There is pandemonium in Orin Ekiti, Ido/Osi local government area of Ekiti State as residents on Wednesday protested an alleged attempt by suspected Fulani herdsmen to forcefully take over their lands.
The protesters, comprising old and young men and women, regretted that the suspected herdsmen had destroyed crops worth over N50 million in farms belonging to 70 farmers.
The protesters, who chanted derisive songs against the Invaders, paraded placards with the following inscriptions: “Save Our Lives We are in danger in Orin Ekiti’ , ‘Save Orin Ekiti from Herdsmen invasion’, ‘We are Tired of molestation by Herdsmen’, ‘We Won’t Allow Fulani to Chase us from Our Land’, ‘Government Must Relocate Fulani Herdsmen’, among others.
Addressing journalists on the matter, the Onikare of Orin Ekiti, Chief Bamidele Fasuyi, alleged that the herders, had occupied and destroyed crops planted on the abandoned 2500 acres of land at Orin Farm settlement .
“What they wanted is to invade our land and chase us away. They even killed one of our able-bodied men this year. They are imposing some curfew in this town, because our youths can’t go to farm freely and government has not been doing something. Several hectares of land had been destroyed. They used to operate at night with AK 47 rifle.
“Over 70 farmers were affected in our record. Crops worth 50 million have been ravaged. They ate up their products like Cocoayam, yam, cassava and others and made them to incur debts.
“We appeal to government to use the 2500 acres of land for farming. The state and federal government, as well as private bodies, should come to our aid. There were facilities like electricity, buildings and equipment that can aid farming if they want to invest “.
A youth leader, Mr. Omotoso Mathew Kayode, alleged that the suspected herders had hoisted a flag at the farm settlement, where they warned the farmers to keep off or face death.
“They wrote keep off with a picture of a cattle rearer on the flag. This is a serious threat. The police, NSCDC and soldiers removed the flag last year, but they had hoisted another one.
“We used to do nightguard to ward off attack, because the police had found it difficult to arrest them. Our graduates who have no jobs were going into farming, but they are suffering losses because of destruction by cows.
“, They must vacate the place. Governor Kayode Fayemi must relocate them. From our findings, they used to enter into this place from neighbouring towns like Isan, Ayede, and Ido and we are suspecting conspiracy. There may be famine in the land with the way things are going.
“We are not compromising our stand on this relocation. Chief Obafemi Awolowo-led government in the old Western region acquired the land in 1958 for arable farming and not for ranching”.
Omotoso appealed to Fayemi to compensate the farmers, for them not to abandon farming Outrightly.
The Oniwaro of Orin, Chief Mathew Oke, said Fayemi should comply with his promise to build a police station in the town and rejuvenate the farm settlement to ward off herdsmen invasion in the area.
Presidential Committee Seeks Scrap Of Alcohol Adverts
The Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse has recommended thay the adverts on alcohol and other recreational drugs be scrapped to discourage its use.
Chairman of the Committee, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa made the announcement while appearing on Channels Television “Sunrise Daily”.
He said the recommendation of scrap of such adverts which is contained in the 2019 report the committee submitted to President Buhari, will discourage its use.
Marwa said, “You really can’t say zero-alcohol because people have the rights. But when you consume more than is required and perhaps you are caught driving drunk, you know there is a penalty. So these penalties also have to be enforced. The drug control scourge in Nigeria, unless it is tackled, we are finished.”
He further disclosed that the second committee is expected to meet later this week and he would be “surprised” if the recommendations in its report does not “start in another month.”
BREAKING: Court Strikes Out Charges Of Non-Declaration Of Assets Against Ekweremadu
The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, struck out charges of non-declaration of assets instituted against a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.
The dissolved panel then led by Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla had in 2018 instituted the case marked FHC/ABJ/CR/62/2018 against Ekweremadu, alleging that, “without reasonable excuse”, the serving senator refused and neglected to declare his assets upon being served the panel’s “notice to declare”.
The AGF office took over the case and other suits being handled by the SPIP upon a presidential directive dissolving the panel in 2019.
On Monday, Justice Binta Nyako struck out the case against Ekweremadu after the prosecuting counsel from the AGF office, Mr Pius Akutah, said the former lawyer handling the case for the panel had disappeared with the case file.
Akutah pleaded with the judge to order the former counsel to release the file to the AGF office but the request was declined by the judge.
But Ekweremadu’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), urged the judge to strike out the case.
Responding, Justice Nyako dismissed the prosecution’s request.
She said, “You are attorney general (referring to the lawyer as representing the AGF), you should know what to do.
“You should not be waiting for me to make an order against an individual.”
Justice Nyako added, “So, as it is today, you don’t know the case against the defendant since you don’t have the file. I am going to strike out the case, when you are ready you can come back.
“The case is hereby struck out for want of diligent prosecution. The prosecution is allowed to come back whenever they are ready to proceed with the case.”
The PUNCH reports that Ekweremadu was present in court and stood in the dock while the proceedings lasted on Monday.
Minister Orders Staff To Fast Against Boko Haram
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, has directed the staff of her ministry to embark on solidarity fast with the government and people of Borno state.
The fast, which is slated for today, is aimed at ending the activities of Boko Haram members in Borno and other parts of the North East.
The directive is contained in a statement by the Assistant Director Information of the Ministry, Rhoda Iliya.
It reads: “The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the Permanent Secretary, Directors and staff of the Ministry have resolved to fast and embark on special supplications to the Almighty on Monday, February 24, 2020, in solidarity with the government and people of Borno state.
“In a notice issued to staff of the Ministry, the Minister urged all staff of the Ministry to voluntarily fast on Monday and pray for a quick end to the carnage caused in Borno State and other parts of the North East by the Boko Haram terror group.”
Iliya noted that directive was accepted enthusiastically by the staff of the Ministry.
Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum, had in a recent broadcast urged the people of Borno state to fast on Monday and and offer special supplications to God for an end to the destructive insurgency by Boko Haram in the North East.