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I’ll Never Shut Up, You’ve Failed, Ortom Tells Buhari

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday, came hard again on the President MuhammaduBuhari-led Federal Government, accusing it of trying to silence every dissenting voice.
Ortom, who said he would never be cowed, maintained that the All Progressives Congress (APC), government had failed in every indices.
The Benue governor made the assertion in Enugu during an event on organized by the Radio Nigeria chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He said the government was busy fighting perceived oppositionwhile at the same time looking the other way amid mindless killing and maiming of Nigerians by herdsmen.
Ortom said, “the present administration at the centre has adopted the approach of intimidation of those who dare to voice out their frustrations and concerns over growing insecurity and marginalization.
“But I, Samuel Ortom, will never keep quiet as long as injustice and marginalization prevail in the affairs of our country. I uphold the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior when he said and I quote: ‘If peace means accepting second class citizenship, I don’t want it. If peace means keeping my mouth shut in the midst of injustice and evil, I don’t want it. If peace means being complacently adjusted to a deadening status-quo, I don’t want peace. If peace means a willingness to be exploited economically, dominated politically, humiliated and segregated, I don’t want peace.’
Ortom’s full speech read, “It is an honour and delight for me to stand before this august gathering on the invitation of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria, Enugu Chapel, to address you on a very important issue affecting our country.
“I must commend the NUJ, FRCN for also finding me worthy of its esteemed recognition and award. I therefore, bring you warm felicitations and goodwill of the government and people of Benue State.
“This event comes up at a time we face a lot of challenges nationwide. Consequently, the South-East is one of the geo-political zones of this country which have been adversely affected by insecurity in the last couple of years. It is for this reason that the theme for this lecture ‘Emerging Security Situation in the South East: The Place Of Good Governance’ is apt.
“Journalists in this country have been reliable partners with government in ensuring that good governance takes place at the national, state and local government levels. Let me particularly acknowledge the critical role which the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria plays in its wide coverage of events with timely, balanced, accurate and objective reports, as well as programmes. This underscores the fact that the Nigerian media has made significant contributions to nation building.
“It is on this note that the current spate of insecurity in different parts of the country places a greater burden on media professionals to do more in assisting security agencies in particular, and the general public with unbiased information that can assist in tackling challenges in this regard.
“The theme of this lecture has posed a serious question on the role of good governance in addressing the security situation in the South-East region. The puzzle that readily comes to mind whenever the issue of security is to be discussed is that of insincerity on the part of the leadership of this country especially at the Federal level. The coercive forces are owned and controlled by the Federal Government and they can deploy the forces whenever and wherever they want.
“It is evident that the Federal Government has chosen to play double standards in its handling of the security situation as it affects some regions especially the South-East, North-Central, South-South and South-West, while at the same time treating with kid gloves, the menace of killer Fulani herdsmen, bandits and other terrorists in the North-East and North-West.
“The speed with which the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), NnamdiKanu and the Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Igboho, were arrested confirmed the fact that the Federal Government has the capacity to tackle insecurity with determination and commitment. We live in a country today where those who demand for equal rights and freedom to end the wave of injustice and marginalization are hurriedly declared terrorists, while real terrorists who invade communities and kill hundreds of innocent people are pampered and given government protection.
“The South-East has been at the receiving end of such levels of injustice, impunity and marginalization. Let me make myself very clear. I am not a supporter of violence in any form, neither am I here to justify the violence being witnessed in parts of the East. This is why I condemn in strong terms, the destruction of Federal Government properties such as INEC offices, attacks on police stations, law enforcement operatives and even traditional rulers. Such attacks and destruction do not make a positive case for freedom fighters and campaigners for justice. Dialogue remains the best option in any dispute. We must however admit that the ongoing agitations by youths of the South-East are as a result of years of neglect, injustice, unfairness and lack of equity by those who have held this country to ransom.
“The lopsided federal appointments, nepotism and other acts of sectionalism, particularly from 2015 to date, have divided Nigeria now more than at any other time in the country’s history. The Federal Character Principle as enshrined in the Constitution has been abused and abandoned by the present administration. This is where leadership has failed Nigerians and good governance has also been relegated to the back seat.
“Eastern Nigeria, like other parts of the country, deserves equal attention with the provision of critical infrastructure and development projects, as well as allocation of resources and key appointments at the federal level. No section of this nation is more Nigerian than another. My definition of democracy is doing what the people want the way they want things done. As leaders, we owe the people who voted us a duty to serve them without prejudice and sentiments on account of region, religion, ethnicity, language and political affiliation.
“The founding fathers of this nation saw a vision for a united Nigeria where the place of someone’s origin should not supersede the quality of what he or she has to offer the country.
“The present administration at the centre has adopted the approach of intimidation of those who dare to voice out their frustrations and concerns over growing insecurity and marginalization. But I, Samuel Ortom, will never keep quiet as long as injustice and marginalization prevail in the affairs of our country. I uphold the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior when he said and I quote: ‘If peace means accepting second class citizenship, I don’t want it. If peace means keeping my mouth shut in the midst of injustice and evil, I don’t want it. If peace means being complacently adjusted to a deadening status-quo, I don’t want peace. If peace means a willingness to be exploited economically, dominated politically, humiliated and segregated, I don’t want peace’.
“I want peace that is anchored on equity, fairness and justice.
“The current Presidency is on record to have levelled weighty allegations and criticisms against the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
“They even threatened that if they were not allowed to take over power in 2015, ‘the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood’.
“As you may recall, they also claimed that the fight against Boko Haram was an attack on the north. Perhaps, that explains why Boko Haram chose the then Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress as their representative in negotiation with the Jonathan administration.
“These people occupying the Presidency at the moment also blamed the government of Jonathan for falling to tackle insecurity, but today, they are the same people harassing and intimidating Nigerians who speak against their failures.
“The present administration has introduced selective persecution and prosecution of perceived political opponents.
“Its fight against corruption is only targeted at those who hold alternative views. No matter how corrupt someone is said to be, the moment such a person defects to APC, he becomes a saint. That is why some of my colleagues have already joined them. They have been intimidating members of other political parties with EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies. For instance, in Benue State, no day passes without one or more appointees of Government being invited and intimidated by EFCC simply because I have refused to bow to the strings of threats and harassment from Abuja to betray my people.
“Until the Presidency is willing to listen to the voices of patriotic Nigerians and take steps to address the worsening insecurity, excruciating poverty, hunger, unemployment and increasing prices of commodities, the agitations may not go away so soon.
“Our universities and other tertiary institutions keep producing graduates on a yearly basis without commensurate efforts by the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for youths’ engagement and empowerment.
“The World Bank reported a few months ago that seven million Nigerians had plunged below the poverty line due to increase in inflation in the country in 2020. The statement came on the heels of the Presidency’s claim that in the last two years, the present administration lifted 10.5million Nigerians out of poverty. The World Bank had earlier projected that an additional 20million Nigerians could be impoverished by the year 2022.
“Similarly, Statistical Research Department in its January 29, 2021 Report, stated that Jihadist Fulani herdsmen activities in Nigeria from 2015 to 2020, led to the killing of over 7,400 Christians particularly in the Northern region. The Report further indicated that over five million people were displaced and their properties destroyed. Even the South-East, South-South and South-West were not spared.
“Let me start by once again commending the state governments of Southern Nigeria for taking the bold step of enacting open grazing prohibition laws. There is no doubt that livestock production, as currently being carried out contributes significantly to food security and poverty reduction, but not without massive environmental implications like any other economic activity. In Nigeria, open grazing has been the practice of livestock production.
“However, in recent times, livestock production system has led to unwarranted attacks on farmers in all parts of the country. This is due largely to population growth, infrastructural development and increased economic activities and above all, the Fulanisation agenda of Fulani nationalities worldwide who have vowed to make Nigeria their own country exclusively.
“Today, we live in the 21st century and open grazing is extinct in most countries of the world. In Europe, America, Asia and in many countries in Africa, pastoralism has long given way to ranching. How can Nigeria then still be battling with a problem of open grazing of animals has been solved over a century ago in other countries? According to the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA 2021 Report, India with a land mass of 1.2square miles and with the highest number of cattle has about 305,500,000 cattle, representing 30.52% of the world cattle population.
“Brazil with a land mass of 3.3million square miles has the second highest number of livestock of about 252,700,000 cattle representing 25.25%. China with a land mass of 3.7 square miles has about 98,620,000 cattle which represents 9.55%.
“USA with a land mass of 3.6square miles has 93,595,000 cattle representing 9.35%. These are countries that have long abandoned open grazing and adopted ranching as the most sustainable and profitable form of livestock production. There is therefore no justification why Nigeria with just over twenty million cattle and land mass of 923,768square kilometres should not adopt ranching.
“Across the country, open grazing has caused the invasion of farming communities by Fulani herdsmen leading to massive killings, maiming of people, raping of women, destruction of property, loss of livelihoods and displacement of persons. You might have heard that on 20th March, 2021, there was an assassination attempt on me by Fulani militia on my way back from the farm. It took the grace of God for me to survive the attack.
“The group called Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) came out to take responsibility for the attack on me, saying that they narrowly missed their target owing to a technical hitch. Shockingly, the report of the investigation into the attack on me is yet to see the light of day.
“As at today, many states in Nigeria have been affected by the activities of marauding herdsmen. The decision by governors of the Southern states to make laws to ban open grazing is therefore a step in the right direction which deserves to be supported by all good people from all the regions that make up the South. We in Benue State took our stand and rejected open grazing four years ago when I, in the presence of Benue stakeholders, on 22nd May, 2017 signed the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law. The law has since recorded tremendous success with more than 400 herders and cattle rustlers arrested with many already tried by competent courts of law and convicted.
“More than 15,000 herds of cattle have been impounded. The law has helped us to expose the evil agenda of Fulani terrorists.
“In my lecture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2019, I predicted that one day, ranching will be embraced and celebrated in this country the same way June 12 is now being celebrated. That prediction is gradually coming to pass earlier than anyone could have anticipated.
“I am optimistic that the enactment of the law here in the East and other parts of the South followed by full implementation will drastically reduce the herdsmen attacks and guarantee peace and development in various communities of Benue State.
“As you are aware, youth restiveness, herdsmen attacks, banditry and other criminal activities have had negative impact on socio-economic life of the country and are also fuelling ethnic tensions. As I stated earlier, the current secessionist agitations here in the East and elsewhere are a result of injustice and lack of fairness to Nigerians by the current Presidency. This is why there is a growing perception that the Federal Government is encouraging the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen by its actions and inaction.
From all indications, the public trust in the Presidency has been eroded. This does not speak well for the corporate existence of Nigeria.
“In 2020, the unemployment rate in the country stood at 9.01percent. This year 2021, the unemployment rate in the country is estimated to be at 32.5percent.
“You can now guess where Nigeria will be in terms of unemployment in 2023 when this administration will be leaving office. The question is, what has happened to the promise which those in control of the now government made in 2015 while campaigning that they will provide three million jobs per year? This was one promise that sparked jubilations at campaign rallies prior to the 2015 presidential elections. Sadly, the country has lost more jobs in six years than at any other time in the last few decades.
“If the Presidency had fulfilled its promise to create three million jobs per year, there would have been 12million jobs in four years for Nigerians. On the contrary, the rate of unemployment under this government has risen from 18:8percent in May 2015 to 33.3percent in May, 2021, translating to about 23.2million jobless people.
“Tackling insecurity in the East and other parts of the country has to go hand in hand with job creation and youth empowerment. When youths are gainfully engaged, they have little or no time for agitations and criminal acts.
“The South-East is known for entrepreneurship. If only the Federal Government had supported entrepreneurship development in the region, millions of youths would have been gainfully employed.
“The menace of insecurity in the East and other parts of the country can only be successfully addressed when we all set aside sentiments and confront the monster. I, therefore, urge the federal, state and local governments, traditional rulers, religious groups, civil society organizations, youths and all other stakeholders to support security agencies to perform better. Security is everyone’s business.
“Governments at all levels should take aggressive steps to address the problem of youth unemployment. There must be concerted efforts at job creation and youth empowerment using the private sector to provide employment to young Nigerians. This is one sure way to reducing youth restiveness.
“The Federal Government should urgently put in place the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive, in order to prevent more industries from folding up. Government policies ought to be friendly to boost private sector participation.
“The Federal Government should, as a matter of honesty and urgency, respect the Federal Character Principle to end marginalization and injustice in form of appointments and development projects.
“The Federal Government should also implement the National Livestock Transformation Plan that was adopted by the National Economic Council (NEC). This will not only protect farming communities from attacks and herdsmen from cattle rustling but also lead to environmental protection, security of lives and property as well as guarantee food security. Indeed, ranching will also boost livestock production.
“As I have been saying, the Federal Government should publicly condemn the atrocities perpetrated by armed herdsmen, as well as arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah KautalHore, Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) and other armed herder groups who have consistently admitted to the wanton killings and destruction of communities across the country.
“The Federal Government should proscribe all militant Fulani groups as was done in the case of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), given that the Global Terrorism Index ranks Fulani militia as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world.
“The Federal Government should urgently convene a national dialogue of all ethnic nationalities to address the concerns being expressed by Nigerians.
“The Presidency should urgently hold a meeting of stakeholders of the entire Eastern Nigeria (devoid of party affiliation), probably here in Enugu to discuss the challenges facing the people which have given rise to youth restiveness and the violence being witnessed across the region.
“The Federal Government should listen to patriotic calls from Nigerians and address the worsening insecurity, injustice, marginalization, poverty, hunger, unemployment and inflation, to be able to end agitations across the country.
“I must also appeal to youths of the Eastern region to uphold peace and the non-violence approach in their agitations. I believe that the non-violence model is a better option, as it has worked in other parts of the world.
“I equally appeal to the youths to cease further destruction of federal government structures in the region. Remember that the property you are destroying is your own property. They have already made a genuine case for restructuring among other meaningful demands and their voices have been heard loud and clear across the country and beyond.
“Let me conclude by once again appreciating NUJ, Radio Nigeria Enugu for this honour. I am grateful that you found me worthy of your award. I also congratulate other awardees on this occasion.
“May this event serve as a pedestal for sober reflection over the future of our dear country. I beseech you all to take a moment and reflect on how to make this country a better place for all. Nigeria is on life support and is running out of oxygen.
“All hands must therefore be on deck irrespective of political, ethnic, religious and cultural differences to ensure the resuscitation of the country”, Ortom added.

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2023: I’m Only PDP Presidential Aspirant To Defeat APC–Wike

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Rivers State Governor and leading presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Nyesom Wike,has said that he remained the only PDP aspirant that could win election against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Wike, in company of some PDP chieftains, made this remark when he met national delegates of the Lagos chapter of PDP in Ikeja, last Saturday.
The aspirant, who noted that he was not running to be vice president to anybody, said that if elected, peace, security of lives and property would be prioritised to strengthen the nation’s sustainable infrastructure, food security, prosperity and economic turnaround.
He said the nation needed a strong and courageous leader like him now, adding that with a courageous leader, difficult decisions would be taken to tackle the nation’s challenges.
“The issue now is who can win election for PDP. Who has the capacity to face the APC? Who will win election for PDP? That is me here.
“I will face APC squarely. If you give me this ticket on May 28 and May 29, go home and sleep with your two eyes closed,” Wike said.
The governor said that PDP must do everything possible not to lose the 2023 presidential election.
“If we lose the presidential election in 2023, we can as well forget PDP.
“I have been tested in terms of performance. Mine is ‘talk and do’,” he added.
Wike, who promised to replicate his outstanding performance in Rivers State across Nigeria, said that he would provide a leadership every Nigerian would be proud of, home and abroad.
The aspirant pleaded with the Lagos delegates and leaders to be united and work for his emergence at the primaries.
“I know APC very well, allow me to face them. I am begging you, delegates, allow me. Support me to take the power from APC and bring back to PDP.
“I depend on the South-West, if the South-West gives me the votes, I have won the election. Donate all your votes to me,” he said.”
The PDP chieftain lamented that some party leaders aspiring to contest for PDP presidential ticket now, were the ones that threw the former ruling party into being opposition when they left the party in 2015.
Wike, who noted that he had been with PDP since 1998, said: “I will never leave this party. Whatever I am today, by the grace of God, God used PDP for me”.
He, however, said that he would never leave PDP even if he did not win the primaries, pledging to support whoever won.
The governor, who appealed to the Lagos PDP to end all infighting and division, said that if the party was not united, it would not win in the state.
In his remark, former Governor of Gombe State, Dr Ibrahim Dankwambo, who led Wike’s delegation, described the presidential aspirant as a fearless and courageous leader, with strong capacity to drive Nigeria forward.

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Army Bombs B’Haram Commander’s Convoy, Kills Scores, Destroys Gun Trucks

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Troops of the Nigerian Army under the auspices of Operation Hadin Kai have bombed a convoy of a Commander of Boko Haram in Sambisa forest, Abubakar Sarki, killing scores of terrorists who were with him.
Sources said the offensive was coordinated by the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Nigerian Army and Commander Sector 1 North East Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), Maj-Gen Waidi Shaibu on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Yuwe location, within the Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State.
The Army was said to have deployed a massive artillery gun after sighting eight moving convoys conveying Abubakar Sarki and unconfirmed numbers of fighters in devastating hits.
The source said that based on intelligence information, Abubakar Sarki and his team were heading toward Abu-Ubaida’s camp to engage its rival fighters from the Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP), in a battle of supremacy.
Counter Intelligence expert with knowledge of terrorists activities in Lake Chad, Zagazola Makama confirmed the artillery bombing of the BH Commander’s convoy.
“A ground assessment confirmed that three guntrucks with all its occupants were completely destroyed, while the remaining five vehicles, including Abubakar Sarki escaped” the source said.
The source added that the terrorists, however, aborted the mission and evacuated the dead and wounded fighters towards the axis between Pulka and Banki.
The sources said that the troops were mandated to go after the fleeing terrorists and eliminate them completely.
The infighting between the two terrorists groups had intensified with the ISWAP hunting Boko Haram during the day time while the Boko Haram are coordinating reprisal attacks at night because of their knowledge of the terrain.

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NDDC Fund, Account For Alleged N700b, Inaugurate Board, Monarch Tasks FG

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Barely three days after some ministers resigned, including Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, the Paramount Ruler of Idjerhe Kingdom of Delta State, King Obukowho Monday Whiskey, yesterday, called for urgent inauguration of the already screened and confirmed board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) just as he called on the Federal Government to the over N700billion he alleged has been allocated to investigate the commission in the last three years.
He said these steps by the government would help resuscitate the agency and rekindle hope of the people whose regional resources, he alleged, were criminally plundered by the leadership of Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
In a press statement personally issued by the monarch and made available to journalists in Benin City, Whiskey said, “Having voluntarily resigned as Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, our beloved son, Obong Godswill Obot Akpabio, should come out clean to explain to fellow Niger Deltans the whereabouts of the three years running budgetary allocations of the NDDC which inside sources claimed were more than N700billion.
“For presiding over the ongoing illegality in NDDC, Akpabio is not fit to be president.
“The Federal Government and Akpabio, who held the region perpetually captive and denied her of her developmental agenda because of an inglorious forensic audit that never brought out anything should now explain to our people of our collective regional wealth.
“The father of the nation, Mr. President must have seen now that those he entrusted with the developmental agenda of the oil and gas bearing communities of Nigeria had their own nefarious intentions to swindle and cause more havoc and deny the people their collective dreams of development.
“It is instructive to note, Mr. President, that three options are still available to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The first being the immediate inauguration of the screened and confirmed board of the NDDC under the Chairmanship of Dr. Pius Egberavwe Odubu, and Olorogun Bernard Okumagba as managing director. Secondly, immediate dissolution of the illegally constituted sole administrator that is alien to the NDDC Act 2000, and thirdly, every of the allocation to the NDDC from 2019 to 2022 except for those used for staff salaries and sundry expenses, every other monies of the over N700billion be recovered from whoever were part of the Macabre dance of shame in the past four years.”
The traditional ruler stressed that the inauguration of the already screened and confirmed board would rekindle hope and restore the Federal Government’s integrity before Nigerians and the international community.

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