- Press Release
The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, the umbrella body of all youth groups and fora in the South East expresses its solidarity with the plainspoken governor of Benue State, His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom on his position on banning open grazing and building instead ranches where such is practicable in the nation.
This support is itself a fallout of interview Ortom granted on Channels TV addressing and appraising the security challenges that have come with open grazing from the get-go of the APC-led federal government, where he also spoke about the handling of agitators like Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho), who is pushing for Oduduwa Republic.
Samuel Ortom, who bared his heart, asked why the federal government does not deploy the same measure of intelligence infrastructure it expends on going after and “intercepting” agitators like Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB and Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho) in handling Boko Haram terrorists, killer herdsmen and the so-called bandits, and as well other militia formations operating in the North.
We, as a youthful coalition, have asked severally the same question and are here again asking if terrorism is the prerogative of the North, even though we are convinced that actions and activities like those of seeking a separate existence on the part of the want-away agitators are far from terrorism.
In Nigeria, there is no place where separatist agitators have raped, have killed, or have even sacked communities in the manner and measure Boko Haram and the armed Fulani herdsmen have combinedly or individually done, but yet the federal government keeps amnestying, keeps reintegrating these fiendish elements into the mainstream population – including into our military – , and keeps pardoning them – including recently pardoning over 50 of them – whereas the same federal government has in custody Nnamdi Kanu and is currently working hard to secure Igboho’s extradition from Benin Republic, both for wanting out of a nation whose government has failed to deliver the good.
We share in Governor Ortom’s position and the salient issues it raised which should reveal to every Nigerian how selective the Buhari administration has been in securing the territorial space that is Nigeria. May we also stress that even after killing, decimating and sacking settled communities – including farming ones – the federal government, through its Federal Executive Council (FEC), creates a ten-year policy plan it called National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP (2019-2028) with the sum of ₦100,000,000 (hundred billion naira).
Though this policy has pillar programmes like peace and conflict resolution, climate change and environmental issues, human capital development and so on, there is nothing visible on ground to address the concerns and losses of the farmers whose lands and crops were burned and population displaced!
COSEYL is totally convinced that moments like this, for Nigeria, is one where only justice can keep the nation together as anything short of it will undermine national cohesion and every effort purportedly made in that regard.
If the federal government could leverage security cooperation with its “allies” as Lai Mohammed, the minister of information, put it, then, why couldn’t the same federal government synchronize and align its security and intelligence operations – as availed by the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) – with those of Chad when the late Idris Derby overran, overwhelmed, outflanked and pushed fleeing and decimated Boko Haram elements to the Nigerian margins? And, why haven’t the federal government recovered ungoverned spaces like Sambisa and other forests within the Niger, Katsina and Kaduna axes where bandits have turned to their lair and fiefdom? Yet, Buhari, as of today, runs a government that pardons sworn terrorists, abductors of minors (girls mostly), enforcers of child bride and marriage, murderers of mercenary and missionary workers, killers of soldiers and destroyers of military gadgets including our Alpha Jets (including the one still missing)?
Having said all this, we call on Nigerians of all diverse backgrounds to stand with Governor Ortom on this matter. Truth is, like goes a popular Nigerian colloquialism, “soldier go, soldier come, barrack remain;” Nigeria will outlive Buhari – who should understand that blind(ing) sentiment is not a tool of democracy.
We commend the Executive Governor of Benue state, Governor Ortom whose political decisions and policies have only been to serve the good of Benue state.
Once again, we thank His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom, the speaker and defender of the unvarnished truth!
Hon. Goodluck Egwu Ibem
Comrade Kanice Igwe