Thursday, 18 January 2018
Senate turns heat on Buhari over killings by herdsmen
• Suspends sittings for security summit • Ohanaeze, Afenifere visit Benue Governor Ortom
•’Some herders are Boko Haram members’ • Cattlemen get ‘24-hour ultimatum to quit S’ East’
The Senate, yesterday, delivered a damning indictment on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, stopping short of calling for the incumbent’s resignation.It, however, minced no words in questioning the relevance of cabinet members and service chiefs whom it accused of failing to protect the life and property of Nigerians amid onslaught by foreign militias. They must be relieved of their duties, the chamber submitted.
The House also flayed a plot by unnamed person in the presidency to remove Senate President Bukola Saraki while the National Assembly was on Christmas break.Without a dissenting voice, the Senate resolved to suspend sitting next Wednesday and Thursday for a security summit to be presided over by Saraki.
Some 24 hours before yesterday’s reprimand, the Senate had debated the worsening state of security in the country, an indication of its growing dissatisfaction with the Federal Government’s handling of the matter.Some of the lawmakers disclosed that the armed Fulani herdsmen were members of Boko Haram who had fled the North East.
Senator Shuaibu Lau (PDP, Taraba North) raised a motion to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the activities of militia groups in his area.Senator Ben Murray Bruce (PDP, Bayelsa State) rose swiftly in support, calling on the executive arm of government to perform its function of protecting Nigerians.
“It seems to me that Nigeria is becoming a lawless country; a country with no rules and regulation, a country where laws are not adhered to, and a country where there is no consequence for bad behaviour.
“The Minister of Defence should tell us what he is doing. If the cabinet is incompetent, then we should fire them. You do not understand this. Maybe cameras should go and see these dead bodies. Maybe the National Broadcasting Commission should change its laws and go and see these bodies. It is as if we are in Liberia or Cameroun. The executive should speak and explain to Nigerians what is happening in this country.”
Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central) said armed foreign militia groups now control his state, administering justice in the place of emirs and traditional rulers.“In my town, they are the ones that judge between people. The people no longer go to the local authorities. They do not go to the police. If there is a problem, they go to the bush and tell these people, ‘I have a problem with somebody’. This is a national emergency. In all the local governments, this is the truth of the matter.”
Senate Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba South) called on the Federal Government to checkmate the menace of the killer herdsmen.
“When we were on holiday, so many people were going behind to try and remove the Senate President. A minister was spearheading this thing. What is the reason? They said the Senate President would leave APC and they should create problems for him. What kind of country is this?” asked Senator Isah Hamma Misau (APC, Bauchi Central).
Meanwhile, leaders of South-South Forum under the aegis of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere and Middle Belt Forum, yesterday, paid a condolence visit to Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom.Head of the Middle Belt Forum, Alhaji Bala Takaya, commended the governor for establishing the anti-open grazing law and urged states in the federation to emulate same. “We are solidly behind you and ask you to be steadfast,” he said.
President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, and Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, both stressed the need for restructuring of the nation, with Nwodo chiding Buhari for not visiting Benue following the recent killings of over 73 persons.
Responding, Ortom appreciated the gesture and expressed his faith in the unity of the country. He added: “We must protect the interest of all and no one should be a sacred cow.”This came as Igbo youths yesterday issued a 24-hour notice to Fulani herdsmen to vacate the South East or face wrath.
“Any of them found anywhere around the South East by midnight today will taste the bitter wrath of Igbo youths,” declared a statement by the President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Secretary General, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, and National Publicity Secretary, Obinna Adibe.
The group said: “A gang of armed militia is masquerading as Fulani herdsmen to kill our people with the sole aim of reducing the Igbo population and establishing their kingdom in the South.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council worldwide has banned and proscribed the outlawed Fulani herdsmen from Igbo land, especially in the 95 local government areas of the South East.”The Council, however, urged “youths not to take laws into their hands”, stressing it “wants the Federal Government to declare them (herdsmen) a terrorist group.”
It commended Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, and his Anambra counterpart, Willie Obiano, “for rejecting cattle colonies” in their states, and expressed optimism that other governors would follow suit.