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Middle Belt Forum Condemns Reported Secret Amnesty For Insurgents

Middle Belt forum condemns reported secret amnesty for insurgents

The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has expressed concerns over reports that the Federal Government was engaging in a secret programme tagged, Suhlu, positioned to rehabilitate top commanders of Boko Haram insurgents and the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) and provide them with a means of livelihood.

According to the group, the Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari should unveil the identities of Boko Haram sponsors, especially the 400 Bureau De Change (BDC) operators that were identified by the authorities of the United Arab Emirates.

These demands were made in a communique issued after the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the MBF, held in Akwanga, Nasarawa State at the weekend, to dialogue on the many issues affecting the region and Nigeria as a whole.

Ripples Nigeria earlier published that a report by a United Nations (UN) independent news organisation, The New Humanitarian (formerly IRIN News), had uncovered the secret Sulhu programme by the Nigerian government.

According to the UN organisation, Sulhu grew out of the behind-the-scenes attempts to free the more than 270 Chibok schoolgirls seized by Boko Haram in 2014, and is applauded by its supporters as smart warfare – a means to remove the senior jihadists from the battlefield more effectively than the orthodox military campaign.

But in the communique signed by its President, Dr Pogu Bitrus, the group kicked against any form of amnesty for insurgents and other terrorist groups, who they said “have their hands dripping with blood”.

Commending southern governors and some governors in the Middle Belt and their State Assemblies for having the courage to pass the anti-open grazing laws in their states, the Forum condemned the directive by Miyetti Allah to its members not to obey the anti-grazing laws, and their threat to make the states that attempt to implement the laws ungovernable.

The communiqué read, “NEC finds worrisome, given the report by the UN that the Federal government is secretly engaged in negotiations tagged ‘Sulhu’ with Boko Haram terrorists through which the Federal Government is allegedly offering monetary rewards to insurgents and other criminals.

“Consequently, NEC is totally opposed to this project and also opposed to any form of amnesty to insurgents and other terror groups who have their hands dripping with blood. NEC is also vehemently opposed to any planned recruitment of these so-called repentant terrorists into the national security architecture.

“NEC calls on the Federal Government to identify, apprehend and bring the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity to justice to serve as a deterrent to others. Consequently, NEC calls on the government to set up an agency to be called the Middle Belt Development Commission to serve as an intervention agency in addressing the challenges caused by the activities of these terrorists.

“Many schools and places of worship in the Middle Belt region have remained closed due to the criminal activities of these Fulani kidnappers and bandits. NEC regrets that many school children and other hapless citizens are still languishing in the dens of kidnappers. NEC further appeals to the government to take urgent steps to rescue those in captivity.”

The communiqué read further, “Nigeria has been plunged into a critical situation of insecurity occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram terrorists, armed Fulani militia, kidnappers/bandits and other related criminal elements. This spate of insecurity has pushed the nation to the precipice. NEC calls on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to arrest the situation and save the nation from another civil war.

“The incessant invasions by Fulani militia on several communities across the Middle Belt region in particular, and other parts of the country in general, have assumed genocidal/ethnic cleansing scale. These attacks have left in their wake mind-boggling massacres and devastations in our communities and displacement of indigenous people to various Internally Displaced Person camps.

“NEC calls on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to return displaced communities to their ancestral lands, given the fact that territory can no longer be acquired in the 21st century by the use of force. NEC also calls on the government to identify all IDPs in the Middle Belt region and provide relief materials for them.”

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Osun LP Guber Candidate, Lasun Rejoins PDP

Yusuf Lasun, a former deputy speaker of the house of representatives, has rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor of Osun, Ademola Adeleke made the announcement on Wednesday at the PDP presidential rally in Osogbo, the Osun capital.

“The former deputy speaker has joined the PDP family. He used to be in PDP, but today, he has decided to come and join the PDP family,” the governor said.

Lasun, who was present at the rally, hailed supporters after a terse remark.

Lasun had contested the 2022 governorship election in Osun on the platform of the Labour Party (LP).

Adeleke came first in the election; Gboyega Oyetola of the APC placed second; Kehinde Atanda of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) came third; while Lasun came a distant fourth.

He was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) until February when he resigned from the party after losing the party’s governorship ticket.

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I Can’t Contest For President Again; It Will Diminish Me- Jonathan

Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s former president, has said he will never contest for the Presidency of the country again.

The Ex-president said it would amount to diminishing himself if he should decide to begin to lobby people and campaign for election again.

Jonathan said this in an interview published in a book, ‘My Time As Chaplain In Aso Rock,” presented to the public on Tuesday.

The book written by Nathaniel Bivan contains the accounts of the Chaplain of the Aso Rock Villa Chapel during the Jonathan administration, Obioma Onwuzurumba.

“If you wake up tomorrow and see that I am President again, that means there may have been circumstances beyond my control. But not to go and pick one form and go and start lobbying people and running for campaigns; I can’t do that again. If I do that, I will diminish myself,” the former President said.

Jonathan said he enjoyed the drama that characterised the rumour earlier in the year that he had purchased a nomination form of the All Progressives Congress to enable him to contest for the party’s presidential ticket.

Ahead of the June 2022 APC presidential primary, a group, Nomadic Pastoralists and Almajirai Community, led by Ibrahim Abdullahi, purchased the N100m nomination and expression of interest forms in Jonathan’s name.

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NMDPRA Assures Nigerians Of Steady Fuel Supply

The Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) says the queues at filling stations will soon disappear as marketers commence massive loading of petroleum products.

Mr Ahmed Farouk, Chief Executive of NMDPRA, gave the assurance during a stock monitoring exercise within depots in Lagos on Wednesday.

The NMDPRA boss led staff of the Authority to NIPCO, Total, Aiteo, OVH, Conoil, 11 Plc and HOGL depots in Apapa for on the spot assessment.

Farouk said the stock taking exercise was to ensure availability and effective distribution of petroleum products across the nation to reduce queues at filling stations.

“The essence of this exercise is to ensure that the entire states are wet with petroleum products to avoid scarcity and panic buying by commuters during this period.

“As an Authority, we are doing everything within our powers to make sure that there are enough petroleum products in the system to help alleviate the sufferings of commuters.

“With the issue of scarcity across the nation, l found it necessary that NMDPRA come and ensure that there is even distribution of petroleum products across the nation, especially petrol.

“I am comfortable with the the load-out of petrol across the depots.

“The current distribution of petrol across the nation will address the issue of tightness in the market,” he said.

The NMDPRA boss said all depots in Apapa had products and were loading massively to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other states.

He said three vessels were also discharging petrol at Apapa jetty to MOMAN, DAPPMAN and other depots.

Farouk urged Nigerians not to panic and avoid panic buying, while assuring of availability of sufficient products at filling stations across the country.

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