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Ban on open grazing is a welcome development, says Niger APC Chieftain

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**Urges Herders To Embrace Ranching

From our Correspondent in Minna

Former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism and Chieftain of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger state, Jonathan Vatsa has thrown his weight behind the ban on open Grazing by the southern governors.
He indicated that the ban will reduce the growing tension and Insecurity in parts of the country.
Vatsa said that the decision by the Southern governors to ban open Grazing should not be seen as a declaration of war against Herdsmen as being perceived by a section of the country,.
Speaking to newsmen in Minna shortly after the1999 constitutional review public hearing for North Central zone, Vatsa expressed the believe that open Grazing is an outdated system of rearing cattle and no longer acceptable.
He stressed that “I think it’s only in Africa that we still practice open gazing”.
According to the former publicity secretary of the APC in the state, the ban will not only reduce tension but the high level of Insecurity in many parts of the country.
“I strongly urged the southern governors to stand by their decision. We should not politicize it because open Grazing is no longer fashionable hence we must go back to ranching as the solution to the current security challenges in parts of the country.”
Vatsa however urged government at all levels to as a matter of urgency, reclaim all government ranches acquired by individuals in the country and put them use.
“The government must reclaim all the ranches that have been sold to individuals in the country without compensation. There are ranches all over the North but unfortunately these ranches have been sold to politicians.
“The government must take them back from these buyers. Nigeria population is increasing and there is high demands for land, therefore open Grazing will continue to bring frictions between the farmers and the herders”, he added.
Vatsa who is the Coordinator on Public Affairs to Governor Sani Bello of Niger state, pointed out that the current Banditry activities especially in the North started from farmers/herders clashes, adding that “gradually they began to arm themselves for retaliations and now the situation has gone out of control.
“Those recruited to act as militant wings are now using the guns for a different thing and even against the Herdsmen. They are using the guns to rustle cattle from the herdsmen”.
“So we must embrace ranching and put a stop to open Grazing. The herders will see the benefit on the long run because their cattle will be safe from the hands of these bandits”
He therefore warned that until the government put a stop to open Grazing in the country, Insecurity will persist, adding “The routes the bandits are using are all cattle routes”.

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Cannabis legislation: NDLEA boss talks tough, disagrees with Gov Akeredolu, lawmakers

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**threatens to burn down any farm found with cannabis

The chairman and chief executive officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brag. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) has disagreed in strong terms with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and some house of Representatives members that have been pushing for legalisation of cannabis.

Recall that Akeredolu had urged the Nigerian Government to jettison traditional orientation and “archaic” sentiment that said that cannabis is a ‘devil’s plant’.

The Governor at Stakeholders’ Roundtable on the “Benefits and Opportunities of Cannabis Plant in Nigeria” recently urged the Nigerian government to give legal backing to cannabis to enable its use in Nigeria, saying “cannabis is a multi-billion naira industry that can help diversify the Nigerian Economy if judiciously utilised”
The National Assembly also has been making moves for the legalisation of the illicit substance under the guise of its economic value.
However, Marwa who spoke at a press briefing to unveil the week-long program ofactivities in commemoration of the UN Internatiknal Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in Abuja on Monday said it is a matter of life and money, adding that it is like seeing fire and plunging in to the flame, he said the agency would rather choose life.
“I had the honour to address the Governors forum virtually sometime ago and most definitely the Governor of Ondo brought this matter.
“I can only speak facts. When you plant cannabis yes you sell it and get Billions of Naira but the issue is between life and Money. Life and money which one will you chose? We will choose life.

“Ondo State is the greatest grower of this illicit substance and the NDLEA will continue to burn any farm that we find and arrest the perpetrators.
“It is dangerous it is bad for our health and we will not agree as far as we are concerned.
“I am aware that in the House of Representatives a movement is on by a particular committee to legalise cannabis. That is absolutely within their rights but I doubt if it will be passed.
“Now there is no confrontation or would there ever be between the NDLEA and the Governors forum. To the best of my knowledge it is only one Governor that is pushing for this cannabis matter.
“If you do your arithmetic one divided by 36. He has his absolute right as a Governor to fend for his State. But the law in Nigeria has cannabis as one of the illicit substances and as I mentioned earlier it is between money and life. I think we will chose life.”

He said a global drug survey which is one of the evidence based document that the Agency uses, has it that 10.6m Nigerians use cannabis.
“And if you look at the world’s Cannabis report 2019 it is not 10.6m it is actually 20 million Nigerians. Nigeria is the country with the highest population of people using this drug.
“Always know that it has mind altering substances. Even the Schedule one 1961 convention, schedule 4 of the United Nations said Natikns must continue to exercise strict control over cannabis because of the negative consequences.
“The WHO itself made the Statement that Cannabis still has health issues and we all know that, why will you see fire and go into it. Yes the issue of the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is approved in some countries not in all.
“Now we have to look at our own circumstances here.
It is possible a time will come for us to have a rethink but this is not the time. “This is definitely not the time for Nigerians with the highest prevalence of the use. Go to Lagos State the drug use prevalence is 33% from that survey. Most of that is from cannabis and the Southwest itself.”
On the insinuations that the Staff of the Agency engage in selling of exhibit to the users, he said, “NDLEA Staff don’t sell our exhibits, when we seize they are properly documented in each State command under the direct control of the State commander.
“We have exhibited keepers who are trusted, carefully selected officials and the exhibit rooms are well secured. “The exhibits are documented because of evidence in courts where we take them to, so be rest assured if you got such information it is false.”
On another allegation that some traditional rulers harbor traffickers of drugs, he said, traditional rulers are not exempted from the law.
“It is on record, at least once or twice drugs were seized from the palace and we have also arrested some of them.
“In the business of the drug war nobody is above the law here. Whoever you are in this country.
However, he said the agency is partnering with many traditional rulers in various Nigerian Kingdoms, communities, emirates.
“There are just a few bad eggs and those few ones when we discover, we go after them. We welcome information from the public anywhere you feel some of the traditional rulers are involved infirm us
The week-long activity he said started with the press conference after which he will launch the Standard Policy and Practice Guidelines (SPPG) for NDLEA counsellors.
He said on Tuesday will be a live program on NTA ‘Tuesday Live at 10PM, Wednesday will be NGO day, Thursday is a program on Radio Nigeria by 8am followed by a youth awareness program.
“On Friday, June 25th will be a special Jumaat service in commemoration of the UN day at the National Mosque Abuja.
“Saturday will feature the grand Finale, with the former launch of the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) by President Muhammadu Buhari .
“The day will also feature a guest lecture and the unveilingnof the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2021-2025. On Sunday, 27th, of June the week’s activity would be rounded off with a church thanksgiving service.

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Ooni of Ife urges Bello to pioneer a legacy that will stand him out

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The Oni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has urged Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to think deeply on what he would pioneer, and what he would stand up and known for.
The traditional ruler spoke at the GYB @ 46 Birthday Symposium, with the theme: ”Insecurity In Nigeria And Role Of The Youth”, organised to mark the 46th birthday celebration of the governor on Friday at Government House, Lokoja.
”The truth must be told as we all know the situation of insecurity currently facing our country. What are you going to pioneer?
”Let us continue to talk to our people by engaging them. We must continue to deliberate on our peaceful coexistence,” he said.
He commended the governor for his achievements in security and for his commitment, focused and energetic efforts to the course of uniting the country.
The Oba promised to always be there for the governor anytime, anyday.
Ogunwusi stressed the need to bring governance to the youths, saying they constituted over 70 per cent of the country’s population, and should be carried along in the scheme of things.

”I feel your spirit, I see your passion, I see your love for the unity of this great nation.
Also speaking, a Resource Person and one of the Panelists, Chief George Moghalu, lauded the governor for his achievements in the state, and urged him to be a role model that the youths of this country would like to emulate.
Moghalu commended the governor for involving a great percentage of women in his government.
He stressed the important roles that families play in ensuring the peace and security of any nation.
”We are in a country where criminals are being celebrated; family moral ethics eroded. There is the need to go back to the basis which is the family and our fundamental problems as a country.

”We have also continued to emphasis on Certificates instead of celebrating quality skills; there is need to diverse the economy of this country.
”Government must create and provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive, because the government cannot do it alone or give jobs to everyone,” he said.

In her comment, Dr Bilkisu Magoro, a panelist, stressed the need for women inclusiveness in governance, saying women knew what the problems were and know how to handle them.
According to her, among all the States in Nigeria, it is only Kogi that has the highest number of women affirmative even more than the required 35 per cent.

”That is why Kogi State is enjoying peace more than any other State. Women should be more involved in governance; more inclusiveness of women in governance is the way to go,” Magoro said.
Also speaking, Prof Chris Nwaokobia, noted that the country had lost that which should hold us effectively together, saying, ”every ethnicity has offended each other at one point or the other.”
According to him, what we should do is to look at things that unite us, and strengthened them and build on them.
”The time has come for us to bury those things that divide us. The time to stop the killing and unite Nigeria is now.
”I believe that the youth of Nigeria can take our country out of the present situation.
”I believe in the capacity of GYB to take our country to greater heights,” he said.
In his response, the Governor noted that his administration is sincere, transparent and decisive, inclusive and opened to all irrespective of tribe, ethnic or religious differences.
”Our government is inclusive. We sort for the best hands for those who are ready to serve; my cabinet includes all the major tribes in Nigeria.
”We are raising young leaders that will take over from us because there is time for everything.
”I will implore our leaders and fathers to pay attention to what we have done in Kogi State. Whether anybody believes it or not, Kogi is the most peaceful State in Nigeria,” Bello said.
The highlight of the occasion was the unveiling and launching of a book, titled: ”GYB Through The Cases: A Compendium Of Historic Electoral Challenges And Victory”, authored by Shadrach Emmanuel.
Other dignitaries at the event were the Deputy Senate President, Ovi Omo-Agege; the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrasak; among others.

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Confluence Online Media Network applauds Gov Bello for resolving critical national issues

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A body, Confluence online Media Network, (CON), has appauded Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state for his intervention in resolving critical national issues which would have caused serious loss to the country.

In a statement issued on Monday and signed by its Chairman, Augustine Aminu (KSM), he recalled that Bello recently intervene in the a planned June 12 protest by the National Association of Nigeria Students, (NANS) by prevailing on them to shelve the protest for national interest.

Aminu noted that the protest if it was allowed to hold would have thrown the country into another state of confusion with serious negative consequences on the already fragile economy of the country.

He said the Governor had earlier provided similar intervention in April this year when cattle traders from the northern part of the country cut supplies to the southern part of the country, a situation he said would have hampered the peaceful co-existence of the different ethnic groups in Nigeria.

According to the group, the role and disposition of Governor Bello stood him out as a nationalist figure, whose major concern was the peace, unity and indivisible one united Nigeria that would be the pride of all.

The group called on other leaders to begin to play similar roles to douse tension in the country to build on the lofty ideals of the founding fathers of Nigeria.

They maintained that until leaders begin to see themselves as one, the challenges facing the country would remain unsolved.l

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