Insecurity: Nigeria in critical situation — Defence minister

Abducted students…Man, son, nephew shot dead by gunmen in Edo

…We rescued 2 victims kidnapped by herdsmen — Council boss

…MACBAN disowns attack on Gov Ortom

…Track, bring perpetrators to book — REPS MINORITY CAUCUS

…Unmask Ortom’s attackers — Akeredolu

…Governors worried about attack on Ortom — GANDUJE

…Don’t politicise attempt on my life — ORTOM

By Dayo Johnson, Regional Editor, South-West, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Peter Duru, Tordue Salem & Ochuko Akuopha

Minister of Defence, Major-General Salihi Magashi, retd, said yesterday that Nigeria is in a critical situation, considering the terrorist attacks, banditry and kidnappings the country currently faces.

Magashi spoke as three indigenes of Ezhionum community, Ukwuani Local Government Area, Delta State, were on Sunday shot dead by rampaging gunmen suspected to be herdsmen along the road to a farm reserve at Oghonobo, a village in Edo State.

The victims were a man, his son and nephew.

This came on a day the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN,  distanced itself from the assassination attempt on Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, by gunmen on Saturday.

However, the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives has called on security agencies to track and bring to justice those involved in the assassination attempt on the governor.

Speaking at a National Defence and Security Summit organised by Defence Headquarters, with the theme “Promoting Kinetic Operations as a Major Plank for Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in Nigeria,” the minister called for support from the civilian populace and other major stakeholders to facilitate operational success and mission outcomes.

‘Nigeria’s situation critical’

He said: “We are in a critical situation that requires the understanding, buy-in, support and collaboration of important stakeholders and key players in this strategic option and national task.

“This is important to minimize distractions and maximize civil support in order to facilitate operational success and mission outcomes. This summit is coming at a sobering time in the life of our dear nation.

“A time, when merchants of violence are threatening to tear the very foundations of our nation; a time when diverse manifestations of security threats dot the landscape and impact individuals, communities and almost all sub-national entities in disconcerting ways; a time when fear and uncertainty pervades the land; and a time when global indicators of national insecurity give room for serious concern.

“Physical insecurity in Nigeria unexpectedly, has both forward and backward linkages to different shades and forms of national security. Indeed, it is linked to political instability, economic under-development and social inequalities.

“Others are food insecurity and cumulative environmental degradation. These indicate the multi-dimensional nature of national insecurity.

“In view of these realities, the Federal Government of Nigeria has over the years applied a multilateral approach with our contiguous neighbours and multi-dimensional efforts domestically.

“In Southern Nigeria, the security approach include but not limited to the convening of various stakeholder dialogues in the Niger Delta; mounting of Single-Service, Joint and Special Task Forces; establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC; establishment of the Ministry of Niger Delta; declaration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for repentant Niger Delta militants; proscription of the Independent Peoples of Biafra, IPOB; and the establishment of the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre Zone E in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Man, son, nephew shot dead by gunmen

To accentuate the high-level insecurity in the nation, three persons, including a man, son and his nephew, were on Sunday shot dead by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen along the roda to a farm reserve in a village in Edo State.

The attack came a day after two farmers from Umutu community, Delta State, kidnapped by herdsmen were rescued by a vigilante team in Ukwuani Local Government Area of the state.

Vanguard gathered that the man, identified as Mr. Egba, was driving in his car with the children along the road when the herdsmen accosted and opened fire on them.

Confirming the attack yesterday, chairman of Ukwuani Local Government Area, Mr. Solomon Ajede, said: “Some of our people who are indigenes of  Ezhionum and who are resident here in Obiaruku travelled to Oghonogbo, a reserve area where they farm.

“A lot of people go there for farming but it is within Edo State. When l got the information, l called the DPO and the vigilante but before they got there, the people were already dead.

“Some policemen from the area brought the corpses to the mortuary in Obiaruku (headquarters of Ukwuani Local Government Area.)

Noting that his administration is putting  security measures in place to prevent herdsmen from encroaching on the area, Ajede said the herders had 24 hours earlier, kidnapped two farmers in the area.

“On Saturday, we got information that some herdsmen adopted two indigenes of Umutu who were going to their farm a few minutes to 7am.

“I immediately deployed the vigilante and some volunteers along the River Ethiope to go on their trail. At a point before Eku, there was a shoot-out and the herdsmen abandoned their victims who were brought back to the community.”

Contacted, Police Public Relations Officer of  Delta State command, Mr. Bright Edafe, said he was not aware of the killings.

“I don’t want to debunk it but l am not aware of it,” he said.

MACBAN disowns attack on Gov Ortom

In a similar development, the assassination attempt on Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, by gunmen in his farm on the outskirts of Makurdi on Saturday as continued to generate reactions, as Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, distanced itself from it.

The governor had alleged that MACBAN met in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, recently and came up with an agenda to eliminate him.

“I was alarmed for singling me out as the only person who is creating problem for the entire Fulani race and behind the scenes, I also heard that in the meeting, I was targeted for elimination.

“This was the information I got that they will go after me either in my home, farm or wherever they get me,” the governor had alleged in a statement after the attack.

But the Secretary-General, MACBAN, Usman Baba-Ngelzerma, said yesterday that the group is not a criminal association.

He attributed the attack to his campaign against killer herdsmen, who had been attacking farmers in the state and other parts of the country.

He said: “First, we have to condemn the attack. Then, secondly, if there was an attack, that must be a criminal activity which must be directed to the security agencies for proper investigation.

“As far as we are concerned, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association has never had meeting anywhere in Adamawa State because I read on social media that there was a meeting in Adamawa State where that arrangement was made. My association did not have any meeting in Adamawa State.

“Our association is not a criminal association, we don’t know anything about any attack anywhere. If there was an attack, let the security agencies find out who attacked him. That is the proper channel to be followed; you don’t politicise criminality. Crime is a crime by whomever. Let the security agencies fish out perpetrators of the act.”

‘Track, bring perpetrators to book’

Aso reacting to the attack on the governor yesterday, the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives called on security agencies to track and bring to justice those involved in the assassination attempt on the governor.

Leader of the caucus, Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, said in a statement that the caucus is alarmed by the brazen assassination attempt on the governor, describing it  as another daring attempt by the criminal elements to destabilize Benue State.

The legislators insisted on full-scale investigation into the unfortunate incident  to bringing the assailants and their masterminds to justice, no matter how highly-placed.

The statement read: “We are alarmed by this brazen attempt by outlaws to assassinate a democratically elected governor in our country. It is, indeed, disturbing that outlaws, bandits and terrorists have been so indulged that they now have the temerity to fire shots at, and attempt to assassinate a democratically elected governor.

“Moreover, our caucus is distressed by the disposition of certain state actors, whose actions, utterances and body language appear to embolden acts of terrorism, to the extent that criminal elements can summon the audacity to trail and attempt to assassinate a state governor.

“Furthermore, the attack on Governor Ortom has again brought to the fore apprehensions over alleged lapses in our security architecture, particularly given that the attack came on the heels of his continuous distress call on the Federal Government to take decisive steps to guarantee the security of life and property in his state.

“As representatives of the people, our caucus charges the Inspector General of Police to widen investigation into the attack, fish out and bring the attackers to book, as our nation cannot, in any way, condone such affront to our sovereignty.”

The caucus, however, commended “the security personnel attached to Governor Ortom for their gallantry in repelling the attackers, while also charging the Inspector-General of Police to beef up security and intelligence gathering around the governor at this critical time.”

Unmask Ortom’s attackers — Akeredolu

Attack on Ortom, In his reaction, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu Ondo State described the attack on the governor as an unfortunate incident.

Akeredolu, who spoke at the swearing-in of the first female Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Princess Oladunni Odu and four special advisers in Akure, said: “I must pause to condemn, in the strongest terms possible, the most recent cowardly attack on the convoy of Benue State governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom.

“I call on the security agencies to unmask the agents of darkness bent on throwing this country into a state of anarchy.

“We note that the authorities have assured the people of Benue and Nigerians alike that the perpetrators will face justice.

“May we, therefore, admonish those saddled with the responsibility of unravelling the mystery to ensure that, as it has been in other incidents, the investigation being conducted is thorough and not open-ended.

READ ALSO: Tension, as Ondo gov’s 7-day ultimatum to herders expires

“This will reassure Nigerians on the seriousness of our security agencies. This unfortunate incident underscores the importance of restructuring the security architecture in the country. We will not be tired of demanding that the right thing be done. I have spoken.”

Governors worried over attack on Ortom— Ganduje

Also reacting yesterday, Governor Abdulahi Ganduje of Kano State expressed worry over rising insecurity in the country and the recent attack on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state, describing the situation as unfortunate.

Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja, the Governor said with the appointment of new Service Chiefs, the situation would change.

Commenting on the recent repeated cases of armed attacks on people in authority, especially state governors, the Governor said it became worrisome that criminals could lay siege on governors, wondering what the fate of the ordinary citizen, who does not enjoy the sort of security protection of governors.

He said he was optimistic that the situation would get better soon with the new service chiefs, adding that President Buhari had shown seriousness in stamping out the menace.

His words: “I think it’s unfortunate, but I believe with appointment of new service chiefs, new strategy will be developed and I think Mr. President has always been serious on this issue, but is rather unfortunate.

“Not only governors being attacked, anybody who is attacked in Nigeria, one should be worried because life is life. Certainly we’re worried because a governor is supposed to have some security with him, let alone of an ordinary man who has no security.

“So you can see how serious the situation is. It’s unfortunate, but we believe will come over it.”

On his visit to Aso Rock, Governor Ganduje said the Kano State Government is constructing a world-class three-level road interchange, to be named after President Buhari, in appreciation of his commitment to Kano’s infrastructure development.

He explained that the interchange, consisting of flyover, bridge and underpass, was sited within Metropolitan Kano, because of the fast growing population of the city, a situation brought about by the insecurity in the northern regions of the country.

He said Kano had become the safest place in the north as a result of various investments of his administration into security.

He said: “All what I know as of today Kano is the most peaceful state in the federation and this is not by chance, there must be some security measures that we have taken, like full cooperation among the security agencies in Kano State.

“We introduced the command and control centre; the CCTV where we are viewing the whole Metropolitan Kano, we have the most powerful tracker vehicle, equipment in Kano.

“Falgore Forest where bandits usually inhabit, we said no, not in Kano State. We established a military training ground in Falgore Forest and therefore bandits cannot inhabit it.

“Our border with Kaduna, we have a forest and where we are establishing RUGA programme, we discussed with nomadic Fulani, they agreed to be settled there. In fact, other Fulani are even coming.

“In conjunction with Islamic Bank, we’re building dam, artificial insemination centre, veterinary clinic, school for their children and all it takes to form a settlement.”

Don’t politicize attempt on my life, Ortom pleads

On his own part, Governor Samuel Ortom, yesterday warned against politicization of last Saturday’s attempt on his life by suspected armed herdsmen at Tyo-Mu community in the outskirts of Makurdi town along Makurdi-Gboko road.

He stressed that the level of insecurity in the country is a clear indication that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gun-powder and everyone must be conscious to avert an implosion.

The governor who spoke at the end of an emergency State Security Council meeting held in Makurdi, appealed to Benue people to be calm and await the outcome of the investigation being carried out as directed by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP.

The governor who said he is still in shock, lauded the Presidency, the Inspector -General of Police, IGP, as well as the array of groups including Nigeria Govenors’ Forum, PDP Governors’ Forum, APC Governors’ Forum, National leadership of PDP and APC, the media, the traditional institution and Christians as well as all Nigerians and people of goodwill for their show of concern and solidarity since the incident.

He expressed optimism in the ability of the IGP’s team to do their job and fish out the perpetrators, adding that the State Security Council has also set up a panel to assist the state Commissioner of Police investigate the incident.

“I urge Benue people to be calm because the matter is being investigated and we hope that those behind the attack would be apprehended and prosecuted.

“I also plead with us not to politicize the incident because doing so would not be in the interest of anyone. I have nothing against anyone or any group, all I am after is fairness, justice and protection of the rights, wishes and aspirations of the people who voted me to power.

“The Benue Grazing Law is not targeted at anyone, Benue people wanted it and they are happy with it. Moreover, it has brought relative peace to our state, so why would anyone kick against it?”

Vanguard News Nigeria

The post Insecurity: Nigeria in critical situation — Defence minister appeared first on Vanguard News.


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