Following call for the declaration of state of emergency in Benue State as a result of insecurity in the state by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), the Benue Socio-cultural groups yesterday condemned such call, describing it as unnecessary.
The groups, made up of Mdzough U Tiv, Omny’Igede and Idoma National Forum, yesterday condemned the call during an interactive session with newsmen in Makurdi, the state capital.
This was even as Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka yesterday urged Governor Samuel Ortom to remain firm in opposing the invasion and killing of innocent Benue people.
Leader of the groups, Chief Edward Ujege, who queried the credibility and existence of CNG, led by Mallam Abdulazeez Suleiman, however, described the coalition as a ‘tribal and lawless organisation’ that was not democratically formed, but which was set out to cause confusion and disaffection so that the people of the state would not get justice.
Ujege noted that such coalition could not exist without the inclusion of Benue, which is also considered a state from the north, stressing that ‘the group is a lawless one.’
He vowed that the state would leave no stone unturned to oppose any state of emergency set to impose on it, adding that they will resort to all legal means to achieve their purpose.
“It will be an illegality to declare any state of emergency in Benue State. The constitution does not provide for declaration of state of emergency. The crisis in Benue State is an invasion by herdsmen on farmers. Therefore, the call is a deliberate move, which is meant to subdue the anti-open grazing law which followed due process. We will protect the law with our last blood,” Ujege stressed.
He regretted that the Presidency, the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of Defence have failed in the discharge of their responsibilities of securing lives and property of the people, even as the group stressed the need for state police as being practiced in advanced democracies such as U.S.A and Europe, which Nigeria is emulating.
He added: “If Federal Government had enforced the law, these killings would not have happened. What is happening is an annihilation of the Benue people. So, there is need for state police. Creation of grazing reserves and cattle routes is not the solution because all these areas have been taken over by population and development.
“Already, the Federal Government has reserved over 2 million hectares of land for ranching and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has asked all Fulani herdsmen to come to the state to graze their cows. They do not need Benue any more to graze.”
According to Prof. Soyinka, in a telephone interview with journalists in Makurdi yesterday, Ortom’s struggle for justice is in the interest of all Nigerians who are suffering various forms of injustice.
While urging Governor Ortom to remain firm in opposing the invasion and killing of innocent Benue people, he stressed that the menace of herdsmen in Benue State could have adverse effect on the country.
The Nobel Laureate urged other Nigerians to support the governor to succeed in his bid to end frequent herdsmen attacks on his people.
Soyinka, however, said he had been following the situation in Benue and was particularly impressed by the governor’s composure and steadfastness.
Reps move to amend revenue sharing formula
The House of Representatives, yesterday, initiated a legal framework for restructuring distributable revenue to the three arms of government.
The resolution came following passage through second reading of a bill for an act to amend allocation of revenue (Federation Account etc), Act Cap., A15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to establish the excess revenue fund account and for other related matters (HB. 1277).
The bill was sponsored by Hon, Lovette Idisi (PDP, Delta). It came on the heels of criticism over the legality of the proposed withdrawal of $1 billion from Excess Crude Account (ECA), for the procurement of arms to fight Boko Haram. Leading debate on the bill, Idisi noted that the “allocation of revenue Act was established in 1982 to prescribe the basis for distribution of revenue accruing to the Federation Account between the Federal and state governments and Local Government councils in the states; the formula for distribution amongst the states; the proportion of the total revenue of each state to be contributed to the state joint Local Government Account.”
Bed sharing raises risk of baby deaths
Scientists have raised the alarm over the number of babies dying of suffocation, occasioned by an increase in the number of parents sharing beds with their infants.
According to the findings of a report published in ‘Paediatrics,’ babies are safest sleeping on their backs in their own cribs without any pillows, toys, blankets or other loose bedding. From 1999 to 2015, the suffocation death rate for babies younger than one year climbed from 12.4 to 28.3 fatalities for every 1,000 United States (US) infants.
Similarly, the study shows that in 2015 alone, this translated into 1,100 infant deaths that were entirely preventable.
The majority of these suffocation fatalities occurred while babies were in bed. Although, there is lack of data to show the trend of these activities in Nigeria where bed sharing between mothers and newborn is very common among low income and the poor, it is believed that this practice might also be impacting negatively in the country.
However, going by the guidelines from the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), if babies do sleep in parents’ beds, parents should have a firm mattress, remove soft objects such as pillows, and move the bed away from the wall, as part of measures to ensure the safety of the babies.
Similarly, the AAP said parents should also be aware that bed sharing is most dangerous for newborns, less than four months old, premature babies and underweight infants, or if babies were exposed to tobacco during or after pregnancy.
Study co-author, David Schwebel, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said: “It may be that parents are not following `safe sleep’ recommendations to place infants in beds without stuffed animals, soft blankets, pillows, and other items that could cause suffocation.
Suffocation and strangulation deaths increased across the board for boys and girls, regardless of race, ethnicity or whether they lived in urban or rural communities, the study found. At least some of the increase in suffocation deaths might be due to a change in how these fatalities are categorised, researchers note.
Some fatalities that were attributed to sleep-related causes like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) at the start of the study might have been categorised as accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed by the end of the study period.-
Proscribed IPOB blames FG for members’ plight in prison
The outlawed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday expressed dismay over a move by a lawyer representing Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, one of the sureties for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in the ongoing case to release some of its members in prison custody to adjourn the case to a later date.
IPOB listed the members in prison custody to include Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi, Bright Chimezie Ishinwa, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, among others.
A statement made available to journalists in Awka by IPOB’s media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, the group noted that seeking another adjournment on the ongoing matter in court was a clear indication that the blackmail machinery of DSS and presidency was fully at work.
The statement reads: ‘We have no doubt that this adjournment was instigated by the Federal Government of Nigeria as another way to delay and deny justice to those who have now spent more time in jail than those convicted of similar offences.
“Information reaching IPOB now from Federal High Court Abuja with Justice Binta Nyako presiding is that Abaribe’s lawyer has written to the court asking for an adjournment.
“The Government of Nigeria has succeeded in pressuring Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe to ask for adjournment of the ongoing case of treasonable felony between Nnamdi Kanu and three others who have so far spent more time in prison than those convicted of similar offences.
“DSS and Aso Rock knew they had no choice than to release David Nwawuisi, Benjamin Madubugwu and Bright Chimezie Ishinwa so they decided to blackmail and intimidate Senator Abaribe into getting his lawyer to write to the court seeking yet another adjournment.”
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