The newspaper review for Wednesday, February 14, leads with story of herdsmen sacking a local government in Ondo state and the demand by a northern group for emergency rule in some states of the federation among other stories.
Thisday reports that President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja said with the narrowing of the recruitment base of insurgents and the renewed onslaught on Boko Haram by the Nigerian army, the days of the terror group were numbered.
Buhari who made this remark while receiving letter of credence from Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to Nigeria, Most Rev. Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, at the State House, said the terror group had lost host of its initial strongholds, which according to him, had forced it into a steady retreat that would eventually culminate in its total end.
The president berated the group, saying: “You can’t indoctrinate people who are below the age of 14 years and blow up churches, mosques, markets and you keep shouting God is great.”
He added: “It is either you don’t know what you are saying, or you simply don’t care or believe what you are saying. It is part of our success story that Boko Haram is finding it more difficult to recruit people. The Nigerian Army is also not making it easy for them to grow, with more intelligence, orientation and regular, measured onslaught on their camps.’’
According to him, the ongoing effort to dismember the terror group, and render it completely powerless will be intensified as he described the Catholic Church as a strong partner in the development of Nigeria, noting that the church had made very significant contributions to the development of educational and health system of the country.
On corruption, the president also stated that the fight against the culture of pilfering public funds would be sustained as he advocated a new orientation through the repositioning of the nation’s entire educational system, adding that African Union (AU) had also keyed into the fight against corruption.
“I am pleased that the African Union has spoken out boldly against corruption and appreciated the work that we are doing here,’’ Buhari stated.
Responding, Filipazzi said Pope Francis had taken a keen interest in the fight against terrorism, corruption and reviving of the Nigerian economy.
“Mr. president, the Holy Father, sends his warm greetings and he is keen to denounce corruption everywhere,’’ he stated.
The Guardian reports that following an emergency meeting, yesterday, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in Taraba, Kaduna, Benue and Zamfara states to curb bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen. It also demanded the suspension of political structures and the appointment of administrators to run the states’ affairs until security is restored.
The spokesman, Mallam Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, who disclosed the group’s position on key national issues, warned that dire consequences await President Buhari and other public office holders particularly from the North in the 2019 polls, if they fail to take decisive steps to arrest the level of insecurity in the country.
The CNG asked the Federal Government to disband all militias by force if necessary, and vehemently rejected calls for the establishment of state police, arguing it would be a recipe for disaster and an oppressive and manipulative tool at the hands of governors.
“We emphatically repudiate the vilification of one ethnic and religious group or the other for whatever reason or justification."
In this light, we deem the targeting of the entire Fulani and by extension, Muslims, for vilification, systematic dehumanisation, profiling, alienation or any action that will render them objects of attack and persecution, not only immoral and illegal, but also abhorrent to our sensibilities and ordinary decency and therefore unacceptable,” the coalition said.
The CNG said federal and state governments “must immediately identify suitable lands across the country and create grazing reserves and cattle routes.” But where “resistance is shown,” the lands must be “expropriated through resort to extant provisions of the Land Use Act and other related laws.”It demanded the establishment of a “National Policy on Grazing and Livestock Development,” to oversee the needs of pastoral communities across the country. It also demanded the “immediate setting up of a National Pastoralist Commission, to act on all matters affecting the wellbeing and interests of all citizens whose livelihoods depend on livestock rearing.”
Punch reports that Nobel laureate, Profersoor Wole Soyinka, has said President Muhammadu Buhari is in a trance.
This is just as herdsmen struck again in Osun and Ondo states, sacking a council secretariat and burning a farm settlement.
Soyinka said he came to his conclusion based on “unforced errors,” adding that the President’s body language had aggravated killings by herdsmen in the country.
The playwright spoke in Lagos on Tuesday at a press conference titled, ‘Nomads and nation: Valentine card or valedictory rites.’
Soyinka, while reacting to a question on the three things he would tell the President if he met him, said, “I will say Mr. President you are in a trance.”
He noted that the sooner the President got out of the trance, the better for the nation.
Asked the form of trance the President was in, the respected playwright said, “I don’t know. So many unforced errors; take for instance, the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf, that was reinstated by the President.
“What is that about? What is going on?”
Recalling that the menace of the killer herdsmen started about eight years ago, he said the current administration’s body language aggravated the situation.
He called on hunters, vigilance and voluntary groups to disarm the killer herdsmen if police refused to check their activities.
What should the federal government do to tackle the herdsmen attacks in the country? - on NAIJ.com TV.