Alarm over influx of foreign terrorists into Benue, other states – NAN report; Northern governors meet, issue communiqué supporting ranching; Defence Minister Blames Anti-Grazing Law, Not Herdsmen for Killings; Minister of Defence, Dan-Ali should be sacked – Benue APC; Northern Governors Caution Against Ethnicising Conflicts; Heads Must Roll Over Dapchi Schoolgirls – Jama’atu Nasril Islam; Nigeria now world’s largest petrol importer – NNPC; $1bn oil deal: Omokore gave Secondus, Mu’azu 33 cars . . .
Security service organizations including the Department of State Service (DSS) have identified an Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) network operating within some North Central and South-South sections of the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this information is contained in a security report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari recently by the affected security service outfits.
The report indicated that ISWA network was using foreign terrorists and recruiting young men to fight and kill innocent persons ostensibly to exacerbate tensions along the county’s ethnic, religious and regional fault lines.
According to reports, this discovery was made following the arrest of several suspected attackers made up Fulani herdsmen, government-sponsored militias, militants and other miscreants in Benue State. The reports revealed that among those in custody were many who spoke none of the languages native to Nigeria but the French language.
The Northern governors forum of 19 Northern states met recently in Kaduna. In a communiqué issued by the forum and read out by the chairman of the forum, Governor of Borno State Kashim Shettima after its meeting in Kaduna Thursday, the forum said:
“The meeting specifically deliberated on the seemingly intractable and excruciating nature of the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, as well as other deadly and destructive security challenges confronting various parts of the North vis-a-vis their counter-veiling effects on social stability and developmental programmes of the various state governments in the region.
The forum particularly discussed the lethality and widespread nature of the spate of communal clashes and emergent criminal activities like kidnapping and armed banditry in various parts of the Northern states.”
On the abduction of 110 schoolgirls Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State, the forum said:
“Our prayers and commiseration goes to the government and people of Yobe State as well as the families of the victims over the sad and unfortunate incident,”
The Minister of Defence, Mohammed Dan-Alli on Thursday claimed that the enactment of the anti-grazing laws by some states was the immediate cause of violence by herders.
The minister, who made the claim while briefing journalists at the end of a security council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the State House, Abuja, blamed the enactment of such laws on the unwillingness of the affected communities to accommodate their fellow Nigerians.
Disclosing that the meeting discussed the herders-farmers’ conflicts, Dan-Ali who said there were immediate and remote causes of the crises, highlighted the remote cause as the blockage of cattle routes which he said were available at independence. He said:
“Since the nation’s Independence, we know there used to be routes whereby the cattle rearers took because they are all over the nation. You go to Bayelsa, Ogun, you will see them. If those routes are blocked, what do you expect will happen? “Communities and other people must learn how to accept foreigners within their enclave, finish!”
Members of the Benue state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have condemned the minister of defence, Mansur Dan-Ali for reportedly describing the Benue attacks as a communal clash.The chairman of APC in Benue state, also alleged that the defence minister is working for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Dani-Ali had earlier blamed the clashes on the anti-grazing law passed by the Benue state government.
According to Daily Post, the Chairman of the party in the state, Abba Yaro also accused Dan-Ali of supporting the herdsmen. The chairman also issued a statement saying:
“The Benue State Working Committee of our great party, All Progressives Congress led by the Chairman, Hon. Prince Emmanuel Abba Yaro, hereby states categorically that we read with utmost disgust the frivolous statement credited to the ‘supposed honourable’ Minister of Defence, Col. Mansur Muhammad Dan Ali where he reportedly told Nigerians and other members of the public that the attack on two communities in Benue that led to the death of over 70 innocent people and destruction of properties worth millions of Naira was as a result of the open grazing prohibition law enacted by the State Government
. . .we consider this statement as a flatly ridiculous absurdity, and the highest level of public disgrace to democracy and the Nigerian populace. “By this singular utterance, the Minister of Defence, Col. Muhammad Mansur Dan Ali (rtd) has inarguably displayed incontestable lack of the required sensibility and capacity to serve as Defence Minister in a country of over 180 million people with over 300 ethnic nationalities.
We have therefore been constrained to believe that Mr. Mansur is a component unit of the perceived conspiracy against the good and hospitably peace loving people of Benue State. As an integral part of the country, Nigeria and as a State that gave President Muhammadu Buhari an edge in the 2015 general elections, we demand that Col. Mansur Dan Ali (rtd) resigns his position as Nigeria’s Defence Minister immediately and tender an unreserved apology to the good people of Benue State and the country at large . . .”
The chairman of Northern States Governors Forum, Hon Kashim Shettima, on Thursday called on Nigerians to avoid putting political, ethnic and religious colorations to the conflict facing the region. Addressing the governors during the forum’s meeting held at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, in Kaduna.
Shettima told them that as elected leaders, they had the primary responsibility of taking a hard and critical look at the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen and coming up with workable solutions. The Borno State governor stated that it was also critically important that, as a long term measure, the region’s governors should devise viable strategies to forestall all forms of security breaches that could erupt in the future.
The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) yesterday demanded that the federal government identify and punish those on whose watch the Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists. The JNI also urged the federal government to do everything possible to immediately rescue all the abducted schoolgirls and others in the captivity of Boko Haram.
The JNI, therefore, demanded that those whose dereliction of duty resulted in the abduction of the student must be punished. According to the JNI, “An example must be set; heads must roll for this negligence. Inquiry is not the only way to go. “In fact, a serious government would have by now put in jail and suspended all negligent security and political chiefs who could, and should, have protected these innocent children, rather than the rigmarole of setting up of an investigative panel.” The umbrella Muslim body expressed concern that the recent attack on Dapchi was a serious setback to the gains made in the campaign for parents in the region to education their daughters.
Nigeria is the only member country in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that imports petrol and is currently the largest importer of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the world, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, said in Abuja on Thursday.
Baru, who spoke through NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Upstream, Alhaji Bello Rabiu, at the 2018 Oloibiri Lecture Series (OLEF) while responding to questions from delegates, said the country had reached such import level because the refineries had not worked to their maximum capacity.
The OLEF, organised annually by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigeria Council, in commemoration of the first oil well drilled in Nigeria at Oloibiri in Bayelsa State in 1956, brings together key industry players to chart the right path for the oil sector. “As we speak today, Nigeria is the only OPEC country that imports petrol and we are the largest importer of PMS in the world,” Baru said.
“We actually import one million tonnes of PMS every month into a country that produces oil and gas and has refinery. It is a shameful thing, it doesn’t make sense and that is what we are trying to address.”
A witness has narrated how oil magnate, Jide Omokore gave current chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus (photo below: right) and his predecessor Adamu Mu’azu (photo below: left) cars in July, 2014. The witness, Olawale Oloyede, an accountant with Skymit Motors Ltd, yesterday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that while Mu’azu got 23 assorted cars, Secondus was given 10 white Hilux Jeeps.
Led in evidence by counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, Oloyede said Omokore ordered for the vehicles to be supplied to the beneficiaries, wherein Mu’azu received two Hilux, five Landcruisers, two Camry, three Honda, four Avalon, Lexus G460 and Lexus LX 570, Benz S500 and Benz E200.
Besides acquiring several armoured vehicles valued at between N35m and N65m for himself, Omokore also shared car gifts to several other individuals and corporate organisations with market value of between N9m and N70m each.
Others who received car gifts include: SPOG, 15; Atlantic Energy, 19; Albert Bassey, 9 Hilux, Infinity QX56BP- N45m, N40m a Range Rover, Toyota Hiace High Roof-N27m; Toyota Hiace Mid Roof-N16m; Okey Ezenwa, Lexus LX570BP-N50; Tom Ikimi,Lexus 570 armoured- N55m; Nneka Briggs, Mercedes BenzS350-N23m; David Mbanefo, Mercedes Benz S550-N25m, among others.
Under cross examination by defence counsel R. A. Rabana-Lawal (SAN), Taye Oyetibo (SAN) and Osaro Eghobamien (SAN) the witness said some of the vehicles were purchased on credit sales, adding that he does not know if the vehicle were given as bribes.
The EFCC accused Omokore, who is the managing director of Atlantic Energy Ltd, of breach of Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) with the Federal Government worth $1bn. The commission also indicted former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, who it claimed to be at large, but opposed her application in 2017 seeking to be tried in a Nigerian court.
Omokore is facing trial alongside former director of Exploration NNPC, Abiye Membere; the former Managing Director, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Victor Briggs; Manager, Planning and Commercial of NNPC, David Mbanefo; Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited, and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited. The trial will continue on Friday. — Daily Trust.