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Buhari Blames Gaddafi for Killings Across Nigeria

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday publicly blamed former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was killed seven years ago for the ongoing killings across central Nigeria.

The killings have long been linked to herdsmen, and some herders of the Fulani ethnic stock have claimed responsibility for some attacks.

But the president said Mr Gaddafi, a dictator swept away by an uprising in 2011, was to blame for the alarming dimension the attacks have taken in recent years.

Mr Gaddafi was killed in October 2011 following weeks of violent uprising across Libya, ending his 42-year reign. He was 69.

Prior to his death, which was aided by the Western incursion into the country, Mr Gaddafi reportedly armed his supporters to ward off the rebellion against him. Libya subsequently plunged into a civil war that still lingers nearly seven years later.

In London with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Wednesday, President Buhari said the arms Mr Gaddafi provided to his supporters had filtered into Nigeria where they are now being used to fuel killings across the north-central.

“The problem is even older than us,” Mr Buhari said of killings. “It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region.”

“These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram.

“Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons,” Mr Buhari said.

He once again dismissed claims that the attacks might have tribal or religious undertone because they largely occurred at Christian-dominated and minority tribes areas, saying those propagating the assertion are doing so for political gains.

“The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions,” Mr Buhari said.

The president has faced criticism from for his response in combating the crisis headlong.

Former Nigerian leaders Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida have criticised Mr Buhari for not demonstrating the capacity to contain the killings, asking him not to run again in 2019. They had also been joined by Theophilus Danjuma, a former chief of army staff, who admonished citizens to defend themselves rather than wait for security agencies.

Mr Danjuma said the Nigerian security agencies are complicit in the killings, saying many tribes may be wiped out if they wait for federal authorities to protect them.

Both Mr Buhari and the military have separately issued statements condemning Mr Danjuma’s remarks and imploring Nigerians not to arm themselves.

The killings, especially in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States, have resulted in over a thousand deaths this year alone. They have also caused humanitarian emergencies in those states, with each of them running camps for hundreds of thousands of internally-displaced persons.

Mr Buhari has long implied that the attackers are foreigners and not herdsmen, contrary to the accounts of villagers who insist they are being killed by herders.

In the past, Fulani leaders have openly claimed responsibility for killings hundreds of villagers, but said they were provoked by the wanton rustling of their livestock.

Following the killings in Benue in early January, leaders of the group in the state vowed that there would be no peace unless the anti-open grazing law being implemented in the state is immediately abolished.

That position has been repeatedly reechoed by senior government officials, including the

Security analysts expressed concerns that Mr Buhari might not have a good grasp of the crisis, despite how frequent it has manifested in recent months.

“Unfortunately, the president appears to be misinformed,” said security analyst Cheta Nwanze.

Mr Nwanze, head of SBM Intelligence in Lagos, said while it is true that some of the arms in Libya have found their ways into Nigeria following the death of Mr Gaddafi, there is little evidence to support the assertion that they are being used in the north-central killings.

“Most arms from Libya that have been tracked end up with Boko Haram by way of N’Djamena in Chad,” Mr Nwanze said.

He said the arms being used in the north-central have been linked to previously intercepted weapons by the Nigerian government.

On the assertion that the killers are not herdsmen or Fulani, Mr Nwanze said “the president may need to reassess his statement” because leaders of cattle breeders association have repeatedly claimed responsibility for deadly attacks or warned of impending ones in the past.

Another security expert who weighed in on the president’s comments with PREMIUM TIMES Thursday morning was Mike Ejiofor, a former director at the State Security Service (SSS).

“It is really unfortunate that the president would go outside to tell the terrorists are coming from Libya,” he said. “We have no borders with Libya and there are no similar senseless killings in other countries which have borders with Libya.”

Mr Ejiofor expressed a splinter support for the president’s assertion that the killers might not be herdsmen, saying he believes some of them are actually terrorists taking advantage of the fluid security situation to further polarise the country.

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Just In: Fifth Columnists in the Presidency Working Against Tinubu, Says El-Rufai

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By Michael Effiong

Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has revealed that there are some fifth columnists in the presidency who want the All Progressives Congress ( APC) to lose the 2023 Presidential election.

Speaking on Channels TV flagship programme, Sunrise Daily, Governor El-Rufai affirmed that there was serious division in the APC Presidential Campaign Council.

He stated that some people in the Presidency because Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was not their preferred candidate are working against his interest.

He noted that the Naira redesign was not an APC problem but a Presidency problem, urging Nigerians to ignore their current situation and still vote for Tinubu as a person.

On the fuel crisis, he said fuel subsidy had been a problem for many years and that it was President Buhari and not APC that has insisted on the subsidy which is costing the nation a whopping six Trillion Naira.

He revealed that as far back as 2016, Buhari had been advised to remove subsidy but he had bluntly refused.

Governor El Rufai used the opportunity to hail his tenure in Kaduna State, noting that his government has attracted over $4billion worth of investments to the state.

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Atiku Vows to Construct Funtua-Gusau-Sokoto Road, Reiterates End to Banditry

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the February 25 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has pledged to reconstruct the Funtua-Gusau-Sokoto road, if elected. He also promised to float empowerment programmes that will combat poverty among the citizens.

Atiku made the pledges on Tuesday in Sokoto while addressing a crowd of supporters at his presidential campaign rally.

The PDP presidential candidate also pledged to end the security challenges bedevilling the nation, ensure stability for profitable farming, grazing as well as reopen the nation’s borders to bolster business activities.

He urged citizens to support PDP candidates at all levels at the forthcoming elections, vowing that a PDP-led administration would curb social, economic and infrastructural decay in the country.

Mr Atiku had inaugurated a remodelled presidential lodge and the Dandima flyover bridge constructed by the Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s administration.

The PDP presidential flag bearer also paid homage on the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III, after an interactive session with community and traditional rulers in the state.

Earlier, the PDP National Chairman, Dr Ayochia Ayu, presented the party’s flag to PDP governorship candidate in the State, Sa’idu Umar and received scores of defectors from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mr Ayu described the Sokoto rally as home coming and enjoined party loyalists to use their PVCs to change the national government as well as sustain the achievements of Tambuwal.

Leader of the defectors, Amb. Faruku Yabo, said the PDP-led administration in the state had the people’s interests at heart, and it was capable of surmounting the national challenges.

The event witnessed presentations from various party chieftains on the ways to address the challenges being faced by the citizens.

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Atiku Promises to End Banditry, Reconstruct Bakalori Dam in Zamfara

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has said a PDP-led Federal Government will end banditry in Zamfara State.

Atiku, who was in Gusau on Monday for a campaign rally, also promised to reconstruct Bakalori Dam to aid irrigation farming in the state. He noted that apart from Borno and Yobe states, Zamfara State has paid dearly for the spate of insecurity in the country, which he blamed on the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.

“They brought insecurity, poverty, and disunity; our youth are not going to school because teachers are not paid in secondary and tertiary institutions.

“With your vote, you will expunge them. I promise to restore peace and security in Nigeria. I have done it in the past (and) I see no reason why with your support and backing, by the grace of God, there won’t be peace in Nigeria,” the PDP candidate asserted.

He promised to work with the state government to revitalise the closed down textile companies, adding that businessmen would be supported with capital to open and go into textile production for job generation.

“We will open (closed) borders because it is not in line with the law. Our borders are closed while others are open; there is no justice in this,” he noted.

The vice presidential candidate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, expressed confidence that PDP would secure over 80 per cent votes in Zamfara State.

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