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Tension as herders seize part of Delta community

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No fewer than 300 Fulani indigenes, mostly herders, have taken over a section of Okpanam community, Oshimili North Local Government Area, Delta State, and slowly turning the occupied area into a community without the authorisation of the traditional ruler (Ugoani) of Okpanam Kingdom, HRM Michael Ogbolu.

HRM Ogbolu raised the alarm during a tripartite meeting, last week, at his palace in Okpanam, involving the indigenes, chairman of Oshimili North LGA, Mr. Innocent Esewezie and Fulani leaders, as the community gave the intruders a 15-day ultimatum to vacate the area they are occupying.

Following the incursion of Fulani people into the woodland of Akwukwu-Igbo, Okpanam and other communities in Oshimili North, increasing killings, kidnapping and maiming of residents, the council under the leadership of Louis Ndukwe, passed an executive order in 2020, ordering all herders and strangers residing in undergrowth of the communities to vacate and relocate to the towns where natives live.

The monarch, who spoke to Vanguard on phone, yesterday, said: “Fulani people just went to occupy one part of Obodogba land belonging to Okpanam community. In our previous engagement, Obi Eluunor told us that anything concerning the Fulani people, we should route it through his office.

“I wrote to Obi Eluuno, I gave him seven days to remove the Fulani people from our bushes.

“Then the Commissioner of Police wrote, fixing a meeting for last week, at the same time, the local government chairman, Mr. Esewezie, came around, asking that we sit down to address the issues. He galvanized the whole of them and we met here in my palace and I told them that the matter is very simple, only that the government in Delta State does not respect the laws made by it.

“During the tenure of the former council chairman, Louis Ndukwe, the council came up with executive order requiring all Fulani people, herders and strangers in our bushes to vacate and come and live with us in the town, but nothing was done.

“Our position is that the chairman of Oshimili North, Esewezie, should give effect to the executive order; we cannot accommodate these people in our bushes. We are predominantly farmers, they bulldoze their way into the bushes, they eat up our farm crops and also rape our women.

“The long and short of it is that we gave them 15 days with which to relocate and that by July 14, 2022, the council chairman will go there (occupied area) himself to witness the evacuation.”

Vanguard could not reach Esewezie for comments, but sources said the council boss has waded into the matter and met on Sunday with the herders.

However, a community leader, said: “The council chairman held a meeting with Fulani herdsmen even on Sunday, you know that the former council chairman came up with an executive order in 2020. It has to be implemented. Few days ago, he also met with Fulani people, he is dealing with the security challenges community by community.

“The truth is that these people (Fulani) went to Okpanam, forcefully took a parcel of land and as we speak, they are turning themselves into a community of over 300 persons without authorisation from the community.

“They just come into any community, bulldoze their way and are doing all sorts of nonsense. Luckily for us, the leadership of the Fulani is cooperating with the council, the police are also cooperating.”

Ndukwe added: “We have agreed with traditional rulers and stakeholders. We have informed the police and other security agencies.

“What we are saying is enough is enough. We do not want to accommodate anybody in our bushes anymore. It is about the security of our people.

“If you want to live in Oshimili North, buy a piece of land and stop living in bushes,” he added.

Herders protest

Displeased with the directive, some of the herders at the time took to Benin-Asaba highway in protest. Their spokesperson, Idris Abubakar, said they were legal occupants of Oshimili as they pay rents.

He said: “The Federal Government should come to our aid so they can allow us stay as legal occupants. The government should come to our aid and halt the council chairman from passing this so-called executive order.

“Whoever is living in any place is a legal occupant of that place. We have receipts that they gave to us. We pay tenancy each year.”

Ndukwe, reacting to the protest, insisted that the order was not to victimize any tribe or persons but to rid the bushes of criminals using the scrublands to perpetrate crimes.

Govt not aware of Okpanam’s land invasion by herdsmen— Aniagwu

Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, while reacting to the development, said the state government was not aware of invasion of part of Okpanam land by herdsmen.

Aniagwu, however, said there were some northerners in the area doing menial jobs to earn a living, urging Nigerians to learn to live together as one.

Acknowledging that there were some bad elements from the north, he said it was not enough to label every northerner a herdsman

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Pyrates disown viral video on 2023 presidential candidate

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The National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity has distanced itself from lyrics of a viral video targeting one of the presidential candidates.

Aside from disowning the video, the group stated that those who canvass it do not represent the opinion or position of the Pyrates Confraternity and therefore “dissociate ourselves from any insinuations or misrepresentation, the video conveys.”

The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje in a press statement: Setting The Records Straight- Official Position Not in authorised Videos, noted that as a responsible organisation, it is mindful of the need to be circumspect by advocating for good governance without heating the polity.

According to Owoaje, Pyrates Confraternity have provided direct intervention and thought leadership on community and national issues using direct action or press releases with 100 of such attributed to nominated and authorised representatives.

Owoaje, while insisting that any suggestion that the video represents the outcome of a considered reflected “political opinion of the organisation is mischievous, misleading and out rightly false,” reiterated that “since our founding 70 years ago, we have never been politically affiliated or involved in electioneering.”

“We have never had a preferred candidate in any political election. We are not supporting or against any candidate in this 2023 election. Some of our members belong to different political parties and can support any candidate unconditionally in the knowledge that political activities at the level of partisanship are not allowed within our corporate entity.

“For the enthronement of democracy and democratic values of the freedom of political choice in Nigeria, our organisation and members opposed the military dictatorship. We joined hands with other civil societies to end military rule in Nigeria. Like several Nigerians, many of our members paid the ultimate price for the democracy we enjoy today. We fought for democratic principles as symbolised by June 12. Many of us were hounded into exile, imprisoned, tortured, businesses and employment destroyed, and our families terrorised by the military dictatorship for speaking truth to power.

“As an organisation, we cherish these democratic principles and reject any action of persons who will use songs or videos to tarnish the non-political stance of the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) inadvertently or wilfully. We denounce the political clickbait merchants desperately pursuing social media and economic mileage through deliberate misinformation about our organisation. They do not represent our values as ensconced in our ideals.”

Owoaje explained that the organisation’s desire is for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) supported by security agencies to conduct free, fair and transparent elections and has launched a campaign through https://www.ourvotescount.org.ng for that purpose.

“Finally, we reaffirm that all official positions of the National Association of Seadogs are hosted on our website, and social media handles. Our formal opinions are not disseminated on videos that have no official origin or organisational authorisation.”

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Security: Oluwo Meets Security Operatives, Fulanis, Bororo, Others

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As part of his commitment to checkmate insecurity in Iwoland, the Paramount Ruler of Iwoland, HIM Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi,today, met with security operatives, the Fulanis and Bororo in his palace to forestall further case of kidnapping in the territory.

The security men comprising the police, civil defense and Amotekun corps urged the heads of Fulanis and Bororo to assist them by giving adequate information to trail criminal infiltration mingling with them in the bush.

Oluwo described security as the life wire of every functioning community as he called for collaborative effort to curtail kidnapping case in Iwoland.

The area commander, ACP Omololu further enjoined individuals in the society to be security conscious and assist the security by providing security tips to aid effective policing. ACP Omololu disclosed his plan to convene an elaborate security stakeholders meeting.

The president of Iwo Board of Trustees (IBOT), Prof. Lai Olurode, pledged unalloyed support for optimum performance of the security agencies.

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The CBN announced in 2022 that it will be launching a National Domestic Card Scheme in conjunction with the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) Plc, the Bankers Committee and other financial ecosystem stakeholders.

The new Domestic Card Scheme is a robust in-country Scheme tailored to address the specific requirements of Nigeria’s payment industry and provide innovative offerings tailored to the Nigerian market and beyond. The Scheme will transform the domestic and African payment landscape through the promotion of innovation in the payment, enhancement of interoperability domestically and internationally and improvement in the suite of products and solutions offerings by banks and other financial institutions such as debit, credit, virtual, loyalty and tokenized cards.

The National Domestic Card set to be delivered to over 200 million Nigerians offers unique value propositions through enhanced data sovereignty and transaction security, better pricing opportunities, reduced demand for FX, enhanced financial access and support of the growth of a robust and inclusive digital economy, amongst others.

The brand unveil of the new Domestic Card Scheme by CBN and NIBSS will be take place on Thursday 26th January at a virtual event that will be graced by critical stakeholders in the financial ecosystem such as the Governor of the CBN, Deputy Governors of the CBN, the Director General Securities and Exchange Commission and Managing Director of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation. Also expected at the event are representatives of multilateral agencies, Switches and Processors, Payment Service Banks, Mobile Money Operators, Payment Terminal Service Providers, Payment Solutions Service Providers, card manufacturers and industry associations.

The launch of this historic Scheme presents a new dawn in the Nigerian payment ecosystem and unveils the unique opportunities presented by the Nigerian retail landscape. It is indeed the beginning of a new era, charting the future of the payment landscape as the first Domestic Card Scheme to be launched on the African continent.

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