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Buhari tackles Southern Govs over ‘ban’ on open grazing

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday took issue with Southern governors over their ban on open cattle grazing in the region.

The president, in a statement by his media assistant, Mallam Garba Shehu, described the ban, announced as one of the resolutions the 17 governors from the zone made during their May 11 meeting in Asaba, Delta State, as of questionable legality.

According to him, the governors’ action is of “questionable legality, given the constitutional right of all Nigerians to enjoy the same rights and freedoms within every one of our 36 states (and FCT)-regardless of the state of their birth or residence.”

Buhari, hoever, approved ranching and revival of grazing reserves nationwide.

The president’s stance on the Southern governors’ Asaba Declaration came a few days after the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), expressed similar views.

Malami, while fielding questions on a live television programme, had kicked against the open grazing ban, saying it was unconstitutional.

The AGF had compared the Southern governors’ decision to their Northern counterparts banning spare parts trading in the North, considering the fact that the majority of spare parts traders in the North are from the South.

He had said: “It is about constitutionality. Within the context of the freedoms enshrined in our constitution, can you deny a right of a Nigerian? It is as good as saying maybe the Northern governors coming together to say that they prohibit spare parts trading in the North. Does it hold water? Does it hold water for a Northern governor to come and state expressly that he now prohibits spare parts trading in the North?”

However, Malami came under fire over his criticism, with the Southern governors daring him to challenge their decision in the court.

Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, and Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, had described Malami’s opposition to the ban on open cattle grazing as “wicked and arrogant.”
Some senior lawyers and the Founder of Stanbic IBTC and Anap Foundation, Mr. Atedo Peterside, also criticised the minister for his comments.

While the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, and the spokesman of the Senate had called on Buhari to remove the minister for opposing the ban, the South-east Governors’ Forum had said those who opposed the ban wanted the killings to continue.

But Buhari, while rejecting the governors’ ban, expressed the determination of his administration to address the conflicts of herders and farmers in a sustained and lasting manner that should lead to the emergence of a permanent solution to the frequent clashes between them, as well as the associated problem of the gun-wielding “killer herdsmen.”

The statement from the presidency said Buhari had approved some measures to permanently end the frequent skirmishes between farmers and herders as recommended by the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono.

The statement added that Nanono had submitted a report detailing the recommendations to the president, who endorsed it in April, “well before the actions of the Southern Governors’ Forum, which attempts to place a ban on open grazing and other acts of politicking intended by its signatories to demonstrate their power.”

The president said the Southern governors’ resolutions didn’t offer any solution to the herder-farmer clashes that have been continuing in the country for generations.

He said: “But the citizens of the Southern states– indeed citizens of all states of Nigeria– have a right to expect their elected leaders and representatives to find answers to challenges of governance and rights, and not to wash their hands off hard choices by, instead, issuing bans that say: “not in my state.”

The statement said: “Fortunately, this declaration has been pre-empted, for whatever it is intended to achieve, and Mr. President, who has rightly been worried about these problems more than any other citizens in consultation with farmers and herders alike, commissioned and approved an actionable plan of rehabilitating grazing reserves in the states, starting with those that are truly committed to the solution and compliant with stated requirements.

“With veterinary clinics, water points for animals, and facilities for herders and their families including schooling – through these rehabilitated reserves, the federal government is making far-reaching and practical changes allowing for different communities to co-exist side-by-side: supporting farmers to till their fields, herders to rear their livestock and Nigerians everywhere to be safe.”

It added that despite the COVID-19 pandemic that took a toll on public finances, the federal funding for the forest reserve project is ready and will take off in interested states by June.

“The entire country is acutely aware of the strain the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on public finances, for both federal and states. Still, given the pressing urgency of addressing the perennial challenges, the federal funding for the project that has been delayed is now being partly unlocked. Actual work for the full actualisation of the modern reserve system in a few of the consenting states should take off in June,” the statement said.

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Another Lagos LGA chairman dies

Hon. Olufunmi Rafiu Olatunji, Chairman of Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area in Lagos is dead

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Chairman of Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area in Lagos Hon. Olufunmi Rafiu Olatunji is dead.

Olatunji died on Monday night.
It was gathered Olatunji had been battling with illness before his death.

He will be buried in accordance with Islamic rites today at his residence in Sangotedo, Ajah, Lagos.

Before his demise, he was seeking re-election on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He emerged winner in the APC local government primary election with 1977 votes to become the party’s candidate in the forthcoming July 24th election.

Confirming his death, his Media Team on Tuesday morning in a Facebook post said: “With sorrow in our heart but in total submission to the will of Almighty Allah (S. W. T), we announce the passing, after a long battle with illness, our dear father, brother, friend, confidant, role model, Nation-builder, Hon. Olufunmi Rafiu Olatunji.

“He was until late night of Monday 21st June, 2021 the Executive Chairman of Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area, Eti-Osa Local Government.

“He will be buried in accordance to Islamic rite by 9 am prompt at his residence in Sangotedo, Ajah, Lagos. We invite you to join us in paying the last respect to our beloved father, brother, friend and Boss.

“We are confident that Almighty Allah will grant him Al Jannah Firdaus.”

In a terse statement, chairman of Lagos Mainland Local Government, Hon. Mrs Omolola Essien expressed sadness over his sudden demise.

She said: “We commiserate with his family, friends, colleagues and staff of Eti-Osa Local Council development Area and pray against such unfortunate deaths in our fold.

“And On behalf of the good people of Lagos Mainland Local Government Areas, I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the Conference 57 Chairmen, his family and pray that The Good Lord grants the people he left behind the fortitude to bear the loss and make paradise his final abode.”

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Lagos Assembly passes LASIEC Amendment Bill

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The Lagos State House of Assembly has passed the State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC (Amendment) Bill, 2021 for passage into Law.

Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa on Monday, passed the bill Having gone through its first, second and third reading at the plenary.

Obasa stated that: “The Election process of the Local Government and LASIEC which has started with the Parties contesting for the position is possibly affecting the tenure of the existing LASIEC Officials and the State needs to be on the safe side, hence, the need to look at the laws and amend where necessary to protect the effort of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission.

“The Intended Bill will empower the Governor to elongate the tenure of the officials of LASIEC and I think the six month proposed is too wide in this consideration because we need to be ahead in order to protect the State, so I proposed three month.”

The Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Public Petitions and LASIEC, Victor Akande, stressed that the amendment being proposed was needed to ensure the Bill gets the necessary backing in order to stand the test of time.

Akande stated: “Only a singular fraction of the Bill is amended; the Bill also seeks to give the Governor the leverage to be able to use his power in case the tenure lapses. It is a good amendment in the right direction.”

Other members who made contributions, noted that the proposed amendment is a worthy one because the House and its democratic dispensation must ensure that it abides by the rule of Law.

The only addition is subsection 2 of the extant Law which provides for legislation that will necessitate the extension of the tenure of the Electoral Commission to perform it duties is however proposed to be amended since the Constitution states that no part of the people from the Commission shall administer themselves as democratically elected among the selection in the electoral process.

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DSS releases Kano singer detained for Blasphemy

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has released an Islamic singer, Ahmad Abdul, taking into custody after releasing a blasphemous song.

DailyTrust reports that Abdul was picked by the security agents for releasing the uncensored song titled ‘Barhama Gwaska’, perceived as blasphemous and capable of creating chaos in the state. The DSS had said it took the singer into protective custody to avert likely violent reactions against him from Kano residents.

While in detention, Abdul tendered an apology to the entire Muslim community, Kano state government, and Islamic scholars.

Confirming his release from custody today June 21, the Executive Secretary of Kano State Films and Video Censorship Board, Ismaila Na’abba Afakallah, said he had received hundreds of petitions against the song from concerned citizens. Afakallah said he reported the singer to the DSS which later arrested him at a hotel where he had been hiding for days to save him from the mob.

“He has been released as he regretted and apologised over his offence, promising not to repeat it” Afakallah said

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