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Ruga Settlements: Uproar As FG Plans Cattle Colonies Nationwide …May Use N2.26bn Grazing Reserve Budget …Nigerians Threaten Protest Against Plan

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The Federal Government originally planned to have the controversial Ruga settlements in the 36 states of the country and not only in 12 states, investigations have shown.
But the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum and Ekiti Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said the Ruga initiative had been blown out of proportion.
He, however, said no state would be forced to surrender its land to the Federal Government for the project.
But strong indications emerged, last Saturday, that members of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may call for the investigation into the Federal Government-sponsored Ruga projects for Fulani herdsmen across the country.
It was learnt that funding arrangements, as well as other things that would ensure a seamless operation of the settlements, were still being discussed.
Senior officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, who had earlier given the names of states where the settlements were currently being perfected, disclosed that the affected states and the Federal Government were still discussing many other issues about the settlements, including funding.
The source said: “Generally, it is a policy conceived by the Federal Government to cover the entire country. But the government decided to discuss it with the states and said states that are willing should indicate interest.
“Of course, the Federal Government is going to carry the states that are interested along. It is mainly between the Federal Government and the interested states, discussions are still ongoing and we can’t give a final figure on funding now.
“But we are surprised at the political undertone that this issue is having. Why will a group from Benue stage a protest that government wants to invade their land?”
The Permanent Secretary, FMARD, Mohammed Umar, had last Tuesday, said security personnel known as agro-rangers would provide security at the Ruga settlements.
Umar also said the state governments that indicated interest had been visiting the ministry to get details about the initiative, as discussions were still ongoing to perfect the scheme.
He said, “Already, state and local governments are buying into the initiative. Many states have indicated interest. They have been coming to the ministry and stated their interest to join to ensure that we set up Ruga settlements in their states so that their nomads will have a place. They will also have cattle markets and modern abattoirs in their states.”
Meanwhile, Governors of the South-Eastern states have been warned to reject the proposed federal government’s Ruga Farm Settlement initiative or face the wrath of the people.
The Archbishop of Enugu Province Anglican Communion and Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma who gave the warning said that any governor in the zone that gives land for Ruga would be forced out of office.
Speaking at St Ebenezer Anglican Church, Independent Layout Phase II, Enugu during a Thanksgiving service of Second Session of the 17th Synod of the diocese, Archbishop Chukwuma said he would personally lead a revolution to stop the governors if they tried to succumb to the enticement of the Federal government.
The cleric who had explained to the congregation the implications of the Ruga Farm Settlement on the zone and the nation at large called on church leaders to speak up and condemn the Ruga move.
He said: “They are giving states N1 billion to accept the Ruga project. I told you I am a spiritual, political mafia; I have told the governors of the South-East states, they must not accept that N1 billion to give land for Ruga.
“If they do it, I will lead a revolution to stop it. So I am using this synod to warn that no governor in the South-East should venture to give land for Ruga otherwise, they will be forced out of government house.”
Charging the people to be watchful and prayerful, Chukwuma said some of them who are religious leaders have their network and were monitoring what goes on in the country, adding that he was not afraid of anybody.
He said: “As I stand here, I am not afraid of Buhari; I’m not afraid of anybody. I am not be afraid of them because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.
“Church leaders should cry out and condemn this Ruga settlement in all its entirety because it is dangerous and it is part of the foxes that will enter into our local governments and before you know it we are no more indigenes of your place.
Also, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Reverend Adewale Martins has called on the federal government to listen to the cries of Nigerians against the establishment of cattle colonies in states across the country.
He spoke to our correspondent shortly after administering the sacrament of confirmation on over 500 adherent of the Catholic faithful at the St Joseph Catholic Church, Kirikiri Town, saying that the establishment of Fulani settlement in states, in the name of Ruga, will create fear and suspicion among the people of the state.
He urged the federal government to take the fear of the people of Nigeria into consideration and think out a way of settling the problems between farmers and herders, especially in the consideration that the crisis between the herdsmen and some communities in the country, which had claimed many lives, had been witnessed in the past.
His words: “Before now it had been settlement for herdsmen and suddenly we are hearing about Ruga; it’s a very strange name to me; it just like finding another word for what people had rejected which obviously means that the Federal government needs to listen to what the people are saying. The experience of the so-called herdsmen in so many places is not pleasant, and so naturally, if you want to come settle them there, it’s bound to bring up fear and suspicion and therefore it’s important that federal government should listen and therefore think out another option for what they are talking about such that the way people are thinking. They can be given assurance that nobody is trying to take their land.”
The Catholic Archbishop again supported recent comment by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that there is an agenda to “fulanised” Nigeria by the present government, explaining that, “people are worried, and they are concerned; the experience of the Fulani herdsmen that we had in the last five years had not been pleasant at all, and if nothing had been done to checkmate their activities, anybody can have a feeling that there is an agenda. And indeed, it gives one a very strong feeling that there is an agenda to stir the country towards that direction, an agenda to dominate others which our government needs to take seriously.”
He called on the government to take the allegation seriously and do more to reassure Nigerians that it was not working towards that direction, especially as the measure of trust that they need from Nigerians is not there and there is a need to build that trust if Nigerians will really take them seriously.
Archbishop Martins urged the government to do more to clear the container-bearing trailers in the Apapa, Kirikiri area to ensure that the people of the area enjoy their stay in Lagos.
He lamented the heavy-traffic gridlock at inward Kirikiri from Mile 2, calling on both state and federal governments to work towards opening up the road for easy access to the Kirikiri town.
The cleric called on the government to fix the road to ensure that there is easy entry and exit in and out of the Kirikiri town.
Earlier in his homily, the Catholic clergy called on politicians to do their job the way God had instructed them to.
He admonished Christians to always listen to the call of God, urging them to always follow Christ, learn from Him and live by Him.
The Parish Priest of St Joseph Catholic Church Kirikiri, Reverend Father Cletus Udoh thanked the archbishop for coming especially in consideration of his busy scheduled.
As the controversy over the setting up of Ruga Cattle Colony in 12 states of the country to aid cattle grazing hots up, leaders of Benue State, Ontiv Professional Association, Abuja, Sunday has urged the Federal government to stay action or face legal action.
Although, the Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo has dissociated himself from the project through his Special Adviser on Media, Laolu Akande, who explained that “government will not impose on any state (use of) of its land.”
But at a media parley in Abuja, its Chairman, Engr Benjamin Nyior, who aligned with the Benue State, and maintained that anything short of their demands would mean that “Benue people are targets of annexation in their fatherland.”
He questioned the abrupt mobilisation of contractors to site when discussions were still ongoing with representatives of government.
He said: “In rising against it, we shall seek all lawful avenues of redress to achieve the wishes of the people of Benue State. Although we are aware that land could be acquired for Overriding Public Interest, RUGA settlements, to our understanding, does not qualify under the Land Use Act for this criterion.
“We are also aware that it is settled law as expressed in the case of R. Nkwocha v Governor of Anambra State by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the effect that “individual rights to land ownership cannot be expropriated for any other individual or group of individuals.
“The people of the state have spontaneously demonstrated with peaceful protests their dissatisfaction with this project which to the least seeks to forcefully take over Tiv ancestral lands for the Fulani ethnic group and impose eventual actualisation of the takeover of the Benue Valley for the Fulani ethnic group.
“We wish to be assuaged that this decision is not contemplated by the Federal government for purpose as insinuated above and that Benue and in fact all Nigerians are proud members of project Nigeria and so will not be denied their rights to the advantage of another ethnic group in this country.”
Alternatively, Nyior suggested that money budgeted for the establishment of the project should be channeled towards resettling displaced indigenes who are still in camps.
“We affirm strongly that RUGA is not what the state needs at this point. Our people need re-settlement, restoration of their pride as members of the Nigerian project, restoration to their farms to continue to feed the nation and to live peacefully with themselves believing that their protection by the government will be guaranteed,” he added.

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How Soldiers Helped Me Escape, Kidnap Kingpin Reveals …They Opened Fire On Police, Took Me To Their HQ, Cut My Handcuffs …How We Re-Arrested Hamisu Wadume –Police …IGP Hails Operatives

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A suspected kidnap lord in Taraba State, Hamisu Bala popularly known as Wadume, has been reportedly re-arrested and taken to the Louis Edet House Force headquarters in Abuja.
It was not immediately clear when and where Wadume was taken into custody, but a police source confirmed the development, yesterday.
However, Wadume was sighted at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, yesterday.
In his reaction, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has commended the police operatives for their painstaking efforts in the re-arrest of Taraba notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, disclosed this, yesterday, in a statement in Abuja.
He said Wadume was re-arrested in the late hours of Monday in his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
Mba said the police had been on a massive manhunt for the suspect since August 6.
He said the manhunt followed the incident in Ibi, Taraba that led to the killing of three police officers and two civilians as well as injuring of five others.
Mba said the suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the first arrest, was subsequently released by his “rescuers”.
The FPRO said the IGP had expressed his profound gratitude to Nigerians for their show of love and empathy to the Force and the families of the murdered officers and civilians.
“The re-arrest of Wadume will help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect,” Mba quoted the IGP as saying.
It would be recalled that Wadume was the ‘high profile’ kidnapping suspect arrested by the police on August 6.
He was being driven to Jalingo, the state capital by the police team when soldiers opened fire on them along Ibi-Wukari Road, killing three police officers and a civilian.
The attack immediately sparked friction between the police and the Nigerian Army, as well as a nationwide apprehension, prompting President Muhammadu Buhari to order an investigation.
The investigation panel, which includes persons with police and military background, was initially scheduled to conclude its findings, last week, but the team sought additional two weeks to wrap up.
Meanwhile, captured suspected kidnapper, HamisuBala Wadume, has explained how he escaped from the operatives of Intelligence Response Team on August 6.
Wadume escaped from the custody of IRT operatives when they came under attack from soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State, as they conveyed the kidnap suspect from the scene of his arrest.
The Army later explained that the soldiers attacked the IRT operatives when they mistook them for criminals, following a distress call they had received.
In the said attack, three policemen and a civilian were killed, while five other operatives sustained injuries.
Wadume was, however, re-arrested on the eve of Monday, August 19, Force spokesperson Frank Mba said yesterday
In a video clip posted on the verified Twitter handle of Nigeria Police Force yesterday, Wadume, who spoke in Hausa, virtually implicated soldiers at the Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State, in his escape from the IRT custody.
Wadume spoke in Hausa, which was interpreted by our in-house staff member.
The suspect, who is alleged to have received millions of naira as ransom from his victims, said, “My name is Hamisu Bala Wadume.
“Police came to arrest me, When they arrested me, army chased after them and opened fire.
“From there, they (soldiers) took me to their headquarters, and cut up my handcuffs.
“I went back to my house and Police came to re-arrest me…”
Also, Force spokesman, Frank Mba, has described how the Police re-arrested millionaire kidnapper, Hamisu Wadume.
Wadume escaped when the operatives of Intelligence Response Team came under attack from soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State, as they conveyed the kidnap suspect from the scene of his arrest.
“His arrest followed massive manhunt launched by the Police special forces and IRT members,” Mba said in a statement released to media yesterday.
The statement read, “The operatives of the Nigeria Police have re-arrested the notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume.
“He was re-arrested in the late hours of Monday, August 19, at his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
“It would be recalled that the Police had been on the massive manhunt for the suspect, Alhaji HamisuBala Wadume, since August 6, following the unfortunate incident in Ibi, Taraba State which resulted in the brutal murder of three Police Officers and two civilians, and injury to five others.
“The suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the incident, was subsequently released by his “rescuers” after they had destroyed the restraining handcuffs.”
The Police noted that Wadume’s arrest,” will, no doubt, help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect”.
Reacting to the recapture of the kidnapper, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has commended the police operatives for their efforts in the re-arrest of Taraba notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume.
The Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, disclosed this yesterday in a statement in Abuja.
He said Wadume was re-arrested in the late hours of Monday in his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
Mba said the police had been on a massive manhunt for the suspect since August 6.
He said the manhunt followed the incident in Ibi, Taraba that led to the killing of three police officers and two civilians as well as injuring of five others.
Mba said the suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the first arrest, was subsequently released by his “rescuers”.
The FPRO said the IGP had expressed his profound gratitude to Nigerians for their show of love and empathy to the Force and the families of the murdered officers and civilians.
“Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni while commending the Police operatives for their perseverance and painstaking efforts, has expressed his profound gratitude to all Nigerians for their unparalleled show of love and empathy to the Force and the families of the officers and patriotic civilians who paid the supreme price in the service of their fatherland.
It is his belief that the re-arrest of Wadume, will help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect,” Mba quoted the IGP as saying. The Army is yet to respond to the allegation of the kidnap kingpin.

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Wike Lauds US, RSG’s Synergy To Fight HIV/AIDS …As Symington Unveils $75m Funding Grant

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has commended the United States Government for working with the state government to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the state.
Also, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Stuart Symington said that the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) administered by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Department of Defence, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was implementing an Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) surge programme in Rivers State to identify and provide treatment to approximately 180,000 PLHIV who have not previously received such.
The two leaders spoke at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, during a high-profile meeting on the promotion of the health of Rivers people.
Wike said: “I want to thank the Government of the United States for working with the Rivers State Government to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
“I thank the United States Government for recognising the contributions of the Rivers State Government in the fight against HIV/AIDS “.
Wike assured the United States Government that his administration would continue to fund programmes that would reduce the prevalence of the healthcare challenge.
“We will continue to work for the reduction of HIV/AIDS in the state. We are glad that we are partners with the US Government. For us, health is key. Education is key. With Education, you can talk to people on measures to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
“At present, with the support of the United States Government, we are running 115 sites to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS”, he said.
He said that the health programmes of the Rivers State Government is yielding results as the immunisation statistics of the state has moved from 54 per cent to 82 per cent.
Speaking further, Wike thanked the United States Government for insisting that votes count in Rivers State during the last General Election.
He said that the United States Government ensured that democracy survived in the country, despite the fact that it came under threat.
It would recalled that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike recently announced that the Rivers State Government would pay the user-fees for People Living with HIV in the state to access free treatment.
In his remarks, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Stuart Symington said the U.S. Government’s $75million budget increase for HIV control activities in Nigeria, with about $25million allocated for the ART surge activities.
Symington thanked Wike for announcing his intent to eliminate user-fees for PLHIV.
The ambassador emphasized that Wike’s pronouncement serves as an example to other states and the Federal Government to eliminate such user-fees.
“The United States remains committed to supporting Nigeria as it works to reduce and ultimately eliminate the scourge of HIV/AIDS among its people,” Symington said.
He noted the increased funding to make anti-retrovirals available would enable more people living with HIV to lead healthy, productive lives until the day a cure for the virus is found.
Symington noted that disbursement of the additional PEPFAR HIV funds are contingent upon Nigerian federal and state governments’ reducing or eliminating financial barriers to PLHIV access to services, in particular fees charged by healthcare facilities for non-essential services or those already provided by PEPFAR.
The U.S. delegation was in Rivers State to advocate for elimination of user-fees for all people living with HIV, antenatal care charges for pregnant women living with the virus, and other barriers hindering PLHIV from accessing health services.
Earlier, on August 19, Symington had paid a similar visit to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel in Government House, Uyo, the state capital, with members of the diplomatic corps.
During the meeting, Governor Udom Emmanuel applauded the existing bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the United States of America which has spanned several decades, and particularly thanked the US Ambassador for his contributions to make Akwa Ibom and Nigeria a global family through economic, educational and cultural cooperation.
He expressed appreciation to the diplomatic corps in their observer role during the last elections in the country and the rich counsel to the stakeholders for a hitch-free democratic process.
The state chief executive also expressed appreciation to the United state for the choice of Akwa Ibom in the pilot scheme to reduce the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a coastal state bordering other state and countries who interface daily for commerce and other economic pursuits, adding that Akwa Ibom is richly blessed by human and economic potentials and sued for more bilateral cooperation to create wealth both for the state and country.
He described Symington as a brother with a passion for humanity and expressed regret that his tenure in the country as an ambassador is short-lived and wished him well as he returns to his home country.
In his remark, the outgoing Ambassador of the United States of America, Mr Stuart Symington, had described Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel’s vision to industrialize Akwa Ibom State, equipped health care facilities and provide beautiful road network as placing the state on the global map as the state with the treasure.
While expressing appreciation to the people of Akwa Ibom and Nigeria for the hospitality accorded him throughout his stay in the country, the US envoy said that for sustainable development his country has chosen Akwa Ibom for the implementation of the health care support next year to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS pandemic and make the state a place for succour to those affected by the disease.
These, he said, was buoyed by the love for humanity and the future of the younger generations and those unborn.
He said that provision is made for a hundred and thirty patients to benefit from the Health support system.
The highpoint of the event was a toast proposed by former Ambassador to Russia, Chief Assam Assam SAN, for long-lasting relationships and love for humanity in the global family.
Earlier, Akwa Ibom State Government had disclosed that it is set to partner the United States of America in healthcare and other development efforts aimed at making life meaningful to humanity.
Udom said that his administration has invested so much to transform the health care delivery system to save lives.
According to him, you cannot talk about human capital development without a functional health care system.
Udom expressed appreciation to the US and its development agencies in the plan to partner the state in the fight against HIV/AIDS to reduce the scourge in the country and other countries within the Gulf of Guinea.
The state chief executive described as alarming the 130,000 targets set by the agency to address the menace, and called for accuracy and transparency in the records and expenditures of funds allotted for the program.
He, however, said that as a border state in the coastal region, there is an influx of people from other states and countries to transact business in the state it becomes expedient to partner to save humanity in the global family.
Udom said that relevant agencies would have to collaborate with personnel from the state, and expressed the hope that with the health care facilities on ground Akwa Ibom best suits the pilot scheme and thanked the United States for the choice of the state for the programme.
The governor, however, took exception to the fact that over $30 billion had been expended in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic without any verifiable records, nor input from the relevant agencies in the state.
He congratulated Governor Emmanuel on his re-election and the investment in the health care delivery system as well the industrialization of the state.
He said the visit which is his last as the Ambassador to Nigeria was to intimate the government and people of the state of the United States contributions to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to provide necessary assistance to those who are infected and to provide drugs, equipment and personnel to help humanity.
Symington applauded Governor Emmanuel for the high premium placed on the healthcare delivery system and his efforts at transforming all the secondary health centres to meet international standards.
He sued for collaboration to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
The ambassador pledged his governments readiness to partner the state in education, healthcare, agriculture and commerce.

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S’Eagles’ Coach Backs Alex Iwobi To Succeed At Everton

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Alex Iwobi has the potential to become a key figure for Premier League side, Everton, according to Nigeria national team assistant coach, Imama Amapakabo.
The 23-year-old joined the Toffees on a five-year deal from Arsenal for a fee of an initial £28million deal – which could rise to £34million with add-ons.
Iwobi has yet to make his debut for Everton (he remained on the bench for the duration of the win over Watford at Goodison Park this past weekend) but he should see regular playing time for the Merseyside club.
And his move has been given a ringing endorsement from Amapakabo, who is Gernot Rohr’s right-hand man with the Super Eagles.
“I think he has been able to prove himself that he’s a good player, he didn’t just sell himself to Everton, they came for him knowing the reason why they came for him and the role he’s going to play for them,” Amakarkabo told newsmen.
“The league just started in England, let’s give him some time we will be able to have a discussion with anyone that will doubt Iwobi’s capabilities.
“He is a young lad, and he has his football ahead of him so, let us give him all the backing that we need to give him, hopefully at the end of the season, we would be able to take stock of how well he has fared with Everton.”

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