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Ruga settlements: More states, groups reject FG’s plan

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More states and groups have rejected the plan by the Federal Government to settle Fulani herdsmen outside their communities nationwide. They consider the scheme a means of giving undue advantage to a private business.

Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday assured Ekiti people that nobody coming from outside the state would be allowed to take over the land from them.

He said non-indigenes wishing to do business in the state must respect the culture of the indigenous people and must pursue their interest in line with the laws of the land.

The governor gave the assurance when he paid an early morning visit to the people of Orin-Ekiti in Ido/Osi Local Government Area to commiserate with them on the killing of a farmer, Mr. Emmanuel Ilori, by suspected herdsmen last Saturday.

Fayemi said that traditional hunters and security agencies would work together to ensure adequate security for the people, adding that the residents of the state would now witness a deployment of more soldiers, armed policemen and other security agencies so that they can sleep with their two eyes closed.

On his alleged plan to give Ekiti land to “outsiders” in exchange for future political ambition, Fayemi said: “Nobody is coming to take our land in Ekiti, the governor of Ekiti State has power over the land of Ekiti and it is the person that the governor gives land in Ekiti that can use the land of Ekiti.

“If there are negative comments being peddled around that some people are coming to take over Ekiti land, it’s a mere hearsay. It cannot happen in Ekiti except I am no longer the governor and there is nobody that can be governor in Ekiti that will cede Ekiti land to outsiders because our land is not even enough for us.”

Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State said there was no plan to establish Ruga settlement in any part of the South-East and South-South zones.

Umahi, who is the chairman of the South-East Governors Forum made the comment in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Emma Uzor, in Abakaliki.

He explained that though the South-East zone did propose a deal with members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) towards achieving lasting peace between farmers and herdsmen, there was no plan by governors in the zone to cede any part of their land for Ruga settlement.

“There will be no part of the South-East that will be given out for the purpose of the establishment of Ruga settlement, the zone is purely agrarian with limited land mass for farming and therefore cannot accommodate Ruga establishment.

“We actually proposed a deal with MACBAN to take their cattle to the northern parts where grazing reserves were established long time ago and relied completely on the grasses grown in the South for feeding of their cattle.”

The people of Cross River State and other parts of Niger Delta rejected the Ruga settlements policy and asked Governor Ben Ayade and other governors in the region to speak up on the matter for the sake of peace.

The people who spoke under the auspices of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) in conjunction with the All Cross River State Nationals Front, at a press briefing yesterday, said: “Ayade should stand up for the people of Cross River State by telling the Federal Government clearly that Cross River totally rejects the very idea of Ruga settlements and will offer no land or cooperation for that purpose. This is neither politics nor diplomacy. This is a matter of life and death.”

The Secretary of the group, Mr. Bassey Ekefre, said: “Besides our complete and vehement rejection of the idea and intention of the rogue programme, government will require about four-fifth of the state to create one such settlement, going by the proposed forbidden dimensions of the settlements.

“Cross River State is already host to wild life reserves, a Federal Government/United Nations programme which has prohibited the citizens from accessing large portions of land for agricultural and commercial purposes. The struggle for the remaining arable land among our burgeoning population of over six million people has often led to communal conflicts during farming seasons. There is therefore no hectre of land left to spare for settlers.”

Contrary to the position of the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Benue State government has said that the Federal Government did not gazette lands in the 36 states for the Ruga settlements.

In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, Terver Akase, he said: “We expect the Federal Government to publicly tender documents of the claimed gazetted lands in Benue State to put the matter to rest. The Federal Government should show titles to the lands it claims to have in Benue State, the evidence of compensation it paid to owners of such lands, as well as the purpose for which the lands were acquired.”

The Benue government said it had already made known its stand on the Ruga settlements matter that it would not be part of the project.

The Enugu Diocese of the Anglican Communion said yesterday that the implementation of the policy by the government might exacerbate the fragile security situation in the country.

Urging the Federal Government to be cautious in its implementation, the church which expressed worry that the decision was taken without any consultation with the state governments and other stakeholders, added that the government should not take reactions trailing the policy for granted.

In a statement issued at the end of the second session of its 17th Synod held in Enugu, the church viewed the move to “impose the policy as an act of desperation by the Federal Government to unduly satisfy the wish of a particular ethnic group on the rest of the country”.

The statement signed by the Archbishop, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, urged the Federal Government to withdraw the obnoxious policy in the interest of peace, unity and development.

However, Governor Bala Mohammed said Bauchi State was completely in support of the Ruga settlement initiative. He disclosed this yesterday while speaking with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The pilot states for the implementation of the scheme, according to the government, are Sokoto, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kogi, Taraba, Katsina, Plateau, Kebbi, Zamfara and Niger.

Fielding questions on the initiative, the governor said “about 70 per cent of the population in Bauchi are Fulani and therefore we must leverage all these.”

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NUC, NYSC to block ‘fake’ foreign-trained graduates from service

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The National Universities Commission (NUC), in collaboration with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), on Tuesday said it had put measures in place to block fake foreign-trained graduates from partaking in the compulsory one-year national service.

The NUC said it would continue to ensure the credibility of certificates issued by Nigerian universities and block fake foreign-trained graduates coming into the country.

Its Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, spoke when the NYSC Director General, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, visited him at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

A statement in Abuja by the NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, Adenike Adeyemi, regretted the challenges in vetting the certificates obtained from universities established by Nigerians outside the country.

The NUC chief said many universities produce quality graduates while some produce graduates who cannot defend their certificates.

He said the commission had not approved the degrees of some online universities operating in the country.

Rasheed added that the commission had approached the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to shut down some illegal universities operating in Nigeria.

“NUC and NYSC must work together to help the country in producing quality graduates. The NUC will continue to certify the credibility of certificates obtained from Nigerian universities,” he said.

The NYSC DG said the scheme will not issue Certificate of National Service to unqualified graduates.

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NEWS

Eid-el-kabir: FG declares Monday, Tuesday public holidays

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The Federal Government has declared Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th August as Public Holidays to mark the 2019 Eid-Al-Kabir celebrations.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Barr. Georgina Ehuriah, who made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated the Muslim faithful on the occasion .

She called on all Nigerians, at home and in diaspora, to use the period of this year’s Eid-Al-Kabir celebration to embrace the virtues of love, humility, peace and sacrifice as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Mohammed.

She urged Nigerians to shun any form of disruptive tendencies and join hands with the Federal Government to build a peaceful, strong and united Nigeria so as to achieve an enviable Next Level of growth and development.

According to a statement by Director (Press & Public Relations), Mohammed Manga, the Permanent Secretary reaffirmed the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari led-administration to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians, adding that Security Agencies under the Ministry have been directed to ensure the provision of adequate security, before, during and after the Eid-Al-Kabir celebrations.

She restated government’s desire for all Nigerians to live a life of sacrifice, charity and love for one another.

Bar. Ehuriah wished Nigerians a happy, peaceful and fulfilling Eid-Al-Kabir celebrations.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Why Buhari must act now, by comedian Ali Baba

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Foremost Nigerian stand-up comedian and actor, Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, widely known as Ali Baba recently charged President Muhammad Buhari and Nigerians to be futuristic in their dreams.

The ace comedian who took to his social media page said the present administration needs to be proactive in creating the future for the next generation.

“Buhari needs to act now. He must start creating the future, developing our infrastructures and prepare them for the next generation,” he posted.

“The Eiffel Tower was built in the 1800s. Today, that structure is the centre of the economy of Paris. The Pyramids built in the days of Moses, still feed Egypt. The Walls of China. The leaning Tower of Pissa. The Ruins of Rome… What structures do we have, to drive economic development and help trigger different dreams. Where can you see those iconic landmarks in Nigeria?  How have their values been maximized? Visit our Museums. Yet we want the artefacts taken away, that are getting the best treatment, to be returned. Laughable.”

The 54 years old comedians, however described the present situation of the country as ‘hand to mouth,” “We live from hand to mouth. We sell the oil. Spend it. Drill for more oil. Spend it. And the fraction we even spend is small. The rest of the money stolen. We have been stolen blind. And the thieves are living large amongst us. And we can see them but can’t make them face the music.”

Ali Baba who after completing his academic degree in 1990, relocated to Lagos to develop his comedic talent said he still think about how people tried to discouraged him when he started doing stand-up comedy in 1988.

“In 1988, when I started doing standup comedy, there were many who told me that much. My father disowned me. His reason? He could not see any future in what I did. Many people are limited by history of things and what they already know. Those who create the future get triggered by things that can be seen in the future.

“I look back now and think about how many people tried to discourage me. Those who thought the ladder to success, was exclusively by climbing as a Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, Banker, Architect, Accountant, Civil Servant… Today, there are comedians who are worth 3 billion (more or less) in assets and liquid cash. There are comedians, whose social impact and economic value has empowered many who are in those core walks of life mentioned above.”

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