying that “it is not in a hurry to conduct outstanding reruns in Rivers State (and by extension, Imo and Anambra Senatorial reruns) until its conditions (security) are met” Again, whose responsibility is it to ensure security of the rerun poll and the electorates in Rivers State? Is it the people of Rivers State or INEC and federal security establishments? If Prof Mahmud Yakubu is unable and unwilling to conduct and conclude Rivers, Imo and Anambra federal legislative reruns before 20th of May 2016, we will have no other option than to stimulate public pressure to force him resign as INEC chairman. Following is the link to INEC’s statement under reference :(http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/04/no-hurry-conclude-rivers-polls-inec/).
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Mobile Line: +2347013238673
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Mobile Line: +2348180771506
Secretariat: 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge Urban City, Onitsha, Southeast Nigeria
Adopted & Supported by Following Affiliate Group-Members of Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs):
Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO)
Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA)
Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC) (HRC)
Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma(+2348037114869)
For: Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights (FJEDHR)
Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW)
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum AHRF)
Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF)
Jerry Chukwuokolo, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace& Human Rights Initiative (ITERSOLIDARITY)
Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke (+447748612933)
For: Igbo Ekunie Initiative (pan Igbo rights advocacy group)
President of Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki
Speaker of the House of Reps, Hon Adamu Yakubu Dogara
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - Assalamualykum (Brother/Sister), We the Muslims Against Terror organisation condemn the acts of killing of innocent people, farmers and others, by alleged "fulani herdsmen"in Nigeria.
We urge the Nigerian government to firmly condemn these wanton acts and declare the perpetrators terrorists and an insurgency according to the law and deal with them with the full power of the military.
We Islam (Muslims) actually teach and the Quran States clearly,"That Anyone who kills a human being- it shall be as though he has killed all of mankind, if Anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he has save the lives of all mankind." (Quran 5: 32).
We express our condolences and symphatize with the people of Benue, Enugu, Delta, Anambra etc and government of Nigeria and the Families of the Victims killed by the "fulani herdsmen".
We stand with the victims in soliderity during these difficult times.
We pray for Allah (The GOD) to expose the sponsors and the real perpetrators of these "fulani herdsmen" and they must face justice.
We pray for peace, love, and security to return to Benue, Enugu, Delta, Anambra etc in the name of Allah (The GOD) Our Lord , we pray Ameen.
We urge you to join us. From Nigeria to the world, we denounce terror!
Doctor Ahmad Amadi Jnr.
for Muslims Against Terror
*Photo Caption - A Fulani Herdsman
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - Guaranty Trust Bank plc has released its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016 to the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges.
A review of the 1Q 2016 result shows that the Bank continued to consolidate on its position as one of the most profitable and well managed financial institutions in Nigeria, recording moderate growth from its core banking activities. However, decline in trading and revaluation gains occasioned by FX paucity robbed off on the impressive performance recorded with a 4.6% decline in gross earnings to N75.39 billion (Q1, 2015: N79.02 billion), a 6.1% decline in Profit Before Tax to N30.68 billion (Q1, 2015: N32.65 billion) and 3.6% decline in Profit After Tax (PAT) to N25.61 billion (Q1 2015: N26.56 billion). The Bank also reported a post-tax ROAE of 24.19% and ROAA of 3.96% respectively. Shareholders’ funds closed at N433.41 billion (FY 2015: N413.56 billion).
The bank’s Balance Sheet remained strong with 5.2% growth in Total Assets to N2.66 trillion (FY 2015: N2.52 trillion). Loan book declined slightly by 0.7% to close at N1.36 trillion (FY 2015: N1.37 trillion). Customer’s Deposit grew by 10.3% to N1.78 trillion (FY 2015: N1.61 trillion). In line with the bank’s Risk Management strategy, the bank approached its loan growth with disciplined strategy, thus Non Performing Loans (NPL) of the bank for the period under review is still well within range at 3.51% and Net Interest Margin (NIM) for the period under review declined marginally by 9bps to 8.12% from 8.21% in Q1 2015.
Commenting on the financial results, Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc stated that “Despite a slow start in economic activity in 2016 and the extremely challenging business environment, the Bank recorded decent performance across key financial indices during the period.”. He added that “We understand that there’s a lot more work to be done, we are however prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead the 2016 financial year”.
As a financial institution with a bias for industry leadership, exceptional service delivery and innovation, Guaranty Trust Bank plc has experienced tremendous growth since its inception in Nigeria in 1990 with business outlays spanning Anglophone and Francophone countries of West Africa, East African and the United Kingdom. The Bank presently employs over 10,000 peoples in Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
Communication & External Affairs
Social Media Manager
No 26 Oroleye Crescent off Abel Oreniyi Street.
Off Salvation Road, Opebi
*Photo Caption - A GTBank branch
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - The Lagos Islanders have increased their total number of wins in the ongoing Africa Basketball League to four after recording a slim victory of 71-69 points over Libreville Izobe in their last outing on Friday 15th April at the Landmark Centre.
The Coach of the Islanders, Lateef Erinfolami-tutored side put up a resolute performance before finally seeing off Izobe as they lost the first three quarters but rallied to win the final quarter in grand style.
Izobe, who are being handled by Coach Ba Alphonso, started as the better team, winning the First Quarter 22-19 and following up with another win in the Second Quarter 14.
It was already looking like a good day in office for the Gabonese side as they won the Third Quarter 19-17.
However, Lagos Islanders turned the corner in the final quarter where they recorded a 21-10 win to thus end the game on top with 71-69 points.
Afam Muojeke was the star-man for Lagos Islanders on the night as he had a massive 26 points to his name.
Muojeke yet again proved to be the lethal weapon in the Lagos Islanders’ arsenal as he quietly routs yet another opponent in the ABL.
For now, Lagos Islanders are in the number one spot in the ABL league with 14 points after amassing four wins from six games.
The half time performance was mind blowing as dance queen, Kaffy and her crew brought down the arena with electrifying dance steps which left the crowd astonished.
The ABL is proudly supported by MTV Base, Union Bank, Wakanow, Cornerstone Insurance, Cruz Vodka, Pulse.ng ,THE BEAT 99.9FM and the Lagos State Government.
for Africa Basketball League (ABL)
*Photo Caption - Africa Basketball League (ABL) logo
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - We the Igbo Ekunie Initiative, IEI, comprising individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora; condemn in unequivocal terms the dangerous sectionalism/tribalism and consequent double standards being employed by the DSS, the Nigerian army and other security outfits in its handling of Fulani herdsmen and their terrorist attacks across the country. Of particular note is the arrest and hounding into jail of 76 persons in Agwu local government area of Enugu state by military personnel just for trying to protect themselves where the security agencies have failed from attacks, destruction of their farmlands and abduction of women in the community by Fulani Herdsmen. Indeed, it’s even more appalling that the Nigerian army resorted to denying their implication in aiding and abetting terrorist herdsmen on tribal grounds by falsely claiming the arrest of the Agwu 76 was done by fake soldiers.
We submit that the brazen parochialism of the Nigerian army which refuses to protect all citizens as constitutionally mandated but rather protects, aids and abets terrorist herdsmen is not only a fundamental breach of their constitutional responsibility but also capable of igniting an existential crisis of unfathomable consequences in an already fragile nation with ever diminishing cohesion. The army is of course not alone in this unprofessional, insensitive and combustible journey of infamy as both the DSS and the Nigerian police have by their actions and inactions proven to be part of the “axis of tribalism” that favours, aids and abets Fulani herdsmen over and above other Nigerian citizens. It is notable that whereas the DSS hurriedly issued a press release within two days of the purported abduction of 5 Fulani herdsmen in Abia state falsely alleging that IPOB was responsible for the murder of the herdsmen whom they claimed to have discovered in a shallow grave that they never presented to anyone, the same DSS has never bothered to issue a press release, nor investigate the serial mass killings, rape, maiming and burning down of whole communities across Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen. We are convinced that DSS is accusing IPOB and MASSOB of killing Fulani herdsmen to change the narrative because of Igbo Ekunie’s upcoming case against the Nigeria security services at the ICC, which ICC is currently conducting its preliminary investigations on.
We note that on the 5th of March in Agatu Benue state more than 300 people were gruesomely massacred by Fulani herdsmen who went on to burn down the whole community and render the survivors refugees, yet the DSS has to date neither investigated, issued any press release nor arrested anyone for the heinous crimes. In Agwu Enugu state, Ondo state, Abraka in Delta state, Dori and Mesuma villages in Taraba state and several other communities across Nigeria, Fulani herdsmen have continued to terrorise, rape, kidnap, massacre and burn down communities, yet again the DSS has never bothered to investigate nor issue any press releases while the police have yet to arrest any culprit to date. We thus find it strange that an organisation that goes to sleep when hundreds and even thousands are massacred across Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen can hurriedly find its voice and issue a false, irresponsible and ethnically inciting press release when 5 Fulani herdsmen are allegedly abducted. We are persuaded to believe that this is the case because the DSS, the army and other security services have become sectarian organisations that serve the Hausa Fulani alone in Nigeria.
Whereas security agencies are constitutionally required to serve all citizens and residents equally in their onerous duty to protect life and property, the incipient bastardisation of government institutions has led to the unprecedented situation where the army, DSS and police now serve the narrow tribal interests of Fulani herdsmen whom international organisations such as the United Nations and the Global terrorism index (GTI) have since classified as the 4th deadliest terrorist group in the world; possibly aligned with Al Qaeda and ISIS. The audacity, organisation, coordination and public wielding of AK47 sub-machine guns and other sophisticated assault weapons by Fulani herdsmen indicates the herdsmen are getting support and aid not only from the Nigerian government and security services but possibly also from Al Qaeda and ISIS, which portends grave danger for Nigeria, the African continent and beyond. The implication of such dangerous collusion with terrorists on ethno-religious grounds is that the federal government is working against international conventions and laws as it concerns the prevention of terrorism and the violation of human rights.
While it is regrettable that no lessons were learnt from the Nigeria-Biafra war that was occasioned principally by tribal divisions within the army, we warn that the relapse to sectionalism/tribalism by Nigerian security services is a dangerous and sure recipe for doom. Accordingly we request the creation of state police to enable each state better protect their citizens and the resignation or sack of the chief of army staff and the director general of DSS to permit a total overhaul of these critical institutions before its too late. Finally, we advice all frontline states and communities to be vigilant and to take all necessary measures to protect themselves from further attacks.
[ Masterweb Reports: SKC Ogbonnia reports ] - Section 20 of the CBN Act of 2007 clearly states that the Naira “shall be legal tender in Nigeria at their face value for the payment of any amount.” Yet this law has meant nothing to many Nigerian businesses which commonly reject the Naira in preference to the US Dollar. But these businesses are not alone. The Nigerian government is also guilty of the same charge. Perhaps this practice is not new by any stretch and far predates the current Buhari government, but an eye-witness account below exposes a specious dynamic.
Ikenga, a fellow Nigerian citizen resident in Houston, Texas, is a researcher in an international Oil & Gas project. Not long ago, the funding group voted to cite its multimillion dollar project in Africa, and Ikenga passionately lobbied for a Nigerian destination. Along with three expatriates he entered Nigeria this March to explore the project feasibility. Ikenga had arrived Nigeria with his Nigerian passport and planned to travel back into the US with his American passport since he is a dual citizen.
On departure back to the United States, he was informed by the officials of United Airlines that he might not travel because his Nigerian passport had expired a month before. Ikenga was told that such cases typically require a $200 Nigerian Visa in order to travel back to the United States of America. Yes, a Nigerian Visa to travel to USA! If you have a problem connecting the dots, please you are quite in order… Be that as it may, the manager at the United Airlines, Mrs. Sue Gongul, was kind to intervene with uncommon leadership, untangling the quagmire with candor, and finally stating that the Nigerian Visa charge is usually waived if the passenger could show any proof of having paid for Nigerian passport renewal fees anywhere.
Ikenga quickly explained that he had indeed paid the e-passport renewal fees of $106, but it was not processed before his trip due to another bizarre experience very deserving of another perplexing thesis. In any case, he was advised to authenticate the receipt at the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) office at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMA) Lagos.
Now at the NIS desk, Ikenga’s predicament seemed not to matter to Mrs. C. A. Dibi, the Comptroller of Immigration on duty at the airport on March 22, 2016. Mrs. Dibi wasted no time to insist that the $200 must be paid regardless. Having missed his flight a night before due to a heavy Lagos traffic provoked by long queues at fuel stations, Ikenga simply accepted to pay the charge—even if that could finally prompt his traveling project team to say ‘bye-bye to Nigeria’. But this piece would not have made it to the reading media if the payment or the amount was still the problem.
The emergent problem is that when Ikenga requested to make the payment with the Naira equivalent of the $200, he was told point-blank by Mrs. Dibi that the NIS—a primary agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria—does not honor the local currency for the service being rendered. In Dibi’s words, “Go and ask anywhere; we do not accept Naira for visa fees.” In other words, though Ikenga had the Nigeria’s currency to tender, a comptroller of the nation’s Immigration Service encouraged him to employ the services of the illegal “Black Market” to change the naira into dollar. Obviously dazed, Ikenga grudgingly made the payment after buying the foreign dollar at the illegal rate of N323 instead of the naira equivalent at the official rate of N198. Ikenga’s view of Nigeria since then, including any notion of attracting foreign investment to his beloved native country, is better imagined than written.
The whole scheme is pennywise pound-foolish for Nigeria and ought to stop henceforth. While plucking dollars by hook or crook from expatriates or Diaspora Nigerians may appear superficially attractive, the illicit pattern does nothing but continually weaken the local currency, since there has been an ocean of naira competing for the few dollars in the marketplace. Even worse, the pattern not only typifies endemic corruption, it also serves as an echo chamber for Nigeria’s shady image.
In attempt to shore up foreign investment, President Muhammadu Buhari has been doing a marvelous job shuttling outside Nigeria to salvage our battered image. But his tireless efforts will amount to naught if the government is seen as promoting shady schemes targeted against expatriates inside the country. Moreover, the president made the appreciation of the Naira a campaign issue. Though he is understandably still blurred by the dizzying economic blues from the immediate past regime, any hope for the International Monetary Systems to appreciate the very naira without the desired example by Nigerian government agencies is sheer wishful thinking.
SKC Ogbonnia ( Email: SKCOgbonnia@firsttexasenergy.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Nigeria naira notes.
[ Masterweb Reports: Tola Adeniyi reports ] - The National Assembly is about to pass a Bill that is set to kill whatever is left of our so-called over-centralised federal System. The Bill if passed will be the greatest rape on our democracy and the biggest insult on our collective sensitivity as a people and as a country.
“The Fulani National Grazing Reserve”, is presently before the National Assembly. The bill has successfully scaled through second reading in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. For it to become law it is to pass through the third reading.
“The bill seeks to provide for the establishment of national grazing reserves and stock routes. It is sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure.
“The Bill proposes to establish a National Grazing Reserve Commission (NGRC) for the country. The NGRC will be charged with the responsibility of using funds received from the Federal Government to forcefully acquire farmlands from Nigerians in all the 36 States of the country, develop same at government expense through the provision of bore holes, water reservoirs, etc; for the exclusive use of nomadic cattle rearers.”
The issue here is very clear. Fulani Herdsmen are cattle farmers. They could as well keep their cattle in ranches. They could devise whatever means like their counterparts in Argentina, Australia and the rest of the civilized world to do their animal husbandry. The men and boys roaming the streets, roads and bushes driving cattle are not the owners of these animals. They are just employees, labourers, attendants or whatever name they are called.
The owners of these cows like Generals Obasanjo, Nyako, Abdulsalami Abubakar and our president Buhari are big time farmers. They are businessmen. It is immoral to ask tax payers to finance the operations of these businesses. Cattle owners must provide capital through bank loans or whatever means to create their grazing lands in their localities. The cows are not owned by the Federal Government.
Just as the Federal Government is not creating farm lands for cocoa and kolanut farmers in Sokoto or Katsina, or creating farm lands for Agatu yam farmers in Enugu or Maiduguri, or creating special areas for fish farming in Zungeru, it cannot for any reason ever consider creating special lands for herdsmen for grazing. Let the herdsmen run their business without encroaching on the lands of other people. Let the cattle owners buy into the Fodder technology and other modern methods of providing feeds for their animals without roaming the streets and plundering other people’s farms.
To ever dream of this perverted Bill is to step on the toes of other Nigerians and step on sore foot, and by so doing create a dangerous precedent.
Nobody should play ethnic game here. This is not an issue directed against any ethnic nationality in Nigeria. The simple matter is to let those who trade in cattle fund their business like all other businesses, including farming, in Nigeria.
The Bill must not see the light of the day. The sponsors want to create serious problem in the polity and their design must be nipped in the bud.
The Nigeria Bar Association, the Coalition of Civil Societies, and all those who care about the continued existence of this troubled country must rise up to strongly oppose and kill this obnoxious and self serving Bill. It beats my imagination that members of the National Assembly did not see the serious danger posed by this corrosive Bill.
In a reaction to the threats posed by this obnoxious Bill, the National co-ordinator of the Oodua Peoples congress Otunba Gani Adams says:” Without any doubt, this is a very dangerous proposal for Nigeria. We all have seen how the Fulani herdsmen kill and maim members of the community where they graze their cattle without the backing of any law. I am sure that we can only imagine what their attitudes would be if the supposed grazing reserves are forcefully taken over by government and handed over to the herdsmen.
Nigeria has enough problems on her hand right now; we should not provoke new and potentially more dangerous ones.
*Photo Caption - Armed Fulani herdsman.
[ Masterweb Reports: Adekunle Olushola reports ] -Lagos is set to be treated to gastronomic delights as foremost financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, announces the first GTBank Food & Drink Weekend. Scheduled for the 1st and 2nd of May, 2016, the 2-day event is designed to showcase Nigeria’s emerging food industry as well as offer a wide variety of cuisines, such that attendees will be able to taste their way around the world.
The GTBank Food & Drink weekend will be headlined by two critically acclaimed international chefs; Marcus Samuelsson and Raphael Duntoye. Ethiopian born and Swedish raised, Marcus Samuelsson is a James Beard Award-winning chef, New York Times best-selling author, and a judge for the highly rated TV show CHOPPED. He is chef & owner of Red Rooster Harlem and Streetbird Rotisserie in New York. Nigerian born Raphael Duntoye is the chef patron and owner of Le Petite Maison in London, Dubai and Miami.
The food and drink fair, which is free to attend, will provide a platform for SMEs in the Nigerian food industry to promote their businesses by showcasing a wide variety of their products ranging from fresh organic groceries to dry foods, confectionary and pastries, ready to eat consumables, top quality crockery and wine & champagnes. The fair will also feature a series of Cooking Master Classes covering the latest culinary trends, and a diverse range of restaurants offering mouth-watering dishes, outdoor grills and thrilling entertainment.
The Cooking Master Classes will be headlined by our international chefs and accompanied by Tiyan Alile, who is the President of the Culinary Arts Practitioners Association in Nigeria and the founder of the Culinary Academy. Several other top rated chefs who will also host master classes include; Gbubemi Fregene, Ozoz Sukoh, Alex Oke, Atim Ukoh , Iquo Ukoh, Michael Elegbede and Uzo Orimalade. The chefs will demonstrate before a live audience how to apply modern twists to classic Nigerian cuisine as well as prepare some of the most amazing international cuisines. Attendees of the cooking classes will also be treated to savoury food and wine tastings as well as enthralling celebrity chef face-offs including one by popular mother and daughter chefs, Iquo and Atim Ukoh. There will also be a dedicated play area for children and Chef Uzo Orimalade will host the “I can bake” MasterClass series for the children.
Commenting on the GTBank Food & Drink Festival, Mr Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said; “We are incredibly excited to showcase the diverse culinary mosaic that Nigeria uniquely offers to the world as a prime destination for food enthusiasts from around the world.” He further added that, “In addition to showcasing the wide array of Nigeria’s culinary community as well as the richness of Africa’s cuisine, this fair reinforces our commitment to supporting small businesses and promoting our rich heritage.
GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The GTBank brand is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation.
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*Photo Caption - A GTBank branch
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - Announcements of death, either ceremonial and unceremoniously are gaining ground in Nigeria as people are using such instances to gain fame, dehumanizing enemies. Social media is widely used in propelling such incidentals because of its easy, free, unchecked, mostly unverifiable as the scenarios arise, meanwhile, when posted goes viral in nano seconds comparable to the speed of light.
Most respected African culture, tradition and dignity to humanity are gradually fading out with more of these circumstances gaining grounds, yet ignored and left unchecked by relevant authorities. By now, it's thoughtful to address this thoroughly like from yesterday.
It is decided to bring to our immediate attention how such “End of Life" is processed in organized societies and believed to be putative by our able men, women and children. Otherwise, we remain a laughing stock in the eyes of the world, as such learning nothing, making nonsense of our generation and race.
Danmasanin Kano should not have been drawn into false drama, while enjoying his lovely life; performing humanitarian services across the length and breadth of Nigerian, repeatedly echoing, Martin Luther King statement “I have a dream that someday Nigeria is going to be a better place”
As a people and nation with majority of blacks, renowned and educated in the universe, our rethink of death proclamations must include, Dr. David Levine’s guidance of Death Confirmation as is the situation with “Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Sule” are enumerated hereunder:
Before Death Confirmation: Indicate you would check the resuscitation status of the patient before doing anything else:
• If the patient is not for resuscitation, continue to confirm the death.
• If there is uncertainty as to the resuscitation status, CPR should be commenced whilst this is clarified.
• Ask the ward staff about the circumstances surrounding the death and document this.
• Ask for the patient’s notes:
• Confirm the resuscitation status of the patient
• Read the patient’s notes for some background on the patient
If family or friends are present:
• Introduce yourself
• Offer your condolences
• Explain the need to confirm the death
• Offer the family the opportunity to wait outside – respect their preference
1) Wash hands
2) Confirm the identity of the patient – check the wrist band
3) General inspection – skin colour / any obvious signs of life
4) Look for signs of respiratory effort
5) Does the patient respond to verbal stimuli? – “Hello Mr. Wazobia, can you hear me?”
6) Does the patient respond to pain? – press on fingernail / trapezius squeeze
7) Assess pupils using pen torch – After death they become fixed and dilated
8) Feel for a central pulse – carotid artery
• Listen for heart sounds for at least 1 minute
• Listen for respiratory sounds for at least 3 minutes
1) Assess for a pacemaker – not essential, but good practice, as this will need to be checked prior to cremation.
2) Wash hands & exit the room – ensuring the door is closed and curtains are drawn.
• Once you have completed the above, document your assessment clearly.
• Ensure you adhere to hospital documentation guidelines – date / time / your name & grade
• Document each of the examination steps you performed & the result of each step.
• Finally, documents that you are confirming the death and the time at which you did so.
• Sign and print your full name, grade, registration number and contact number.
To complete death confirmation
Inform nursing staff that you have confirmed the death:
• They will then inform next of kin, if not already present.
• They will also contact the porters to arrange transfer of the body to the morgue.
Consider if this death needs referral to the coroner, as if this is the case a death certificate cannot be issued – this will require discussion with the consultant responsible for the patient.
All these may not be obvious with our etiquettes but should serve as headway to the beginning of death proclamations in Nigeria. Hence, it's not in any wealthy for any living being to hear him or herself out with death accolades, at the highest instance of ignorance in a dynamic society.
This proclamation is hereby upturned, as a result of records, evidential proof of life and living, not limited to personal confirmation with Alhaji Ashir Sheriff, Engr. Abdulrahaman Ahmed, Minister Solomon Dalung; all close allies to Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Sule, Danmasanin Kano.
This legend deserves apologies from purported headlines, hence deserves our collective prayers; Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Sule, Danmasanin Kano to deliver his dream “I have a dream that someday Nigeria is going to be a better place for all.”
*Photo Caption - A coffin (casket)