Monday, 24 July 2017
Items filtered by date: July 2017

The Gambian President Adama Barrow has set up a commission to look into the assets of the former leader Yahya Jammeh.

He is accused of stealing more than $50m (£38m) from the state before he fled into exile earlier this year.

The commission will investigate a number of public enterprises said to have links to Mr Jammeh.

The former president, who held power for 22 years, ran several businesses, including bakeries and farms.

Initially he refused to accept defeat in last year's election but stepped down when threatened with military intervention.

Published in Business and Economy

A crackdown on visitors with visa overstays is imminent in the United States of America with Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, China and  Colombia listed as countries with the most total overstays that do not participate in the visa waiver programme.

The Trump Administration says it has a problem with visa overstays in the country and is now determined to step up enforcement to try to cut down on the violations.

Consequently, the government is introducing a face scan for all US citizens travelling abroad.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said this is aimed mainly at better tracking visa overstays and also at tightening security.

The agency said it’s the only way to successfully expand a programme that tracks non immigrant foreigners.

A report in May showed that more than 54 million visitors checked in last year – and nearly 630,000 of them didn’t go back home.

John Wagner, the Customs deputy executive assistant commissioner in charge of the programme, confirmed in an interview that U.S. citizens departing on international flights will submit to face scans.

The number of visa overstays was about 200,000 higher than the previous 12-month period.

Libya, a country of special interest because of terrorism concerns, saw 43 percent of its students refuse to leave on time, while a staggering 75 percent of students from Eritrea broke the terms of their deal, the report said.

Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Centre for Immigration Studies, said those kinds of rates should force a rethink at the State Department, which issues visas, and should spur immigration officials to put more effort into deterring and deporting overstays in the U.S.

“The fact that more than 700,000 visits were overstayed last year shows just how much we need to step up interior enforcement to create more of a deterrent, not only by identifying and deporting overstays, but by weakening the job magnet by cracking down on employers who hire illegal workers,” she said.

Published in Headliners

Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo says  his decision to retire 93 top military officers on his assumption of office  in 1999 has gone a long way in  saving  and stabilizing  the nation’s democracy.

Obasanjo branded the move as a kind of engineering in politics, pointing out that the mass retirement was inevitable  on account of the  lavish life style of some  top military men in the corridor of power.

He spoke at his 80th birthday celebration organized by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in Abuja at the weekend.

The former president also warned people from referring to him again as Matthew, a name he said he dropped a long time ago.

He said: “If anyone does not want to see my red eyes, don’t call me Matthew again.”

He said that  moving people from one position to another could be a blessing in disguise, citing the examples of former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Barnabas Gemade .

Oyinlola was military administrator of Lagos during the Abacha regime and was one of those affected by the Obasanjo purge while Gemade lost his position as PDP chairman in a move believed to have been sanctioned by the ex-president.

Obasanjo said the development has not affected his relationship with both men because to him, Nigeria comes first in everything.

He said: “Talking about engineering in politics, when I got into office as elected president, I got 93 officers of the armed forces out of the military because they were used to what is called the chummy chummy life in government house, and if I had left them in the military they would have been the ones that would have created more problems for us and our democratic dispensation would not have lasted as it has.

“Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola was one of the 93 officers, but in everything in life there may be a silver lining. If he hadn’t been out at the time he may never have been governor. If Senator Gemade had not been kicked out as chairman he would never have become a senator, but I’m happy that I was looking for perfection and what is best for Nigeria.

“Gemade is my friend and is still a friend and will remain a friend, but when it comes to Nigeria even with the best of my friends, Nigeria will come first. And for that I have no apology and I will have no apology for that.”

Published in News & Stories

Court documents filed by the US Department of Justice in Houston have revealed that former oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, warned  her alleged business partners – Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore –against lavish spending, including splashing millions of dollars on a yacht.

“If you want to hire a yacht, you lease it for two weeks or whatever. You don’t go and sink funds into it at this time when Nigerian oil and gas sector is under all kinds of watch,” she said to Aluko in a recorded conversation.

But her warning was not heeded as Aluko went on to buy Galactica Star, a luxury yacht, for $80million.

The yacht, a stupendous luxury on water, was once rented by Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce, for close to a million dollars during a holiday last year. It also once hosted Beyonce’s 32nd birthday in 2013.

Both Aluko and Omokore are alleged to have paid bribes between 2011 and 2015 to Diezani who ensured that shell companies owned by the businessmen received billion-dollar contracts to sell Nigeria’s crude oil.

The oil swap contracts were a controversial barter arrangement which saw Nigeria use middlemen to sell crude oil in exchange for refined products. With local refineries under-performing, oil swap deals were used to shore up local demand for petroleum products.

Between 2010 and 2014, under Diezani’s watch, Nigeria was estimated to have channelled over 352 million barrels of oil worth a total of $35 billion into oil swap deals.

But with the contracts mostly opaque, Nigeria reportedly lost more than $900 million in crude oil swap deals between 2009 and 2012.

The deals came under severe scrutiny with former Central Bank Governor, now Emir Muhammadu Sanusi, describing them “not properly structured, monitored and audited.”

President Buhari cancelled the oil swap arrangement in November 2015, seven months after taking office. 

The US Justice Department (DOJ) lawsuit has provided more insight into the scale of theft of Nigeria’s oil riches under Diezani Alison-Madueke’s watch.

The civil lawsuit, brought by DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, is seeking to recover $144 million in assets, including a $50 million luxury condo apartment in New York and the $80 million yacht.

Prosecutors say both assets were proceeds from bribes paid by the two Nigerian businessmen for lucrative oil contracts. The lawsuit seeks the forfeiture of both assets.

Prosecutors claim that the businessmen, Aluko and Omokore, laundered money through the US by purchasing lavish assets.

The $50 million New York condo is at One57, located opposite Carnegie Hall in midtown Manhattan. The building currently holds the record for the most-expensive residential sale in New York following a $100.5 million apartment purchase in 2014.

Aluko’s $50 million condo is the 8th most expensive in the building, but following a loan default, his mortgage lenders are set to auction the apartment on July 19.

The yacht and penthouse are not the only items under scrutiny by the DOJ.

The government also alleges that Aluko, Omokore and others funded a lavish lifestyle for Alison-Madueke.

According to the allegations, they conspired to purchase millions of dollars in real estate in and around London for Alison-Madueke and her family members, then renovated and furnished these homes with millions of dollars in furniture, artwork and other luxury items purchased at two Houston-area furniture stores at Alison-Madueke’s direction.

According to Financial Times, the two are accused of buying a total of four residential properties in and around London worth 11.45 million, and furnishing them with furniture, artwork and other luxury items.

“In one day in May 2012, Mr. Aluko was said to have wired $461,500 and $262,091 to two furniture stores in Houston from a Swiss bank account, on behalf of Mrs. Alison-Madueke, the civic complaint filed in the court claimed.

In return, the government alleges Alison-Madueke used her influence to direct a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to award Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs) to two shell companies created by Aluko and Omokore: Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Ltd. and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd. (the Atlantic Companies).

Under the SAAs, the Atlantic Companies were required to finance the exploration and production operations of eight on-shore oil and gas blocks. In return for financing these operations, the companies expected to receive a portion of the oil and gas produced.

However, according to the complaint, the Atlantic Companies provided only a fraction of the agreed upon financing or, in some instances, failed entirely to provide it.

The companies also failed to meet other obligations under the SAAs, including the payment of $120 million entry fee.

Nevertheless, according to the allegations, the companies were permitted to lift and sell more than $1.5 billion worth of Nigerian crude oil.

The government contends the Atlantic Companies then used a series of shell companies and intermediaries to launder a portion of the total proceeds of these arrangements into and through the U.S.

Published in Business and Economy

Hull City have signed Chelsea defender Ola Aina on a season-long loan.

Full-back Aina, 20, made three substitute appearances in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup, and started two EFL Cup games last season.

He is the first major arrival at Hull since Leonid Slutsky was appointed as manager in June.

"I'm very excited to be here and it is the start of a new chapter in my career. I just want to hit the ground running," Aina told Hull's website.

Born in London and with England caps up to under-20 level, Aina has declared his allegiance to Nigeria.

He been part of three FA Youth Cup-winning sides at Stamford Bridge and twice helped them win the Uefa Youth League.

Published in Headliners
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 01:06

NIGERIA: Buhari, Osinbajo meet in London

Nigeria’s ailing president Muhammadu Buhari and the country’s acting president Yemi Osinbajo are meeting in London, the Presidency said on Tuesday.

“AgP @ProfOsinbajo meeting with President @MBuhari in London today, and returning to Abuja immediately afterwards,” the Presidency tweeted. But there was no detail on the subject of the discussion.

The president has spent most of this year in London receiving treatment for an unspecified medical condition. He left for London for a medical check-up on May 7, leaving Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to lead the country. His aides said only his doctors can determine when he can return to the country.

“The length of the President’s stay in London will be determined by the doctors. The government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the Vice President,” presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.

Adesina, however, insisted that there was “no cause for worry.”

Buhari had left earlier Nigeria on January 19 for London to “undergo routine medical check-ups” during a short holiday. He only returned on March 10 after an extended period of medical treatment.

Though he hinted at the possibility of him going back for more treatment and acknowledged that he was terribly sick, he did not disclose the true nature of his ailment.

His office released an audio message during the Eid-el-Fitr celebrations purported to be from him. The message delivered wholly in Hausa angered more than a few Nigerians who accused him of being sectional with the choice of language he conveyed his message in.

Last month, Ekiti state governor Ayodele Fayose advised Buhari to resign but his supporters rejected the suggestion.

Published in Politics

•Fishim granted bail on self-recognisance

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned judge of the National Industrial Court (NIC), Justice Agbadu Fishim, for allegedly collecting N4.65 million from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs).

The judge, who was arraigned before Justice Raliat Adebiyi of an Ikeja High Court, was however granted bail on self-recognisance.

Justice Fishim was arraigned on a 19-count charge of unlawful enrichment. 

EFCC’s prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo alleged that Justice Fishim received an aggregate of N4.65 million from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, one other Lagos-based lawyer and a law firm between 2013 and 2015.

Oyedepo claimed the money was paid into the judge’s First Bank account, numbered 3008199491.

He said the judge could not give a reasonable explanation of how the money came into his First Bank account.

Justice Fishim, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

His counsel, Prof. Amuda Kehinde, pleaded that his client be granted bail in self-recognisance.

Kehinde argued that his client is a sitting judge and would not jump bail.

He said he was served with the court papers yesterday about 5p.m and he responded immediately.

“He is a sitting judge and he has a lot to lose, if he decides to jump bail,” Kehinde said.

Oyedepo did not oppose the bail application.

He, however, asked the court to attach conditions to the bail such that the defendant would be mandated to attend trial.

Justice Adebiyi granted bail to Justice Fishim and directed him to deposit his international passport with the court registrar.

“It is the discretion of the court to grant bail to the defendant. It should be noted that the main function of bail is so that the defendant attends trial.

“The defendant is a sitting Judge of the National Industrial Court, who is facing a 19-count charge of unlawful enrichment, which is a bailable offence.

“I hereby grant the defendant bail on self-recognisance and he is also expected to deposit his international passport with the court Chief Registrar,” Justice Adebiyi ruled.

In the charge sheet, the EFCC alleged that the judge received N1.4 million from Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) between December 5, 2013 and February 26, 2015.

He was alleged to have received N1.1 million in multiples tranches from  Paul Usoro (SAN) between August 5, 2014 and March 26, 2015.

Other SANs, from whom the judge allegedly received money, were Chief Gani Adetola-Kazeem, who allegedly gave him N100,000 on February 10, 2015; and Mr. Uche Obi, who gave him N250,000 between October 17 and 20, 2013.

Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) allegedly gave the judge N500,000 on June 20, 2013; and Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), who gave him a total of N500,000 in two tranches  on June 3, 2013 and February 26, 2015.

The EFCC claimed that Justice Fishim received N250,000 from Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), in two tranches on December 12, 2014 and September 10, 2015.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Enobong Etteh, was said to have transferred N300,000 to the judge on October 27, 2014.

A law firm, Alliance Law Firm, according to the EFCC, also paid N250,000 into the judge’s account on August 21, 2015.

Justice Fishim’s trial has been adjourned till October 11, 2017.

Published in Business and Economy

Nigerian, Fawaz Olanrewaju Animasaun will spend the next two years in jail in the United States for defrauding East Texans and others out of nearly $1m.

Twenty-seven-year-old Animasaun, is one of two persons named in a federal indictment for charges of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, as well as aiding and abetting.

He was travelling to the U.S. from Ghana, by way of Amsterdam, when he was arrested at the airport in New York in November last year.

Just a few weeks later, the 7-foot-1-inch tall Nigerian was an inmate at the Gregg County Jail awaiting his turn in a federal courtroom.

Under a plea agreement finalised in May, Animasaun is serving three years in prison on the conspiracy charge. He is ordered to pay $930,737.60 in restitution to three financial companies.

Court documents show Animasaun will pay $135,989 to East Texas-based Austin Bank as part of that restitution.

In addition, the agreement states that Northern Trust Company is due $46,800 and UMB Financial Corporation is due $747,948.60.

Animasaun and his alleged accomplice Idowu Temitope Omolade, also from Nigeria, are believed to be involved in at least 21 fraudulent wire transfers between April and August of 2012.

And that may not be all.

A rare footnote made by a U.S. Attorney in the 21-page federal indictment reads, “Because the purpose of this complaint is to set forth only those facts necessary to establish probable cause to arrest, I have not described all the relevant facts and circumstances of which I am aware.”

The indictment says the purpose of the conspiracy was to “… unlawfully obtain money through unauthorised transfers of funds from bank accounts and brokerage accounts.”

To do that, the Nigerian men allegedly impersonated actual account holders in emails exchanged with banking and financial services personnel. In those email conversations, the indictment says the suspects “… harvested details about the target accounts, including account balances, and obtained wire transfer instructions.” With those details, the suspects were then able to initiate a wire transfer without the account holder’s knowledge or authorization.

The indictment said that the money was moved through a series of accounts using “money mules,” or people who may or may not have known they were assisting in the transfer.

Other financial institutions affected include Wells Fargo, UMB Bank, UMB Financial Corporation, Northern Trust and Northern Trust Corporation.

Animasaun was transferred out of the Gregg County Jail on June 28, in the custody of the U.S. Marshals. Federal Bureau of Prisons records show he is now in a detention centre in Brooklyn, New York, and will remain there until June 2019. He could have received up to 30 years in prison for each count of the indictment.

The indictment states that Animasaun kept Omolade informed of the progress, and told him when to expect specific wire transfers. Omolade is not listed as a federal inmate, and there is no record of an arrest. Aliases listed in the indictment include “Michael Chernick” and “CLICKIDONLINE.”

Animasaun is listed in the indictment with four aliases, including “Larry Hoover” and “Slim Husstle Olanraywaju.”

Published in News & Stories

 

An investigator yesterday told an Ikeja High Court in Lagos how a former Nigerian Maritime Adminstration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)  Director General and five other officials stole N754 million belonging to the agency.

Mr Chukwudi Orji of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) spoke during his testimony in the ongoing trial of ex-NIMASA Director General Patrick Akpobolokemi and six others on a 13-count charge of stealing and fraud.

Akpobolokemi’s co-defendants are: Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company — Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd.

Orji told the court: “Vimsat Committee, a committee of NIMASA, opened an account in a bank, which had only two inflows.

“On Aug. 29, 2015, N498.4 million was paid into that account by NIMASA and on May 20, 2015, N318 million was also paid into that account by NIMASA.

“This gave the account a total inflow of N816.2 million. On Sep. 29, 2015, there was a transfer of N11 million into the account of one Lakewood Garden Ventures Ltd from the Vimsat Committee account.

“The money was never used for research work as it was mandated to be. This money was part of the sharing formula of the defendants.”

Orji, explaining the role of Vincent Udoye, one of the defendants in the alleged scam, said:”On March 6, 2015 N7.8 million was transferred from Vimsat account into the another account with Diamond Bank account with number -0020802815 of the fifth defendant (Udoye).

“On June 4, 2015 he transferred N5 million from that account into another Diamond Bank account with number 006567038 which was also operated by him.

“The N5 million transferred was fixed on the same day and was liquidated on Sep. 2, 2014 and he was paid an interest of N24,000.

“The N5 million is still in his account as at the time the EFCC asked for his statement.

“He also transferred N2.5million into the bank account of Adegboyega Olopoenia (the sixth defendant).”

The N7.8 million disbursed by the defendants, Orji said, was part of funds from Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd which were originally from the account of the Vimsat Committee.

“All these transfers were done in a bid to conceal the source of the funds,” he said.

Throwing more light on the role of Gama Marine Nigeria Ltd in the alleged fraud, Orji said Adegboyega Olopoenia (the sixth defendant) was a signatory to the account of Gama Marine.

According to him, N10 million was transferred to Vincent Udoye in six tranches from that account by Olopoenia, totalling N60 million.

“It was conceived to be used under the guise of award of contract to Gama Marine but there was no contract.”

The investigator also told the court how another company, Arrow World Consulting Ltd, was used to transfer money from NIMASA by the defendants.

“In relation to Arrow World Consulting, the third (Ekene Nwakuche) and fourth (Governor Juan) defendants were the signatories to the account .

“Our findings were that the accounts of Arrow World Consulting received the bulk sum from the Vimsat Committee account on Feb. 12, 2015.

“They received N230 million and they received another N17 million from the account on May 6, 2015.

“Nwakuche and Juan used fictitious names while operating the Arrow World Consulting account; Nwakuche operated as Philip Emesike and Juan operated as Udoh Emakop.

“When we invited Nwakuche to our office, he confessed to be using the alias Philip Emesike saying he used the name in bank documents.

“He explained to me and my team embers that he used to sign as Emesike and he demonstrated to us how he used to sign the signature.

“N70 million was sent by Nwakuche into the bank account of Dorcas Nwakuche and N70 million was paid into the bank account of Kadice Oil and Gas Ltd.

“The third and fourth defendants also made various transfers to different accounts from the Arrow World Consulting account,” he said.

Orji told the court how the EFCC uncovered the forged documents used to carry out bank transactions by Arrow World Consulting.

“Arrow World Consulting did not do any work for NIMASA, I personally led the team to visit the company’s  address at 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island.

“I met the younger brother of the original owner of the company who was residing at the premises, I was told that the owner of the company had travelled out of the country.

“Shakespeare Solicitors, the lawyers to the real owner of Arrow World Consulting, came to the EFCC office with a power of attorney and made a statement.

“The lawyers commenced an action at the Ikeja High Court against the bank in which judgment was given in favour of the real owner of Arrow World Consulting.

“The real owner of Arrow World was awarded N10million damages by Justice F. Bankole-Oki against the bank for opening the account without the consent of the owners — the number of that suit is LD/1872/CMW/2016,” Orji said.

Oyedepo, the EFCC prosecutor, sought to tender as evidence, a letter written by Shakespeare Solicitors on the alleged fraud to the EFCC to which a copy of the judgment was attached.

Mr Seni Adio (SAN), lawyer to Nwakuche, however, objected to the tendering of the letter as evidence, saying it was irrelevant to the charge of the defendants and also not part of the original proof of evidence.

Justice Raliatu Adebiyi, in her ruling, held that the letter was relevant to proceedings and was, therefore, admissible as evidence.

She adjourned the case until today for continuation of trial.

 

Published in News & Stories

Thurmond (not his real name), a white American construction worker who I met at a site a while ago lamented to me thus. “Look, the order of significance in America regarding human and other rights is children first, women second, pets such as dogs and cats third, and men last, if at all.”

I chewed this information for a while, decided after some reflection that perhaps there was some merit in it before countering thus. “Count yourself lucky Thurmond. In my country Nigeria, there are hardly any human rights at all, but the order of significance under the current Buhari Administration is Fulani herdsmen first, other Fulani men second, Fulani cattle third, Fulani women and girls fourth, Nigerian Muslims fifth, other supporters of the present administration sixth, and the rest last, if at all.”

“Where do you belong then?” he asked me inquisitively. “Well like yourself I belong to the ‘last or if at all’ category,” I replied honestly.  Thurmond my interlocutor ejaculated. “No you are further down the totem pole than myself. I thought my case was bad, but yours seems even worse. What can I say to you?  I can only thank God that I am an American. Sorry about that bro.” he said as he walked away, contemplatively shaking his head in sympathetic amazement.

Both Thurmond and myself have long since finished our respective jobs in the particular site where we met and have each moved on to other job site assignments. But if I happen to run into Thurmond again given what I have watched, seen and heard over the last couple of days I surely would have plenty to tell him.

Indeed, on January 20, 2017, some American protesters demonstrating against Donald Trump’s emergence as the 45th President of the United States were smashing windows a couple of blocks away from the Capitol Building where he took the oath of office. Yet the American police and security agents handled the situation most professionally. A number of arrests, at the last unofficial count 217 persons, were made, but to the best of my knowledge there were no severe injuries or fatalities.

A much bigger anti-Trump demonstration the so-called Women’s March on Washington D.C. took place on January 21, 2017 and went off successfully. Similar demonstrations against Donald Trump took place in several cities and towns within the US and many cities around the world with unconfirmed reports estimating that as many as 3 million people participated worldwide. But apparently all these global demonstrations went on smoothly without any significant untoward incident of police brutality, demonstrators’ injury or possibly fatality.

The sole global exception apparently is Nigeria where a peaceful demonstration which held at Port Harcourt on January 20, 2017, in support of Donald Trump by members of peaceful separatist groups, led by the  Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), was broken up by the Nigerian police and other security agents with extreme violence including the use of live bullets leading by some media eye witness accounts to the possible loss of about 11 lives (IPOB claims 20 fatalities), gunshot injuries to about 70 persons and about 200 persons missing or still unaccounted for.

A violent approach to managing the peaceful exercise of dissenters’ fundamental human rights has been the hallmark of the apparently blood-thirsty Buhari Administration which has continuously met the peaceful demonstrations of non-Fulani Nigerians particularly the neo-Biafrans and Nigeria’s Shiite Muslim community with savage acts of brutality and denied many Nigerians particularly the aforementioned peaceful groups their fundamental human rights of freely and publicly expressing their views.

It should be pointed out that not all of the radical separatist views of IPOB are shared by many Nigerians including Igbos for that matter. Nonetheless provided their approach is peaceful and non-violent, it is within the realm of their fundamental human rights to engage in free speech, peaceful public demonstrations and free association with other aggrieved Nigerians of like minds.

However, at the same time, the very same Buhari Administration has turned a blind eye to and perhaps passively instigates or covertly supports the terroristic activities of segments of his own Fulani ethnic group who under the guise of nomadic cattle rearing, engage in expansionist land grab activities, outside the Fulani traditional ethnic homeland. These expansionist activities are actively propped up by State coercive and non-coercive organs. The sum total of this assured State support is the mindless slaughter of anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 innocent non-Fulani peasant Nigerian citizens across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

Recent major hotspots of the terroristic Fulani aggression against bona fide citizens of Nigeria leading to the loss of many lives under President Buhari’s watch include Agatu in Benue State where the official local government count indicates that more than 3,000 lives were lost during the carnage while 2,000 lives were subsequently lost in Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps due to the criminal neglect of traumatized displaced Agatu indigenes by the Federal and State Authorities. Other local government areas of Benue State have hardly fared better.

 In Southern Kaduna State about 808 lives (according to the Catholic Church records) were lost recently due to the terroristic activities of Fulani Herdsmen. Last year in Enugu State many lives running into double digits were reportedly lost when the terroristic Fulani Herdsmen extended their murderous rampage to that area. The murderous carnage of terroristic Fulani cattle herdsmen has been felt in Delta State, Ondo State, Oyo State, and Rivers State among others.

In none of these cases has President Muhammadu Buhari personally, openly, unequivocally and in a timely manner, sympathized with the victims of his kinsmen’s terrorist rampages. Where the Administration has been forced by public and mostly international outcry to commiserate with the victims, meaningless sympathies not backed by a resolute determination to fish out the perpetrators of these heinous terrorist actions, have been expressed belatedly and half-heartedly through paid media assistants and public relations advisers.  

Instead what has been witnessed is an all-out government effort to seize by any means possible, including through the proposed unorthodox engagement of the Nigerian Army in cattle ranching, the landed territory of ethnic sub-nationalities across the length and breadth of Nigeria with the barely disguised intention of forcibly transferring same down the road to the terroristic Fulani herdsmen as grazing lands which they would hold onto in perpetuity without paying royalties or acknowledging their tenant status in such lands.

Now as many Nigerian ethnicities who have hosted Fulani settlements in their ethnic homelands freely attest, the current generation of nomadic Fulani cattle herders are no more the good neighbors’ previous generations used to be. Armed to the teeth with offensive weapons including sub-machine guns in flagrant disregard of and disobedience to extant Nigerian Laws, the current Fulani herdsmen engage in criminal and subversive acts of rape, murder, armed robbery and wanton destruction of the cultivated lands of whichever community is unlucky enough to be their immediate unwilling hosts.

Any attempt to challenge them results in the kind of murderous onslaughts witnessed in Agatu, Southern Kaduna and other areas enumerated above. The Fulani terroristic herdsmen strut the length and breadth of the nation like proud colorful peacocks adorned with bullet straps, amulets and sophisticated weapons, answerable to nobody and held in awe by all and sundry, military, security forces and civilians alike.  

Since the emergence of the Buhari Adminstration, an additional swagger has been noticed in their comportment. Governors of States where carnages have taken place are not immune from the general intimidation of the populace by terroristic Fulani herdsmen. Many State Governors apart from the Governor of Ondo State, Ayodele Fayose, have been reduced to empty weeping vessels or pitiable castrated objects cowering in the face of terroristic Fulani bravado.

Recently thousands of peasant women in Delta State, fearful for their lives and aggrieved at the loss of personal security in their farmlands, their only source of livelihood, took to the streets in their thousands and blocked the Warri-Port Harcourt express way which is the major highway linking the two major commercial cities in the Niger Delta region. The women lamented about incessant cases of violent rape and murder in their farmlands perpetrated on a daily basis by terroristic Fulani herdsmen. The aggrieved women vowed that they would not evacuate the highway until they were personally addressed by the Governor of Delta State. It is uncertain if the Delta State Governor, the designated Chief Security Officer of the State, who may have been otherwise engaged, responded to their request, by honoring them with his physical presence in order to personally reassure them of their personal safety and security in their farmlands.

For their part, to their credit and in an unmistakably mark of their supreme confidence in their invincibility, the terroristic Fulani Herdsmen have serially owned up to their terrorist actions. Reacting under the canopy of their umbrella body, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeding Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) of which President Muhammadu Buhari, himself a cattle rearer is the Grand Patron, they have never denied their involvement in all the genocidal carnages, not associated with the renowned and distinct Boko Haram terrorist group, which Nigeria has witnessed in recent times and particularly under the Buhari Adminstration. What they have repeatedly said is that their genocidal activities are reprisal attacks for the loss of their cattle and sometimes members to cattle rustlers from the host communities.

Indeed, it is some State Governors mostly of Fulani origin, particularly the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai (a prominent member of President Buhari’s kitchen cabinet and reputed as his potential successor), who have been spinning the narrative that the terroristic Fulani elements causing mayhem in Nigeria are non-Nigerian Fulani migrating into Nigeria to cause havoc from far-flung countries like Niger, Mali, Chad etc.

This disingenuous explanation raises more serious questions than it answers. Firstly, what is the motivation behind the eagerness of the Nigerian Government authorities to extricate Nigerian Fulani herdsmen whose leadership is well-known by all and sundry, from their self-confessed responsibility for genocidal acts in Nigeria and transfer the responsibility for these very same acts to unknown and unknowable non-Nigerian Fulani herdsmen? Is it to shield them from the long hands of the Law as perpetrators and shield themselves as instigators?

Secondly, assuming but not conceding that the Nigerian Government officials implicating non-Nigerian Fulanis in these genocidal acts are correct in their narrative, is it not a culpable humongous admission of failure for Government to admit that foreigners came from outside Nigeria into Nigeria, to kill bona fide Nigerian citizens and the governments at State and Federal levels are not able to identify, arrest or extradite these foreign elements and bring them to justice?

Granted that the President is the Chief Security Officer of the Nation, who collects humongous, un-retire-able amounts of money daily, weekly or monthly as the case may be from the National Treasury in the name of Security Vote, and yet is unable to provide security for Nigerians, is this not enough cause to call for the President’s resignation, or impeachment or replacement as Chief Security Officer? The same applies to the State Governors who are the Chief Security Officers of their own States. Do Nigerians through their elected representatives not have a right to know how and why so much money is voted for Security in the nation and yet there is no security at all?

By the way, it is our view that the legality of the so-called Security Vote be investigated under the tenets of the Nigerian Constitution. If it is legal, there should be more transparency in its utilization, if found to be otherwise and to be based solely on precedence it should be scrapped immediately and the money directly remitted to the heads of the various security agencies who would then be held publicly accountable for the breakdown of law and order anywhere in Nigeria.

Coming back to the self-acknowledged complicity of Nigerian Fulanis in the terroristic acts of genocide in Nigeria, assuming but not conceding that these actions were provoked by cattle rustling and killing of their members, who and what gave the terroristic Fulani Herdsmen the right and audacity to administer instant justice in Nigeria without recourse to the established Judicial Authorities?

No Nigerian citizen has the right to administer justice on other human beings in Nigeria, citizen or non-citizen alike, without recourse to the established organs of the Judicial system. No amount of provocation, including the purported willful murder of its members and stealing of its cattle by elements of their host communities confers on the Fulanis of Nigeria the right to take the laws into their own hands and administer terroristic justice as they deem fit.

That the terroristic Fulani herdsmen routinely bypass the established channels of securing redress including reporting criminal matters to the Police and presenting their complaints before the Law Courts, is indicative of the amount of disdain and contempt in which they hold the Nigerian State. Yet this same Nigerian State acting under the direction of unpatriotic Fulanis in power, attempts to shield them by all means possible from the long hands of the law while subjecting other non-Fulani Nigerians especially IPOB members and Shiite Muslims to violent reprisals for actions and activities permitted under the Law.   

It is this disdain for the law, which is aided and abetted by actions of commission or omission in the highest levels of Government that is ultimately responsible for all the recent acts of genocide committed in Nigeria by terroristic Fulani herdsmen in their desperate expansionist grab for land outside their traditional ethnic domain. For these genocidal acts, their sponsors now very clearly exposed and identified by all shall be held accountable someday either by man or by God.

It is in the context of this injustice, daily crying to God for vengeance, that the so-called peace pact; recently struck between the King of Agatu people and their terroristic Fulani invaders; which pact cedes Agatu land to the very same Fulani elements who decimated them; and which pact was recently signed between the King of Agatu and the Fulani in the presence of the Governors of Benue State and Nassarawa State and some of which details were exposed by the Local Government Chairman of Agatu; should be recognized by all and sundry for what it truly is.

This so-called pact is an act of coercion of the hapless peasant Agatu people by terroristic Fulani herdsmen using the very same intimidating instruments of State which they willfully ignored before proceeding on their terroristic rampage. Peace is a very good thing. But peace must be accompanied by justice and the terms of any peace must be freely and democratically accepted by a majority of Agatu people freely exercising their will.

The terms of this peace must not be dictated to the Agatu victims through the auspices of their King and Local Government Chairman ostensibly negotiating on their behalf under the influence of State Government duress, their personal goodwill notwithstanding. In addition, while seeking peace the State must also administer justice by impartially investigating and addressing all acts of criminality including bringing the so-called Agatu elements who purportedly stole Fulani cattle before the Agatu carnage (if they are still alive) to justice. The state must also round up and bring all the members of the terroristic Fulani herdsmen community and their sponsors who planned and executed the so-called Agatu reprisal carnage to justice. The same should apply to all the cases of terroristic carnage in Nigeria.

The Nigerian State must summon the will and courage to subject the terroristic Fulani herdsmen to its judicial authority.  To do otherwise is to kick the can of justice further down the road and sow the seeds for the next round of carnage in the foreseeable future.

Anthony Chuka Konwea, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, MNSE, FNIStructE, MNICE.

-- THE END --

Published in Parliament
Page 3 of 7

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