Plateau: Longstanding interreligious relationship may have inspired shielding of 300 Christians by Imam during herdsmen attacks

A local Imam who reportedly shielded nearly 400 Christian villagers from being killed during the recent herdsmen attacks in Central Nigeria's Plateau State is said to have shared mutually beneficial relationship with the natives for years.

The Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in the affected Nghar village is said to have contributed cash towards the building of the Mosque in which the attack fleeing Christians were camped during the attacks. 

"It is worth noting that both the Christian and Muslim communities in Nghar, Yelwa village have enjoyed mutually beneficial relationship with the Church led by Rev. Davou Dako contributing to the construction of the Mosque.

"Until the outbreak of the attack, they were the envy of others by their exemplary coexistence," a legal luminary in the state, Barr. Ezekiel Mandyau said.

Alh. Abdullahi Abubakar, 82 reportedly displayed rare heroism when he faced irate members of his congregation who chased the Christian natives in June, 2018 with machetes and AK47 rifles during the attacks wherein over 200 people were killed.

Mohammed, also known as Mallam Tsoho along with other Muslim leaders - Mukaka Umar, Isa Haruna, Yau Lamu, Haruna Bukar and  Abbas Lawal insisted that before any Christian in their custody would be killed, they would have to die, one of those saved said.

"The angry Muslim Fulani herders challenged their decisions to shield us in their mosque, saying 'that wasn't part of the arrangement' to our hearing," the survivor, a 50 year old woman told MKB.

Sheikh Mohammed was however the only one singled out for a national award by President Muhammadu Buhari as recently revealed by Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong.

Both President Buhari and Governor Lalong did not visit the devastated villages during their deliberations in the state capital on the attacks in June.

The State and National Emergency Management Agencies have sent humanitarian aids to the internally displaced persons from the attacked villages but a legal luminary, Barr. Ezekiel Mandyau thinks it is not enough.

Barr. Mandyau, a Local Government Chairmanship aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC) says victims of the attacks in Barkin Ladi, Riyom and other LGAs deserve equal attention as the honour being considered for the heroic Muslim cleric.

The honour done the 82 year old, Barr. Mandyau views as worthwhile but believes equal attention for the surviving victims would be lifesaving.

"The Imam in question is like a father to me. While appreciating government for the recognition, we have expressed our appreciation to him and a few others who stood their ground to save those villagers.

"But we don't want to loose sight of the fact that something fast needs to be done for, particularly, the surviving victims," he said in a text message to MKB.

The Federal Government had announced a N10bn package for the attack victims as compensation for their losses during the attacks but it is not confirmed if any of the IDPs has received any of it.






 

Herdsmen attacks: Monarch seeks common grounds on conflicts

By Joel Gomiyer, Jos

Stakeholders in Jos, Nigeria have been tasked to be frank in their discussions towards finding lasting solutions to the incessant farmer-herder conflicts in Plateau State.

The Gbong Gwom Jos and Chairman, Plateau State Traditional Council, Da Jacob Buba threw the challenge at a three-day Peace and Security Conference, Organized by the Plateau Peace Building Agency in Jos, the Plateau State Capital.

The Monarch who regretted the recent attacks and killings in the State said all hands must be on deck to find a common ground in resolving the conflicts in the interest of peace and development.

While noting that no society develop in an atmosphere of rancour, Mr. Buba revealed that the traditional institution was also working out modalities to ensure peaceful coexistence among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in the state and country.

In a remark, the State Governor, Simon Lalong noted that the program and its theme was apt.

The conference according to Governor Lalong is part of government's broader effort to explore, sustain and expand the existing momentum on security and peace building within the framework of the Peace Building Agency's five-year Strategic Plan.

Lalong stated that peace and security have always been part of his administration's policy thrust since inception in 2015.

"You will recall that the Roadmap to peace was launched by Mr. President early this year. This document is our strategic framework for preventing the outbreak of violent conflict through the detection of early warning sign of conflict and the facilitation of systematic dialogue," he said.

Lalong described the conference as a tree planting event that will grow for the benefit of the Plateau and the generation yet unborn.

He encouraged the participants to use their wealth of experience to contribute meaningfully during the three days for a lasting solution to the conflict.

The representative of the United State Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. David Young said the US government condemned in totality the crisis not only in Plateau but Nigeria as a whole, saying the killings is unacceptable, noting that they share the pains with the government of Nigeria.

Mr. Young said Plateau state had suffered heroin attack for more than decades now, working for peace can safe life as he charge security agencies in Nigeria to arrest and prosecute the criminal actors as that is the only way to end the incessant killings.

In a keynote address, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos. Prof. Monday Mangvwat caution religious leaders, Politicians and Journalist on their choice of words while speaking on what he described as sensible issues.

Earlier, while welcoming guests and participants, Director General of the Plateau State Peace Building Agency Joseph Lengmang said the Agency is very concerned that its various interventions alongside CSOs, NGOs and other stakeholders was punctured recently by the resurgence of violent attacks in the state and said it serves as a wake-up call to all to intensify interventions in the areas of peace building.

He said such necessitated the kind of stakeholders involved in the conference saying this is the first of the series of face to face interventions being planned by the Agency.

Lengmang then thanked the US Embassy, United States Institute Of Peace and the Mercy Corps for supporting the Agency to put up the conference.

The event which had as theme, "Resurgence of Violent Attacks in Plateau State:  Forging a Multi Stakeholder Partnership for Peace and Security" had in attendance religious leaders, government officials, Traditional rulers, Women and Youths groups among other stakeholders.

Akwa Ibom NYSC Camp in Sporting Extravaganza

National Youth Service Corps members attending the 2018 Batch B orientation course at the Nsit Atai Orientation Camp in Akwa Ibom State today displayed electrifying sporting skills at the camp's inter-platoon sports competitions.

The sports competitions which commenced today were part of the camp's social activities designed to enable corps members unwind after series of strenuous military drills and lectures.

At the start of the competitions, Platoon 1 defeated Platoon 10 at the football encounter, 5:4 in a penalty shootout.

The match which ended goalless, regular time saw the two teams maintaining stiff defenses with sustained attacks throughout 90mins of play.

During the penalty shootout, the two teams maintained parallel scores until a last kick by a Platoon 10 player was punched off the bar by the Platoon 1 goalkeeper.

In the volleyball section, Platoon 6 beat Platoon-2 26:14 to emerge winner.

The games are expected to continue with different teams taking the pitches.

Presidency using minorities to sack constitutional structures - Saraki, Dogara

The Eagle Online: The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have described as ‘a desecration of the legislative sanctity” the ongoing situation in Benue State in which eight out of the 30 members of the State House of Assembly have commenced impeachment process against the Governor, Samuel Ortom, and with the support of the police, the 22 other members who constitute more than two-third majority are kept away from the Assembly Complex.

In a statement jointly signed by their aides in charge of media, Yusuph Olaniyonu and Turaki Hassan, Saraki and Dogara also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the police to order and stop them being used to achieve political purposes.

The statement said: “We have monitored closely the development in Benue State in which the impeached Speaker, Terkimbir Ikyange, led seven other members to serve impeachment notice on the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, while the 22 other members who constitute more than two-third majority have been prevented from having access to the chamber. We believe this is illegality and does not conform to parliamentary procedure on impeachment.

“We also note with surprise the role of the Police in this undemocratic event in which the minority is seeking to impeach a Governor against the position of the majority. We believe it is the sacred institution of the legislature that is being desecrated and rubbished in all these negative developments.

“The situation in Benue State House of Assembly has grave implication for the nation’s democracy and it represents a throw-back to the period of dictatorship in our country.

"It also represents how the Nigeria Police are being misused to achieve political end".

In a statement recently, the Presidency derisively referred to an era in the past where a minority number of legislators was used to impeach Governors who were unfriendly with the Federal Government. What we are seeing in Benue now is a return to that inglorious era.

“We believe this unlawful and unconstitutional move to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom by a minority should be condemned by all lovers of democracy, at home and abroad. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the police to order and prevent a break-down of law and order. We also call on friends of Nigeria in the international community to lend their voice in condemning the perpetration of illegalities and actions that can subvert our democracy.

“There is already a tense atmosphere in Benue State following the recent killings. Nobody should encourage any action or move which may exacerbate the security situation in the North Central State.

"As leaders of the Federal legislature, we are ready to work with our colleagues in both chambers of the National Assembly to prevent any attempt to destroy any state legislature or use it to derail democracy.”

Plateau Imam bags National Honour for saving over 300 Christians during herdsmen attack

By Joel Gomiyer, Jos

The chief imam of Nghar village, Gashish District of Barkin  Ladi LGA of Plateau state, Imam Abdullahi Abubakar is to be given a National award by President Muhammadu  Buhari for saving the lives of over 300 Christian villagers during the recent herdsmen attacked in Plateau's Barkin Ladi Local Government Area that claimed over 200 lives.

Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau state announced this at a three-day Peace and Security Conference with the theme " Resurgence of Violent Attack in Plateau State: Forging a Multi Stakeholders Partnership for Peace and Security " held in Jos, the Plateau state capital.

According to governor Lalong, President Buhari, was moved by the 'heroic' gesture of the 83yr old Imam, hence his invitation to the imam through the governor for a "Presidential handshake' and National Honour.

Governor Simon Lalong described Imam Abubakar as a rear gem in the present society, saying what he did is inline with God injunction in all the holy Books and urged not only religious leaders but all citizens to emulate such.

"The imam didn't only save Plateau indigent but Nigerians as such, I think he deserve the national honour as well thought by President Muhammadu  Buhari"
Lalong said.

Apart from the National honour that will be confer on the Chief imam, governor Lalong also said been a sitting governor of the stated he is also making a plan to present an offer to the imam despite his old age.

He said he is making a process for the day to embark on the journey to Aso Villa with the 83 year old Imam Abubakar as soon as possible as demanded by the President.

It would be recalled that the story of imam Abubakar went viral on the social media on how he saved the lives of over 300 natives of Gindin Akwati and it's environs in a Mosque and his House despite threat to his life by the attackers who Stormed the Village on Motorbikes with guns and Machetes shutting and killing the natives who are Christian.

The three-day peace and security Conference by the Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA) was hinged on the theme, "Resurgence of Violent Attacks in Plateau State: forging a Multi Stakeholders Partnership for Peace and Security."

The essence, the Director General of the agency, Joseph Lengman said was to mobilize stakeholders towards proffering lasting solutions to the reoccurring violence in the state.

Professor Sola Adeyeye||: Time to think deep into the union underlying the Nigerian nation

I stand before you today fully cognizant, as are many of you in this audience, that these days are not the best for Nigeria. At the risk of being called prophets of doom, we really have no choice than to admit that our country, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, lies in the paths of sundry tornadoes, hurricanes, cyclones, storms, superstorms, whirlwinds, and typhoons all of which are rushing towards our Republic with deadly speeds and their concomitant devastating momentum.

We all know that humans cannot perfectly predict what the future holds. But they can examine, assess and calibrate past and present events so as to reasonably forecast events of the future, thereby preparing against and averting preventable disasters and crisis. In particular, patriots are duty-bound to seek and say the truth about their country even if doing so results in being perceived, rightly or wrongly, either as the apostles of hope or as the harbingers of doom.

Fortunately as well as unfortunately for Nigerians, we no longer need to predict the approach of any gales for our republic. The gales of doom have not only approached our doors, they gustily and ferociously bang on them!

In any case, were we to be totally oblivious to these gales, we got good help over twelve years ago, when American Intelligence apparatchiks predicted that Nigeria would disintegrate before or not too long after 2015. Within Nigeria, the responses to that prediction were largely knee-jerk reactions as if Nigeria was about to become the first country in the world to disintegrate along ethnic and sectarian fissures. Never mind that in the two decades preceding that prediction by the CIA, numerous countries of the world had failed, crumbled and disintegrated under the crushing weight of their own internal contradictions!

Croatia which just gave a superlative performance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia did not participate in the 1994 World Cup hosted in the USA where Nigeria dazzled the world and came extremely close to beating Argentina and the mesmerizing Diego Maradona. Croatia could not have been at the 1994 World Cup or the preceding one-1990 in Italy simply because the Republic of Croatia was not in existence until 1991 when it emerged from Yugoslavia. Other countries that were formed from the breakup of Yugoslavia include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Slovenia. Likewise, Russia, the home team at this year’s World Cup, appeared in the World Cup for the first time in 1994 because the Russia we know today emerged after Russia, Belarus and Ukraine broke away from the Soviet Union after the Belavezha Accords of December 1991.

Decades earlier, in 1937 to be precise, Burma (now called Myanmar) was separated from British India. Eleven years later (1948), Ceylon now called Sri Lanka became independent of British India. Of course, Pakistan was separated from India in 1947, while Eastern Pakistan broke away from Pakistan in 1971 to give rise to Bangladesh.  In other words, during the lifetime of the oldest members of this audience, a sequential breakup of India had occurred yielding five sovereign countries all of which have taken their rightful seats as chartered members of the United Nations, namely: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

Much earlier in Western Europe, the Sweden-Norway union broke in 1814 from the long-lasting (for 293 years from 1523 to 1814) Kalmar Union in Scandinavia that included Denmark. Ninety-one years later, the Sweden-Norway Union separated in 1905 into Sweden and Norway.

In briefly reminding us about the breakup of what were four countries (Yugoslavia, the USSR, India and the Scandinavian Kalmar Union) into what are 26 sovereign countries of our contemporary world, my point is not to glamorize the disintegration of sovereign countries as if disintegration is a never-failing solution to the conflicts that are all too common in the political enterprises of multi-ethnic and multi-national countries.

Rather, I have refreshed our minds with empirical case notes that robustly countermand and debunk the fallacy that the disintegration of countries, is intrinsically pernicious and innately injurious. On the contrary, for example, rather than remaining together in a commonwealth of internecine conflicts and obligate mutual destruction, India and Pakistan have been far better off by parting ways into separate republics, each choosing its own substantially different courses of national actualization and development. Let us do a cursory comparison of the paths that India and Pakistan took.

First, Pakistan was the first country in modern era to be formed on the basis of religion. No wonder, that at its Independence, the official name of Pakistan was constitutionally proclaimed as Islamic Republic of Pakistan. India, despite its overwhelmingly Hindu population remained a secular state.

Second, two years after Independence, India announced a fifteen year transition in its official language from English to Hindi. Because Hindi is not the mother tongue in the southern states of India, the attempt to impose it as the only official language was fiercely resisted in the southern states. Consequently, amendments were made in favor of continuing English as the official language.

By contrast, English remained the official language of Pakistan but in 1973 Pakistan adopted Urdu as its national language. It is noteworthy that whereas 46% of Pakistanis speak Punjab as its first language, only 8% of Pakistanis speak Urdu as their first language.

Third, one very substantial difference in the post-independence history of India versus Pakistan is the fact that beginning from 1958, Pakistan has had several coup d’etat resulting in decades of military rule. By contrast, India has always been ruled by democratically elected Governments. This is not to say that democratic rule in India has always been smooth and peaceful. Political assassinations were relatively common experience in India. Examples of assassinated Indian leaders include Mahatma Ghandi, Indira Ghandi, Rajiv Ghandi, and Phoolan Devi. Even their women were not exempted from being assassinated. But unlike what have occurred in many parts of the world, the assassination of political leaders in India has never resulted in military rule.

Despite the divergent paths taken by India and Pakistan, they are today very powerful countries; both are nuclear powers. India tested its first nuclear explosion in 1974 by which time Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, announced that Pakistan would be a nuclear power in 1976. You might recall that on May 27, 1998, India tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile. But guess what? While the world was still musing and rumbling about the global significance of India as a nuclear power, Pakistan tested its own intercontinental ballistic missile the very next day after the Indian test!

Furthermore, the stupendous leaps in progress by India and Pakistan have not been limited to military technology and hardware; both countries have made tremendous progress in other spheres such as education, agriculture, transportation and health care delivery. It is an irony of history that although this lecture is being delivered on the campus of what was once ranked as the fourth best hospital in the British Commonwealth, Nigerians now embark on regular medical trips to India. Despite its stepwise dismemberment into many smaller countries, what remains as contemporary India has marched forward. By contrast, our so-called “united” Nigeria steadily marches in relative retrogression. Our own republic is like the proverbial chicken that precariously dangles on a rope; neither the chicken nor the rope is at rest!

History has shown that whether the disintegration of a country results in beneficial or harmful outcomes depends largely on the process and mechanisms that lead to disintegration. For example, whereas the disintegration that yielded Denmark, Sweden and Norway was largely peaceful and mutually negotiated, the world is replete with tragic examples of how the disintegration of a country led to prolonged wars with the attendant calamities. Think of Sudan and South Sudan. Also think of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

For example, splitting Vietnam in 1954 into North Vietnam and South Vietnam, each backed by external foreign interests engendered a harrowing vortex of hostilities, war and widespread destruction that lasted 21 years. The tragic consequences of the Vietnam war extended far beyond the boundaries of that southeastern Asian country. Likewise, the split of Korea into North Korea and South Korea, degenerated into proxy wars between the two superpowers of the time (the USA and the USSR), with China also intervening at some point.

We all are living witnesses that more than 60 years after the split of Korea and the ensuing war, the Korea peninsula has remained a flashpoint of the world where scepters of war perennially dangle as eerie reminders of possible nuclear holocaust. We need not inundate you with the list of numerous separatist wars in parts of China, Burma, Iraq, Sudan and Ethiopia all of which yielded enormous casualties. Some of these wars continue as we speak having already lasted more than five decades.

As for Nigeria, if the truth be told, our republic creaks and moans from the battering gales that precariously dangle us on the precipice of disintegration. The American prediction has not come true. But we would be suffering from delusion-induced astigmatism, cataracts, myopia, glaucoma and macula degeneration if we fail to see that it is not too late for the prediction to be fulfilled.

Problems are not solved by denying that they exist. Even so, what is most important is not our recognition that Nigeria is buffeted by ferocious problems. Rather, it is our willingness to stem and avert these gales and their centrifugal forces that perennially jolt and weaken the threads holding the seams of Nigeria.

For a start, perhaps we should first convince ourselves that keeping Nigeria from disintegration is a worthwhile goal.

Look at our contemporary world. The continent of North America comprises twenty three countries plus nine dependent territories none of which is land locked. The continent of South America comprises 14 countries, of which only two (Bolivia and Paraguay) are land locked. In fact, Bolivia became landlocked only after losing its eastern border to Chile during the Pacific war of 1879-1883. The continent of Asia comprises 44 countries of which only 12 (27%) are land locked. The continent of Europe has 50 countries out of which 17 (34%) are land locked. Four of the landlocked European countries (i.e., Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Switzerland) participate in the European Common Market thus minimizing the disadvantages of being landlocked. In effect, only 13 European countries (26%) suffer the consequences of their lack of access to the sea. The smallest continent, Oceania, comprises 14 countries none of which is landlocked. The continent of Africa has 54 countries, of which 16 (30%) are landlocked. Because the two Island countries in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius and Seychelles) plus the (five) North African countries are not landlocked, it means that all the landlocked countries of Africa are in Sub-Sahara Africa. This means that 34% of Sub-Saharan Africa is landlocked. Why should we care?

It turns out that the cost of transportation in any country is directly correlated with whether the country is landlocked or not. Specifically, transportation costs in landlocked countries are 50% higher than in countries that are not landlocked. As such, being landlocked retards international trades because of the time spent at the ports of their maritime neighbors plus having to transport goods through their territories. Sundry tariffs and bribes are paid during trans-border freighting of goods to and from landlocked countries.

It is noteworthy that some of the states that constitute the USA are economically so strong that they can exist very comfortably as sovereign countries were they to separate from the union of the American Republic. If the State of California were an independent country, it would be the 6th largest economy of the world. Likewise, if Texas were an independent country, it would be the 8th richest economy of the world. Mississippi with a GDP per capita of over $32,000 is the poorest state in the USA. However, Mississippi is significantly richer than Chile and Brazil that have GDP per capital of $15,000 and $11,000 respectively. I chose to compare Mississippi with these two countries because one of them (Brazil) is the largest in South America while the other (Chile) is the richest on the basis of GDP per capital.

If we were to consider territorial size, only Niger, Mali and Nigeria are geographically bigger than Texas among the fifteen nations that constitute ECOWAS. Matter of fact, Texas is geographically more than double the size of each of the remaining 12 members of ECOWAS. As if its technological, economic and geographical advantages were not enough, the USA went to great lengths to ensure NAFTA- the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico with the clear purpose of fostering a trade bloc with advantages similar to those that are enjoyed by the industrial giants of the European Union and its unified market.

Alas, unlike North America, Africa is fragmented into disparate geopolitical entities that are buffeted by the vagaries of nature and the environment. Because of the abundance of its natural resources, Nigeria is one country that should have long emerged as the true giant of Africa. If only it were prudently administered! The Republic of Nigeria should have been so prosperous that every country from Cameroon to Senegal pleads to be amalgamated with it. Yes, the potential of Nigeria is so enormous that everything should be done to avert the disintegration of Nigeria. However, if Nigerians are not willing to do all that ought to be done to prevent disintegration, then we should summon the honesty, commonsense and enlightened self-interest to meet around a well-furnished mahogany table to negotiate the conditions and terms for the peaceful dissolution of Nigeria. Rather than keep transmuting the promises of Nigeria into nightmares and horrors, let a Boris Yeltsin arise and break up our “burdensome” Republic into as many as
are peacefully negotiated.

Although I am an incorrigible believer in the unity of Nigeria, I have taken extensive time to discuss the pros and cons of Nigerian unity so as to debunk the oft-repeated fallacy that Nigerian Unity is non-negotiable. Those who tout this arrant superstition do so because of their mistaken ideology that the greatest purpose of nationhood is unity.

The truth, of course, is that whenever being “united” becomes inimical to the peace and progress of a country, its citizens should summon the wisdom and courage to peacefully disunite. The Unity of any country must never be an end unto itself. Rather, it should be a tool for strength through dynamic synergism, peace through necessary accommodations and progress through voluntary cooperation. In a multi-national enterprise such as the Nigerian Republic, unity must not be canonized as an end unto itself.  Rather, it is a means to an end.

Therefore, for us to properly contemplate and solve Nigeria’s seemingly intractable problems, we must first overcome the Gale of False Assumptions about National Unity.

In this regard, let us consider one immutable and inexorable principle that unifies life. I am referring here to the very strict relationship between structure and function such that function is dependent on and dictated by structure. At all levels of biological existence, from the sub-cellular levels of macromolecules and their atomic components through increasing complexities of cells, tissues, organs, organ-systems, individual organisms, populations, communities and ultimately ecosystems, a deviation from proper structure results in the perturbations and defects of function.

EXTEMPORE EXPLANATION 
ATOMS, ELECTRONS AND BOND

HOMEOSTASIS

This brings me to three other gales that Nigeria must quickly terminate if our country must leap out of current underdevelopment.

1. The gale of supernaturalism and ignorance
2. The gale of structural abnormalities
3. The gale of overpopulation

THE GALE OF IGNORANCE AND SUPERNATURALISM

Two stories:
1. Ofe at Ilesa Grammar School
2. Bellview Crash

We, Nigerians, are a superstitious lot. It does not matter too much what religion we profess, nor the level of education that we have acquired; superstitions run through our blood. This is the reason that when things are clearly not well, when they get as bad as possible, when we should get angry and be emboldened to take corrective steps, we calmly retort by saying “it is well!” This proclamation, ostensibly an exercise of faith in the ultimate triumph of omnipotent God, insidiously yields a docility of temperament and cadaverous unconcern!

The favorite houseboy, or perhaps errand girl of a religious Nigerian, is the very God he/she claims to worship! That is why once we knowingly say “it is well” in the face of staggering evidence to the contrary, we also affirm that “God will do it!” All these emanate from the supreme confidence that we often express that “God loves Nigeria!” The way we say it, you would think that God hates either Cameroon or Ghana!

The truth of course is that nations, just like individuals, sleep on whatever bed they had laid. The pervasive dysfunction and decay in our national institutions are the creations of Nigerians, not God. We can pray for as long as we wish in our churches and mosques. We can tarry in our endless camps and so-called vigils. None of these alters the immutable truth that whatever a nation sows, the same it shall reap.

The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway probably hosts the highest concentration of sectarian zealots in the world. It also has the distinction of being the only federal expressway in the world where trucks are parked anywhere that suits the insanity of their drivers. God sees it all. He probably smiles at it all!

Meanwhile, we keep praying even as we suffer and smile as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti once sang. We forget that the righteousness which exalts a nation (Proverbs 14: 34) has little to do with the endless religious jamborees and superstitious abracadabra on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Most Japanese neither worship Jesus Christ as the Son of God nor accept Mohammed as His Prophet. Because of its endless Buddhist temples, Japan might be classified by Nigerians as a nation of infidels! Furthermore, the natural resources of Nigeria by far exceed those of Japan. Yet, see what the Japanese have made of their nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, what do we see when we  look at the world? Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and countries predominated by Christians are doing well. Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Kuwait, the UAE all of which have Muslims as majority are doing well.  Israel, the only country in the world whose majority subscribe to Judaism, is doing well. Japan is doing well with its Shinto and Buddhism. Needless to say, China and Russia, both of which are predominated by atheists are doing well. This variegated array of countries that are doing well show that progress and well-being of nations are not exclusively fostered by just one theology!

THE GALE OF STRUCTURAL ABNORMALITIES

Because Nigeria has perennially malfunctioned in recent years and decades, we do not need to be geniuses to conclude that our societal malfunctions are the inescapable manifestations of constitutive defects in structure. It behooves us to diligently and dispassionately pinpoint these defects, remove or redress them, and thereby terminate the debilitating malfunctions that result in inefficiency, corruption, malaise, disorder, and underdevelopment.

No President, king or emperor will make Nigeria work until we evolve a truly federal system. Successive rulers have denigrated Nigeria into a tragic enclave of overbearing centralism and shifty Byzantinism. As bestowed by our current constitution, the Federal Government is a monstrous octopus; its tentacles continue to asphyxiate the progress and unity of our people. We need to devolve far greater power from the central government to the federating units of Nigeria. We need to terminate the virtual omnipotence and omnipresence of the Federal Government which cause the epilepsy of our power supply, paralysis of our railway system, incapacitation of our police, ruination of our educational system, pollution of our environment, corruption of our polity and strangulation of our economy.

THE GALE OF OVERPOPULATION

When the British first came to Nigeria, Nigeria's population was about half that of the U.K. When they left in 1960, Britain and Nigeria had approximately equal populations. Today, Nigeria's population is more than twice that of the U.K. This is probably the greatest nightmare rushing towards Nigeria like a speedy bullet. The Malthusian predicament, far deadlier than Boko Haram, is speedily approaching.

Currently, Nigeria is the 7th most populous country in the world. It has been projected that within the next 3 decades, Nigeria will become the 3rd most populous country in the world. By then, only China and India will have bigger populations than Nigeria. By that time, science and technology would have drastically reduced global dependency on fossil fuel. Woe betides any country whose economy is still largely dependent on oil by 2048. But that is not even the biggest thing that we need to worry about as we ponder the future of Nigeria. Because of climate change and human overuse, many of the world’s water resources have been shrinking. Unfortunately, among the fastest shrinking lakes of the world is Lake Chad which for centuries has served adjoining populations in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.  Without question, a future war between neighbors stares on us from Lake Chad!

By the way, because water is indispensable to life, Nigeria must prepare for meeting the water need of our exploded future populations. As we all learned from the History of Mungo Park, Hugh Clapperton  and Richard Landers etc, River Niger did not originate in Nigeria. Those in Asaba and the Delta estuaries have no greater claim to that River than communities upstream in Jebba all the way to the Futa Jallon hills in Guinnea. What will happen if countries that are upstream of Nigeria (Guinea, Mali, Niger and Benin create dams and diversions for that river to solve their own needs?

As our population increases exponentially, where are the schools in which future generations of our children will be educated? Will our livestock production continue to be dependent on nomadic tradition? When are we going to build the roads, the refineries, and the health care facilities for the expanded population? When shall we generate the power supply for domestic and industrial uses? When shall we lay the underground cables as are being continuously done by UAE and Saudi Arabia?

The truth is that we are already far behind with regard to providing for our present and future needs. To avert the crisis that will ensue as these needs grow, we must curtail our population growth. Nature can be ruthless. Whenever a species increases its population beyond the carrying capacity of its environment, nature intervenes with deadly consequences. That is one gale we must avert.

Written By Professor Sola Adeyeye

Chief Whip, Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Abafaras Longji:|| Returning IDPs home when Fulani killers currently graze on their farms?

*MY THOUGHT ON THE COMMITTEE SET FOR THE RETURN OF OUR PEOPLE*

*WRITTEN BY ABAFARAS LONGJI MARK THE UNMUTTED TRUTH AMBASSADOR*

I was sincerely typing an assignment when this thought came to me and I had to abandon my computer to put this down. I felt it is one thing to set a committee and it is another thing for something to come out of the committee.

I felt there can be not peace without justice. As it is now, the Fulani killers are currently grazing on the land of the people sacked in some communities in Riyom and Bokkos. We are talking about the return of our ppl. How are we sure these killers wound descend on them again??

The govt. has the political will and the military might to stop all these ppl but why is the govt not doing it?  It has been pure genocidal agenda, it has been pure attacks on our ppl but why are we only the ones speaking the attack language while the govt speaks that of farmers/ herders clash?

The truth be said, as an *UNMUTTED* truth ambassador of Christ, I am convinced beyond doubt that the Plateau govt can stop this if it wants to. E.g. arresting those Fulanis currently harvesting and grazing on the farmlands. The plateau state govt knows of the real issues but why is it not providing real solutions? Why is she not proactive but always reactive?

Is it in anyway to our happiness that the govt, NGO'S, AND individuals are now providing relief materials to the IDPS? THIS HAS NEVER BEEN THE LIFE THEY IMAGINED FOR THEMSELVES. MY HEART BLEEDS AS THE EXPERIENCE IS BETTER IMAGINED.

*WE ARE NOT LOOSING HOPE BECAUSE GOD'S CERTAINLY WITH US*

*WE ARE NOT LOOSING HOPE COS WE'RE PRAYING FOR POSITIVE OUTCOMES*

Plateau House member, Peter Gyendeng awarded over security, human service

The member representing Barkin Ladi Local Government Area (LGA) in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Peter Gyendeng has received two awards of recognition by Northern Nigeria's leading radio station, Unity FM and Northern Nigerian Christian Youths for Change.

The award by Unity FM, presented to the lawmaker this week is in recognition of Mr. Gyendeng's contributions to the development of democracy at the grassroots.

It is also in recognition of his steadfastness in ensuring the welfare and protection of his constituency.

The Northern Nigerian Christian Youths for Change also within the week awarded the House of Assembly member in recognition of his 'great' contributions to human development and dogged representation.

Speaking to MKB on the two awards, Gyendeng who had turned down several awards before now expressed delight over the recognition.

According to him, the awards which recognize his seemingly unnoticeable contributions to humanity and grassroots development are a huge encouragement.

The awards which he dedicated to his constituents he said have motivated him to do more for the benefit of his constituents.

Mr. Gyendeng who appreciated the chance to serve his constituency however solicited for prayers to enable him deliver on his legislative responsibilities.

He further expressed desire to return for greater impact if given the chance come 2019.

2019: Stop causing unnecessary tension, Nigerian Journalists warn politicians

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has appealed to Nigerian politicians to stop overheating the polity ahead of the 2019 elections.

The current political situation in the country particularly call for restraint on the part of the political leaders and their agents on both sides of the seeming conflict, the body said.

In a statement by its National Secretary, Shuaibu Liman, the journalists union said, "The rising political tension in the country was uncalled for.

The body in the statement said, "We charge politicians to focus more on the business of governance for which they were elected into office, instead of dissipating energy on unnecessary political rumblings.

"We believe that various untoward actions being exhibited by some politicians are in bad taste and are capable of causing harm to the electoral process.

"It is therefore pertinent to appeal for caution on the part of some of these political gladiators especially as we move toward 2019 elections."

The NUJ however warned against disregard for the rule of law, which it said appears to be fuelling so much ill feelings in the country.

"The restriction of arbitrary exercise of power is germane in a democracy," the statement said.

Jos: Fulani cattle rustler guns down one, lands in STF net

A man said to specialize in cattle rustling was yesterday arrested by the special military Task Force in central Nigeria's Plateau State.

Sources say the suspect identified as a Fulani herder was arrested after he and others raided the home of a native livestock farmer in Adoro village, Foron district of Barkin Ladi LGA, carting away with his cattle.

One person was said to have sustained bullet injuries during the raid and was receiving treatment at an undisclosed healthcare centre.

The suspect according to the sources was moved to the headquarters of the STF in Barkin Ladi for further interrogation where he was detained by the authorities.

His arrest is however said to have angered some top officers of the Task Force who share sociocultural similarities with him.

He is therefore believed to have been given a script to act towards facilitating his release and inducting others in his place.

MKB has however not secured any official comment or detail into the matter.

2019: Akwa Ibom Govt wants NYSC members to support successful polls

Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State says Corps members serving in different Nigerian States have the charge to support successful conduct of the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

Gov. Udom addressing the 2018 Batch B Corps members posted to the state said this the Corps members can do through good social conduct before, during and after the polls.

Represented by the State Commissioner for Youths and Sport, Mr. Monday Ugo, the Governor pledged government's readiness to support the Corps members to achieve their set objectives.

He particularly announced plans to redeem his pledge to upgrade facilities in the State's NYSC orientation camp as well as complete ongoing projects therein.

The announcement followed a remindee by the State NYSC Coordinator, Mr. Okonje Amosun on his earlier pledge to that effect.

The NYSC Coordinator in his remarks expressed gratitude to the governor, the media and all supporting partners of the corps for their support to the scheme.

Plateau APC pledges level playing field for all aspirants

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Plateau State,Hon Letep Dabang has charged members to continue show uncommon commitment to the growth and development of the party in the state.

He has also assured that the party remains committed to creating a level playing field for all that are interested in contesting one position or the other in the forth coming general elections.

Letep Dabang was speaking at the state APC secretariat while receiving a donation of two Sharon buses and  several campaign materials for use by two APC groups, The Apc League Of Unity and The Apc Youth Mobilization.

According to the Chairman of the party, the donation of the two buses and campaign materials by an Aspirant for the Jos North/Bassa federal constituency, Hon. Yusuf Umaru Dauda goes to show the interest of members in promoting affairs of the party all over the state and country.

Earlier while presenting the two buses and campaign materials to the APC  Chairman, Hon. Yusuf Umaru Dauda said it was his little way of encouraging and supporting the party in spreading the message to all parts of the state.

He added that as a youth,it is time for them to actively get involved and take over the political space by participating actively in the process.

Receiving one of the Sharon buses and campaign materials from state Chairman of the party, Director General of the  APC League of Unity,Mr Stephen Jings commended the donor saying one of the major challenges the league has been facing was mobility stating that this will enable them mobilize more people for the party  all over the state.

Jings said as at the last count,the APC League Unity could boast of having slightly above 26,000 (twenty six thousand) members cutting across the 17 LGAs of plateau state.

"On behalf of all our members,we want to express our gratitude you you for thinking and acting right by donating these buses and campaign materials for the APC"

And on his part state Chairman APC Youth Mobilization in the state,Eli Ankala thanked the donor and assured it will be used for the growth of the party in the state.

The presentation ceremony had in attendance members of the state working committee of the party as well as other party faithful from within the state.

Sent by Kenzy Ngupar

PLASU Lecturer elected member of European Centre for Research Training and Development UK ||:Viewpoint Nigeria

By Pam Moses

A Senior Lecturer with the Department of Psychology, Plateau State University Bokkos Mr Ismaila Yakubu has been elected as member of the European Centre For Research Training and Development UK.

The Confirmation of the Lecturer as a member of the Research body followed a certificate issued with the Registration No:5855 signed by Professor Stephen M. Jackson and Dr. Markus Hagg both from the European Centre For Research Training and Development UK.

Mr Ismaila Yakubu recognition by the International Research body is as a result of his excellent academic contributions to the Plateau State University Bokkos and NTA Television College Jos, an affiliate of the Famous Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he has served as Research Lecturer for several years.

The Lecturer who is an organizational Psychologist is to served as a member of the European Centre for Research Training and Development UK for the Period of one year.

While Speaking with ViewpointNigeria on his election into the International Research body Mr Ismaila Yakubu has this to say, “Been elected on this platform has given me some level of fulfilment in the field of research”.

Until Gen. Atolagbe is returned to Plateau, we will hold military responsible for killings, youths warn

The Plateau Youth G17 Peace and Progressive Forum has questioned the recent transfer of Maj. Gen. Anthony Atolagbe as the State's Special Task Force Commander.

While maintaining its noninterference with routine military deployments, the group expressed worry over the move at a time citizens were beginning to see 'visible signs' of  efforts at bringing perpetrators of the 'gruesome' murder of helpless farmers and the sacking of villages to book.

"We recall with apprehension,  similar redeployments in the past and the changing fortunes they have had on the efforts at curbing the incessant attacks on farming communities in the state.

"This constant change of guards at the OPSH over the years, is seen by citizens as partly responsible for government’s inability to put a permanent stop to the carnage and continues to fuel suspicion of complacency and collusion with some elements within the ranks of the security forces stationed in the state for almost a decade now," Mr. Song Muru, a Senior Official of the group said in a statement.

He added, "These postings have over the years awaken citizens to the painful reality of the correlation between an OPSH Commander’s religious or ethnic affiliations to the relative successes or failures in securing lives and property as well as effect arrest of perpetrators.

"This further strengthens the allegations of collusion in the minds of citizens as stories making the rounds points to the  complacency of one Brigadier General Bello Chieg who, it is said, is an asset to the perpetrators."

Mr. Muru feared that Plateau citizens who have developed confidence in the Nigerian army since Major General Atolagbe adopted new operational strategies resulting in the arrest of dozens of suspects of the attacks might see the transfer as witch hunt.

He said, "The relocation of his operational base as commander to the theater of conflict has in no small measure helped and is seen as proactive and a sure way in ensuring the timely and efficient deployment of troops to troubled areas thereby denying the attackers the advantage of carrying out their deadly attacks within the comforts of abundant time and space before troops are mobilized.

"His professional and unbiased handling of “orders from above” which would have compromised the effective discharge of his responsibilities is also being seen as a reason why he should be allowed to continue rather than the suspicious redeployment to defence headquarters.

"Citizens are apprehensive and agitated as his redeployment is seen as resulting from the arrest of some of the perpetrators of this senseless blood letting and genocide whose confessions are yielding credible and useful information that we believe will gave a leeway for the further arrest and unveiling of the masterminds and their billionaire sponsors.

"It is therefore disheartening and suspicious, the hurried redeployment of the Commander who we believe is starting to unravel the mystery behind the seeming invincibility of the marauding herdsmen.

"This has left us and indeed, all genuine humanists with more questions than answers on the readiness of government and its security agencies, particularly the armed forces, who have for more than a decade now, been saddled with the responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens."

The group therefore demanded the immediate reversal of the redeployment of Major Gen. Atolagbe as the commander of OPSH "in the interest of the restoration of peace in  Plateau State and the securing of justice for victims of the murderous attacks by herdsmen."

Failure to do so, the group said it shall henceforth hold the military authorities responsible for any attack.

It also demanded that a civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) should be introduced in Plateau "since it has recorded successes in many part of the North East as a collaborative and desperate measure in restoring peace and safeguarding the lives of citizens."

The group also advocated for the provision of logistics and training support to the Plateau State Operation Rainbow Police Force and "the posting of indigenous Plateau military officers and men  to various positions within the hierarchy of OPSH as a sure way to guarantee success in view of their background and knowledge of the theater of conflict which should be seen as assets in the fight against herdsmen attackers as well as locals involved."

Friday Bako||: Reward, not remove Plateau STF Commander, Gen. Atolagbe over successes against herdsmen attacks

I received with rude shock, disappointment and sadness the undeserving redeployment of Maj. General Anthony Atolagbe the Commandant Operation Safe Haven Plateau State.

In our quest for peace, permanent solution to the hostilities and killings in Plateau State, I have had the privilege of interacting with Maj. Gen. A. M. Atolagbe on three different occasions in search for better and practical ways to end the inhuman, barbaric, wicked and irrational killings.

Despite the exalted office he occupies, Maj. Gen. Atolagbe was down to earth and a listening Senior Military Officer.

My meeting him were all at his instance, when he felt there was need for more strategic ways to bring an end to the crisis in the State by bringing people he felt are critical to peace building processes and nation building in Plateau State.

In all our meetings with him, our concerns and positions have always been how attacks are carried out for a long time period by attackers without swift military intervention, possible arrest and prosecution of the killers.

He has always given us the hopeful assurance that we would soon be happy as he was working tirelessly with the personnel he superintends to ensure the era of non arrest of killers after barbaric attacks and killings is brought to a logical and beneficial end.

Now that we are beginning to feel the impacts of his assurance with the arrest of 18 suspected killers with dangerous weapons after the attacks in Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs which left over 200 persons dead, property worth hundred of millions looted/destroyed and about 19 communities sacked and being illegally occupied by the killers, he is being redeployed for reasons best known to the redeployment authorizing authorities.

We have heard that the arrested suspects are making revealing confessions on their sponsors who are highly placed personalities and Maj. Gen. Atolagbe was/still ready to ensure they are invited for questioning or arrested for possible prosecution for their roles in fuelling insecurity in Plateau State and other parts of Nigeria as well as terrorists financing.

Within the week of the gruesome genocide that killed over 200 innocent people without provocation, he painstakingly and proactively relocated the Headquarters of the Operation Safe Haven to Barkin Ladi LGA to ensure the arrest of the killers and curbing further attacks and killings.
This relocation is yielding positive results with the arrest of 18 suspected killers with sophisticated weapons.

Before now, killers would attack, maim, rape women and raze houses without any arrest, but his new tactics and swift military intervention is quite commendable.

We heard of pressure for him to transfer those arrested to Defence Headquarters which did not go down well with him considering the revelations by the suspects who are exposing their sponsors.

To me, this is not the appropriate time to redeploy this man who has put his life on the line to ensure Plateau State returns to the path of peace and becomes more safer.

We are all witness to how his professional and technical expertise stopped the escalation of the violent attacks to the State Capital, Jos as well as other parts of the State.

If indeed, the Nigerian government is sincere and honest in fighting insurgency, then Maj. Gen. Anthony Atolagbe should be encouraged with both human and material resources to perform credibly more.

Gen. Anthony Atolagbe should be allowed to carryout more investigations and arrest of killers.

He should be promoted to his next rank for doing what no Commandant has swiftly done after attacks/killings or at least given a letter of commendation for the wonderful job he is doing towards restoring peace in Plateau State and protecting our territorial integrity against external aggressors and haters of Peace.

His redeployment is unwise at this critical moment he is cracking down on the criminals having gathered sufficient intelligence information and knowledge of the State, the terrain and other sensitive information on the violent attacks.
When would the new Commandant acclimatize himself to the State, the terrain and build relationships at the time the State is going through monumental hostilities?

He has carried stakeholders along in discharging his responsibility who were providing him with intelligence information helping him in his assignments.

Reports of his redeployment on his inability to dance to the tune of some cabals has been going on for a long time in the media space but we never took same seriously.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) should as a matter of urgency revisit his redeployment, bring him back to continue arresting the criminals and exposing their sponsors.

Except if they want us to believe they are not comfortable with how he is arresting the killers.

With immediate arrest of the killers and their prosecution, that would serve as deterrent to others which in turn would restore the much needed peace to Plateau State.

Gen. Anthony Atolagbe deserves promotion or at least a commendation letter not redeployment.

I pray for the restoration of Peace, unity and harmonious living in Plateau State.

Yours Truly,
Amb. Friday Bako

Plateau: Transfer of STF Commander, Gen. Atolagbe means automatic freedom for arrested terrorist herdsmen, cries group

The Action Democratic Party (ADP) in Plateau State says the transfer of Gen. Anthony Atolagbe from the state as Special Task Force Commander could frustrate the prosecution of 25 Fulani herdsmen arrested over recent killings in the state.

Consequenrly, the party has demanded President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olanishakin and the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Tukur Burutai to reverse "with immediate effect" the transfer of the 'award winning' Operation Save Haven Commander, Gen. Atolagbe.

This it says is in view of his efforts of ensuring the arrest of perpetrators of 'genocide' against the people of B/ladi, Riyom, Mangu, Bokkos, Bassa and environs, a feat it says has never been achieved by anyone since the herdsmen killings in the Middle Belt and Nigeria at large started.

According to the party, "Gen. Atolagbe reduced the killings in Bassa LGA when he arrested the major sponsor of the dastardly acts using a modern technology from his service and experience at the United Nations where he served for twenty-Seven years out of his thirty years service in the Nigerian army.

"Like the Professional Soldier that he is, Gen. Atolagbe relocated to B/ladi LGA after the massacre of 23rd and 24th of June which led to the arrest of initial eleven Fulani Herdsmen terrorists involved in the genocide who were paraded after exhaustive investigation which revealed the conspiracy and complicity of the high and mighty in this government.

"His effort also in using personal security gadget he bought with his hard earned resources in order to save lives and properties, led to the arrest of another Seven Fulani herdsmen terrorists on their way to unleash another terror and killing of Plateau people in B/ladi and Riyom LGA's
Due to his relentless efforts and commitment to put a stop to the massacre in Plateau State, another set of seven fulani herdsmen terrorists including their major financier where apprehended and paraded, thus bringing the total of high profile Fulani Herdsmen killers to twenty-five arrested in the span of just one month."

In a statement by its Chairman, Chief Nanyah Daman, the party viewed as "astonishing and vexatious" the 'punishment' posting, rather than accolades and promotion medal to Gen. Atolagbe whom it said has done what no Nigerian General has acheived since 2001 when killings in Plateau took a 'frightening' dimension.

He said, "The ADP Plateau State frowns at the posting of the STF Commander especially because of the fact that it had been predicted earlier that because of the arrests of the fulani herdsmen terrorists and the relative peace achieved the enemies of Plateau in Aso rock, Defense heads and the military high command will remove the proffesional general.

"It is very unfortunate that the boasting of Fulani herdsmen and their sponsors in Aso rock and DHQ that the STF Commander will be removed because he refused to transfer the arrested Fulani herdsmen terrorists to Abuja to be freed like in time past, has come to pass."

The party regarded the transfered STF Commander as "a man of Justice who used his resources to get and use advanced finger prints technology on the bullet castings used by the Fulani Herdsmen terrorists to arrest the twenty-five terrorists who mawed and killed 250 innocent women, Children and men in B/ladi, Riyom, and environs."

"What a country where the evil is rewarded and the good is repremanded? Is it not disheartening for Brig. Gen. Bello (STF Chief of Staff) who has spent seven years in Plateau to be applauded (amidst widespread allegations of culpability) while the one working tirelessly to stop the killings and bring back peace on the plateau is punished by an unholy transfer? The ADP leadership questioned.

Plateau: How 8097 successful N-Power candidates can get deployment certs

The Office of the Federal Government's N-Power social investment programme has released the modalities the collection of deployment letters and other steps necessary for the qualification of successful candidates for monthly stipends.

The details are expected to be communicated through state coordinators of the programme nationwide.

For Plateau State, candidates are expected to collect their deployment letters from their respective Local Government Health Directors for those in N-Health and from Local Government Education Secretaries' offices state wide for those in N-teach on Monday July 30, 2018.

Those on N-Agro in the Southern zone are expected to collect same letters from PADP Office Shendam, those in Central Plateau are to do so in PADP Office Mangu while PADP Jos office takes care of those in the Northern zone.

A communication by the Plateau State Focal person of the program, Dr. Sumaye Hamza says those who collect the deployment forms should report to their places of Primary Assignments where the letters will be stamped.

Once that is done, they are expected to immediately upload their signed and stamped letters on their N-portals, the communication says.

Only those who complete the above processes will qualify to receive their stipends from August 31, 2018, says Dr. Hamza in the communication.

Plateau Killings: How Ex STF Commander, Gen. Atolagbe was victimized for choosing justice

The Special Task Force (STF) commander in plateau state Maj. Gen. Atolagbe has been removed!

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (NACBAN) and their Fulani patrons in Aso Rock did this.

Gen Atolagbe has served the Nigerian army for about 30 years and about 27 years of this is with the United Nations,he is a professional soldier.

He's problems started when he refused to allow the Fulani terrorists have a field day in plateau state, he arrested 11 Fulani terrorists and paraded them, the first time this happened in Nigeria after they attacked and killed people, he was ordered from above to transfer them to Abuja where they intended to bury the story but he refused saying they should be tried in the jurisdiction of the area where the crime was committed!

He went further to arrest another 7 Fulani terrorists and a third arrest of another 7 making a total of 25 high profile Fulani terrorists, including the financier of Fulani herdsmen terrorists in Nigeria who had bank transaction evidence linking him to a lot of higher ups in the country and also he exposed the armourer of Fulani herdsmen terrorists to the General during interrogation, his revelation was to say the least shocking!

Gen Atolagbe was ordered from above to stop arresting Fulani terrorists and release the ones arrested to ogas at the top but he refused,saying justice must be served.

Just yesterday (July 23, 2018), he was invited to the National Assembly where he said he could soon be relieved of his post but that he would always stand by the Truth.. It happened today! (July 24, 2018).

He had used advanced finger prints technology on the bullet casings used by the Fulani terrorists to apprehend them,a technology I learnt he bought with his own money after the Defense HQ refused to get it for him!

All for his quest for justice!
It is now glaring that the Fulani herdsmen terrorists have godfathers in Aso Rock and can kill Nigerians anytime and anywhere and get away with it!

Nigerians must rise up and say no to this Buhari govt sponsored Fulani expansionist movement!

This great country of ours is under serious threat...

We must wake up!

My name is Adebayo lion Ogorry and I have said my mind!

Killings: What Plateau needs to know about the sudden removal of STF Commander, Gen. Atolagbe

The replacement of Maj. General Anthony Atolagbe with Maj. Gen. Chukwudi Agundu as the Special Task Force Commander in Plateau State may have been triggered by his persistent resolve to ensure justice and stamp out violent attacks on Plateau communities.

Gen. Atolagbe's trials began when he moved the STF Operational headquarters to Barkin Ladi town, the headquarters of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area where suspected herdsmen attacks have concentrated in the recent past.

His decision to relocate came shortly after the killing of over 200 in Barkin Ladi and two other LGAs by armed herdsmen.

He had facilitated the arrest of two Fulani herdsmen and 15 native youths over the attacks and subsequent reprisals in the Plateau State capital.

On the day he relocated the STF, he paraded 11 more attack suspects who were later said to be making daring confessions to Police in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

A Presidency source had reported that the suspects' confessions had indicted many top politicians in the nation's northern region.

As such, the former United Nations Peace keeping troupe Commander, Gen. Atolagbe was perceived to be a threat to the political class who are believed to have an interest in the Plateau attacks.

Consequently, the plots for his removal began as reported early July by this medium.

Gen. Atolagbe had in addition to the earlier arrests moved funds to facilitate the purchase of operational motorcycles for his Special Forces to enable them navigate difficult terrains and effectively solve crimes.

This followed the State Governor, Simon Lalong's alleged refusal to grant the STF's request for such provisions.

He had equally commenced the compilation of records of destructions by herdsmen on natives' farms among others for onward mobilization of compensation.

This was after he declined a bribe of 100 cows from some interest parties to relax his security architecture in favour of certain parties in the conflicts.

Gen. Atolagbe's sins came to a climax after he paraded seven more herdsmen attack suspects, among whom was the Chief Armourer of the herdsmen, in Lugere, a Fulani seized native community located near recently attacked Marabar Kantoma village near the Plateau State NYSC Secretariat, Mangu.

The suspects are equally said to be making more daring confessions, revealing the sources of their arms and finances.

On the day of the parade, very unlike the STF, it was the Acting Defense Information Director, Brig. John Agim that addressed newsmen as against the popular tradition of having suspects paraded by local authorities.

The idea according to sources was to have the suspects moved to Abuja for possible manipulation of evidences and subsequent release.

Although a vehicle was brought to the STF headquarters wherein the suspects were moved to an unknown location, believed to the Abuja, the STF Commander, Gen. Atolagbe was said to be opposed to the idea.

Sources say Gen. Atolagbe insisted that the crimes were committed in Plateau state, as such, their trial must be done in the state.

This was believed to have further severed relationships between him and some superior powers in the nation's seat of power, Abuja.

The powers are not yet known but Gov. Simon Lalong of the state has severally said he knew some of the attackers and that he had been having meetings with herdsmen in the state towards peace building.

Lalong has equally been said to have paid huge sums of money to herdsmen as compensation to prevent attacks.

This may have necessitated Gen. Atolagbe's compilation of destructions done to farms, in view of his believe that all citizens must be treated equally and fairly.

Atolagbe had shortly before opposing the movement of the arrested suspects flouted orders to carry out a violent raid on Fan community in respect of alleged cattle rustling.

The Army General according to sources had insisted on hunting only armed rustlers instead of victimizing entire communities.

Sources had said the Governor might be one of those working to cover up crimes by withholding support for the STF Commander.

He has however publicly stated his resolve to restore peace in the state, though he has never visited any of the attacked communities in recent years.

He has equally attempted blaming the attacks on political conspiracy from the opposition while insisting ranches were a solution.

Despite that, a primary school in his local government, Shendam was recently attacked by suspected herdsmen, bringing to question the mutuality in his supposed relationship with the herders community.

Jos: STF Commander removed as earlier predicted by MKB

Nigeria's Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin has approved the appointment of Major General Augustine Chris Chukwudi Agundu as the new Commander, Operation Safe Haven, Plateau State.

Gen. Agundi takes over from Major General Anthony Atolagbe who has been redeployed to Defence Headquarters and appointed Director of Campaign Planning, an official statement says.

The posting, according to the statement signed by Brigadier General John Agim,
Acting Director Defence Information,Defense Headquarters, Abuja takes immediate effect in order to reinvigorate Operation Safe Haven to meet contemporary challenges.

The statement dated July 23, 2018 confirms earlier reports by this medium that some superior powers were planning the removal of Maj. Gen. Atolagbe, the outgoing STF Commander over alleged insubordination.

Atolagbe had taken a new stance against armed attackers by relocating to Barkin Ladi town after the June 23 attacks in Northern Plateau which led to the death of over 200 people.

His relocation which was followed by the arrest of over 20 herdsmen in connection with the attacks was believed to have angered some super powers in the Presidency who commenced moves for his immediate removal.

"Moving to B/Ladi made it hard for him to predicted and monitored, thereby angering the super powers," a Presidency source had reported.

Atolagbe is one of the few removed before the official 2year tenure for the Commanders elapsed over alleged insubordination.

In Sept. 2015, Major General Tabugbo Ude took over as the 8th Special Task Force Commander (Operation Safe Haven) following the redeployment of senior military officers by the Nigerian Army.

General Ude took over from Major General David Enetie who assumed duty as the 7th STF commander on the 9th of September 2013, replacing Maj. Gen. Henry Ayoola.

Gen. Ude was replaced by Gen. Rogers Nicholas in July 2016.

The appointment of a substantive Commander for the task force followed the retirement of Major General Tagbo Ude in June.

Major-General Rogers Nicholas soon handed-over to his successor, Major-General Anthony Atolagbe in August 2017.

Major General Henry Ayoola had taken over from Major Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim in May 2012 after serving three months.

Gen. Mohammed who assumed duty in February 2012 was redeployed by the then military authorities over complacency.

According to The Guardian Newspaper of 12th May, 2012, "Since Gen. Ibrahim assumed office as Commander, a day hardly passed without one attack or the other.

"Even when he assumed office on Sunday, February 26, he was greeted by suicide bombers who bombed the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) the next Sunday."

It was under Gen. Mohammed in May 2012 that 500 people were killed in a said military raid in five Southern Plateau villages in Wase LGA.

Gen. Mohammed took over from Hassan Umaru under whose watch the Plateau herdsmen attacks began to gain momentum with widespread allegations of military complacency in 2010.

He took over from Gen. A.M. Maina, the then GOC and STF Commander in late 2010.

It was under Maina that the Dogo Nahawa massacre took place, heralding the first monumental damage caused by herdsmen in Plateau and the Nigerian Middlebelt region.

Then Gov. Jang at the time claimed he kept calling the military Commander for intervention during the attacks but he didn't pick up.

In effect,

Gen. Umaru Hassan replaced Maina in 2010, served two years with alleged anomalies in the management of the Plateau crises, leaving in 2012.

Major Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim Gen. Mohammed who assumed duty in February 2012 was redeployed in three months under Goodluck Jonathan following alleged highhandedness in the management of security in the state.

Major General Henry Ayoola took over from Major Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim in May 2012 and served one year after reportedly improving civil-military relations and subduing attacks in the state.

David Enaetie replaced Gen. Ayoola in September 2013, leaving in September 2015 under GEJ.

Tabugbo Ude reported in September 2015, and was allegedly forcefully retired in June 2016 after President Buhari took over.

Maj. Gen. Nicholas Rogers took over in July 2016 and left in August 2017, exactly one year.

Gen. Atolagbe Anthony was deployed in August 2017 and also faces redeployment in one year.

It is not known how effective the new STF Commander would be in handling the continued attacks on Plateau native communities.

Observers already express fear that he could be complacent given his ethnic nationality which is stereotyped to be money loving.

The truth of it however can only be known as time proceeds.

Plateau Peace Agency seeks UN security training for youths

The Director General of the Plateau State Peace Building Agency, Joseph Lengmang has called on the United Nations Development Program to consider training youths in Plateau state on best ways to work with security agencies to improve on the protection of lives and property.

Lengmang made the request to the UNDP when he attended as guest the ongoing training of 451 young men and women who are members of the Civilian JTF and vigilante Group of Nigeria VGN by the UNDP and the citizenship and Leadership training center Sherre Hills in Jos East Local Government Area of Plateau state.

State is also facing security challenges with resurgence of attacks on selected communities despite deliberate efforts  by Government to ensure peace and protection of Libes and property of citizens.

He told the UNDP that plateau has an able,capable and  committed youth population who are determined to contribute meaningfully to the peace process by supporting all existing peace and security structures on the ground.

According to Lengmang, issues of security at this point cannot be left in the hands of the Security agencies alone as such the UNDP can consider a separate training on peace and security to youths in the state so that it can compliment efforts of the security agents on the ground stressing that information gathering and appropriate dissemination can play a strategic role in the Security sphere

He then welcomed the trainees on behalf of the Government and good people of Plateau state assuring that the existence such a training center in the state is a blessing to the state and country

Earlier,State coordinator of the Citizenship and Leadership Training Center Sherre Hills, Abdulmumuni Maimako thanked the Plateau State Government for its hospitality and said the 451 selected Civilian JTF and VGN members were drawn from the 3 Northeast states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe and being trained by the UNDP on how best to collaborate with security agencies for effectiveness in their communities.

N-Power: 8092 Plateau candidates enrolled for Batch 2

A total of 8,092 candidates from Plateau State have been selected for the second batch of the Federal Government's N-Power Social Investment Programme.

Of the number, 2672 candidates are for the NAgro category, 4580 for NTeach while 840 are for NHealth, says a statement by Dr. Sumaye Hamza, Executive Assistant to the Governor and Plateau State Focal Person, Social Investment Programme.

According to the statement, all the successfully onboarded and deployed final selection volunteers are engaged for a period of 2 years beginning August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2020.

All successful candidates are expected to upload on their N-Power portal page their STAMPED & SIGNED Confirmation of Resumption in order to qualify for their first stipend payment due by August 31, 2018, the statement says.

This according to Dr. Hamza will however be after they have been informed on their deployment statuses.

The statement appreciates President Muhammadu Buhari, the Vice President and Governor, Simon Bako Lalong for providing succor to teeming unemployed youths, while congratulating all Successful Candidates.

It however tasks the successful candidates to be committed in carrying out their responsibilities as assigned by their Places of Primary Assignment [PPA].

Combating Fake News and the Emotive Pathway to Self-Destruction By Jibrin Ibrahim ||Premium Times Nigeria

Over the weekend, I participated in facilitating a workshop by Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) and its indefatigable executive director, Y. Z. Ya’u for young people on understanding and responding to fake news and hate speech, which have become some of the most serious problems of our time. In 2016, Oxford dictionaries picked ‘post-truth’ as the word of the year after Trump won the American elections, in spite of the fact that 70 per cent of what he said during the campaign was false or misleading and the voters knew this. In the post-truth world, objective facts have been shown to be less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to personal beliefs and emotions. If you are able to strike the right emotional pitch with people, they will disregard any fact that challenges their beliefs and, as the saying now goes, will seek out the “alternative facts” that comfort their beliefs.

A whole new science has been developed on how to use “alternative facts” to produce desired political outcomes and its practitioners have been very busy. Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics company, had over the years designed the weaponisation of political campaign information to “destroy” political enemies by portraying their political positions as evil and stirring strong negative emotions in the process. We now know that a Goodluck Jonathan campaign backer recruited them in 2015 to fabricate and spread negative stories about the then opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari. As the Observer newspaper revealed, they produced video content that was: “Dark. Scary. And very uncertain – Sharia for all” era was coming, they screamed. They emphasised the question: “What would Nigeria look like if Sharia were imposed by Buhari?” They provided the answer in a graphic, violent one minute, 19 seconds of archival news footage from Nigeria’s troubled past, set to a horror movie soundtrack with scenes of people being macheted to death. Their legs hacked off. Their skulls caved in. If Buhari wins, the video warned: All women would be forced to wear the veil. And, Sharia law would be introduced immediately Buhari comes into power.

Today, the social media are inundated with images of alleged “Fulani herdsmen” carrying sophisticated weapons, which they use in killing innocent farmers in the Middle Belt, while seizing their ancestral land. In a fascinating session on the Middle Belt facilitated by Dr. Yima Sen and Chom Bagu, they addressed the fact that the purveyors of these images have been told repeatedly that they are fake and most of them are not even from Nigeria but what do facts matter when people have over time been made to believe they are true. With every community conflict, the same fake pictures of mutilated bodies are circulated as evidence of the killings and people believe them, while it’s so easy to check when and in what countries those images first appeared. The strategy of weaponising political campaigns is to use the fact that conflicts are occurring and people are being killed to construct a narrative of one-sided killings and raising the barometer of hate by accompanying the narrative with pictures that enhance the level of hate. I know that some Nigerian newspapers which have been shown with evidence that the pictures they are showing are fake, yet they persist in continuing to use them because they know it achieves the objective of multiplying hatred against the political leader they want to send out of office. Our problems are many and serious, but they are being deliberately being made worse by agents of discord.

During the workshop, simple internet tools were used to show that many such images are fake and their origins could easily be traced. Participants were quite shocked at how they have been consistently misled over time. The lack of balance in media reporting was also discussed extensively because fake news is not just about truth versus lies but also about whether the entire truth is being told. When herders kill farmers and farmers kill herders and only one side of the story is reported by the media, then people feel justified in the judgment that’s it’s not a conflict but simply genocide. It was in this context that the workshop focused attention of how fake news is instrumentalised to increase conflict and the killings, rather than the desired goal of seeking peace and engaging in conflict resolution. As the 2019 election approaches, many players are simply interested in spilling more blood to facilitate their access to power.

The social media, Dapo Olorunyomi of PREMIUM TIMES told the workshop, has become the largest newsroom in Nigeria. Facebook alone has 25 million users in Nigeria, each acting as a journalist who makes and distributes media content. With no notion of the veracity or falsehood of content that they are spreading, they are able to impact greatly on the emotions of those that they communicate with. Facebook algorithms aggregate people who share the same views, emotions and fears and the same fake news and false images are circulated among people who have made up their minds on a particular narrative and are continuously being comforted that their ignorance is the truth and woe unto anyone who seeks to question the evidence they have “seen with their own eyes”.

The outcome of this process is the near collapse of trust and the massive circulation of conspiracy theories. Facts are recounted; the Jihad of 1804 tried to conquer what we now call the Middle Belt and failed. Surely, the only reason Buhari would have sought power was to complete the objective of his forefathers. Self-help then becomes self-fulfilling prophesy. To stop the Jihad, herders are killed and their cattle stolen. When they retaliate, it becomes evidence that the objective of the Jihad is being pursued with vigour. When Muslim farmers are killed in Zamfara State, there is a rational explanation: It is banditry and criminality. When Christian farmers are killed in Benue, its Jihad and religious war. No one wants to know if criminality and banditry have spread into Benue as well. As for the herders, no one remembers their history, that in the past five hundred years, they have never tried to settle on a specific piece of land.

Fake news does not exist in a vacuum, it thrives in a gullible environment where people have been trained to accept single emotive narratives. Of course, the lack of effective response to growing insecurity by government and its security agencies provides the empirical basis for conspiracy theories. If government is not stopping the killings, then it means they want the killings to continue and grow. They may even be the ones funding these. Few people are ready to consider the alternative explanation of the simple incompetence of President Buhari and his security team. The president knows fully well that the security team he has appointed are not performing and he has stubbornly retained them. He therefore has direct responsibility for the growing belief in the conspiracy theories. The government tells Nigerians on a daily basis that it will end the insecurity facing the country but we are not told how and when, so citizens are compelled to explore alternative sources of information and explanation.

The reality on the ground today is that the combination of fake news, hate speech and poor governance have deepened the polarisation of Nigeria along ethnic, religious and regional lines. The crisis of pastoralism has been re-written as a continuous communal and religious war. Reassurance from the government is necessary to dispel fears within certain communities that the Buhari “Deep State” is targeting them. Government policy must be clear that no livestock production models would be imposed on any community. Competent leadership must be sought to improve the security situation in the country. Above all, all of us Nigerians must seek to be less gullible. The spirit and the skills of the verification of what we hear and see must improve if we are to get out of the trap of mutual self-destruction. It will take time to rebuild trust but let’s begin by fact-checking what we are told so that the fear that the other has plans to destroy us can begin to recede. Let’s start resisting profiling the other as the incarnation of evil that we must destroy by pre-emptive moves. The task of combating fake news and hate speech is everybody’s responsibility.

A professor of Political Science and development consultant/expert, Jibrin Ibrahim is a Senior Fellow of the Centre for Democracy and Development, and Chair of the Editorial Board of PREMIUM TIMES.