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Miyetti Allah want herdsmen to defend themselves

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Barely 72 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari asked Fulani herdsmen in the South to ignore the call by northern elders asking them to return to the North, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, the umbrella body for Fulani herdsmen in the country, has asked its members to defend themselves against any ethnic militia group in the country, saying herders should exercise their rights to free movement as Nigerians.

The National Secretary of the group, Saleh Alhassan, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, also said that governors in the southern part of the country would be held responsible if any of their members was attacked.

The South-East Governors Forum, through its Director-General, Prof Simon Ortuanya, had recently warned that movement of cattle into the zone by foot would no longer be allowed except through trucks to specific cow markets to avoid the incessant clashes between herders and farmers.

The position of the governors was echoed by the Ohanaeze Youth Council worldwide a few days ago when it warned herdsmen to stop moving around bushes and farmlands across the South-East.

The council’s President General, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, pointed out that starting from Saturday, July 20, 2019 (today), there would be severe consequences if herdsmen were caught moving around on foot with their cattle.

But, speaking on Thursday, Alhassan said herdsmen would remain where they were and that governors of the respective states would be held responsible should anything happen to their members.

He said, “We are Nigerians and we have a history. Anybody that thinks he can wake up and take on the Fulani pastoralist is making a grievous mistake; we are well prepared to defend our fundamental human rights of movement in this country.

“They (herdsmen) are Nigerians, so they are entitled to stay where they are. They should remain where they are and defend themselves against ethnic militia and assert their citizenship in this country.

“The only thing we would say is that we will hold all the governors of those states responsible for their safety and security, but if any ethnic militia, by any name, attacks our members, they should defend themselves in a manner that nobody would try such again.

“We have been saying it that people behind insecurity are not herders; bandits are behind these killings, and if the government is saying foreigners have infiltrated the herders, have they been arrested and what is their nationality? Anybody that is trying to destabilise this country should be dealt with.”

Speaking further on the call by some northern groups that they should vacate the southern part of the country, Alhassan said, “Those so-called northern youths called coalition of northern groups should note that if because of their action any herder is killed, we will first look for them before we go after our enemies.

“We are Nigerians and we are not going anywhere. Our attachment to the land is opportunistic; we don’t farm the land. So, if anybody is thinking that because he has cultivated the land in a particular place for long and he has rights there more than us, then we would ask where is the grazing area that the colonial masters created for us?

“Politicians can play their politics but they should leave our people out of it because it is the desperate politicians that are causing this confusion and they are looking for anything to hang on to, but we are watching them critically.

“If you threaten the herders, they react; they cannot be used for any political game because we have our way of defending ourselves. We hate injustice and we fight it. Anybody that thinks we can be squeezed is making a mistake.”

Asked the solution to the persistent clashes between herders and their host communities, he said grazing reserves that were carved out before the country’s independence should be developed to serve their purposes.

“When we begin to discuss the Nigeria question, we would ask where the grazing reserves are because we know them and we have the records of where they are,” he added.

But, in their separate responses, the Ohanaeze, OPC and Ijaw Youth Counciln said Miyetti Allah was testing the patience of the various ethnic militia groups.

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Nigeria records 500% increase in COVID-19 infections, in 2 weeks, says NCDC

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Nigeria recorded a 500 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks across the country.

This is contained in a statement issued and signed by the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, in Abuja.

Adetifa attributed the 500 per cent increase in infections in the country to the COVID-19 Delta and Omicron variants.

“As of Dec. 19, Nigeria reported 223,887 cases and 2,985 deaths in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The country is now in a fourth COVID-19 wave.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health, as well as NCDC and its partners, are therefore intensifying risk communication efforts to remind Nigerians of the risk we face and need to take collective responsibility to reduce transmission of the virus.

“The response to COVID-19 requires a whole-of-society approach. Therefore, individuals, families and institutions also need to play their part in protecting each other by ensuring adherence to COVID-19 public health and social measures,” he explained.

He also disclosed that the NCDC was launching its yuletide season campaign themed #CelebrateResponsibly as part of the #TakeResponsibility campaign which began in February 2020.

“#CelebrateResponsibly focuses specifically on measures Nigerians need to take to protect themselves and loved ones from COVID-19 during this period.

“The #CelebrateResponsibly campaign targets the entertainment industry, transport industry, religious settings, media, security personnel, young people, and the general public to promote adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures during this festive period,” he added.

He urged Nigerians to adhere to recommended measures by the agency and other public health authorities, as they celebrate Christmas and New Year.

“Please avoid all non-essential travel within and outside Nigeria to reduce the risk of transmission.

“The virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread in mass gatherings especially when held indoors with full capacity and poor ventilation.

“We strongly recommend outdoor events with physical distancing, compulsory use of facemasks, and provision of handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers.

“Please make use of every opportunity provided to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” he advised.

The NCDC boss noted that the government had made the COVID-19 vaccines available for all eligible citizens and booster doses available for those previously vaccinated.

The Celebrate Responsibly campaign which spans from the Christmas holiday through to the start of the new year, he said, emphasises the responsibility of all Nigerians, the government, private sector, institutions, associations, communities, families and individuals in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Religious leaders and heads of institutions, organisations and businesses, he added, are urged to enforce public compliance to COVID-19 preventive measures in their jurisdiction.

“COVID-19 continues to threaten the lives and the livelihoods of Nigerians therefore we must not let our guards down this festive season.

“We urge Nigerians to take all precautions necessary to ensure we and our loved ones live to celebrate many more events and festivities.

“The campaign includes the production of key messages, audio and visual materials for wide dissemination.

“The NCDC urges all individuals, traditional and religious leaders, business owners, the media, transport workers and other institutions and sectors to join the campaign by adopting the key messages and sharing within their networks,” he said.

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Nigeria records three more cases of Omicron variant, total now six

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Tuesday announced the discovery of three additional cases of the Omicron variant in the country.

The agency had on Wednesday detected the first three cases of the variant. With Tuesday’s discovery, the total number of the omicron variant cases in Nigeria stands at six.

Last week, Canada after it said it detected three cases with travel history to Nigeria, banned travellers from the country.

Also, on Saturday the United Kingdom placed a travel ban on Nigeria following the discovery of 21 Omicron cases with travel history to Nigeria.

On Tuesday, the NCDC, in a statement signed by its Director General, Ifedayo Adetifa stated that three additional cases of the variant had been discovered.

He said, “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed three more cases of COVID-19 with the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, i.e., the Omicron variant, in Nigeria. In addition to the three cases announced earlier on 1st December 2021, this brings the total number of confirmed cases of the Omicron variant detected in Nigeria to six .”

The NCDC also added that it had been notified by the UK of seven cases of the omicron variant which were linked to passengers from Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Governor’s Forum has condemned the stigmatization of Nigeria by the United kingdom and Canada by placing travel ban on the country, describing it as precipitate, unfair and discriminatory.

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Omicron: Canada issues travel ban on Nigeria, others

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Canadian authorities have issued a travel ban on Nigeria in a bid to curb the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The announcement was made on Tuesday December 30. Other countries affected by the travel ban include South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt.

Canadian Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra, has said foreign nationals who had been to these countries in the previous 14 days would be temporarily banned from entering Canada.

Alghabra added that Canadians and permanent residents who have been in the 10 countries, even those who are fully vaccinated, must also be tested before entering Canada.

This is coming as the Nigeria Center for Disease and Control (NCDC) announced that two cases of Omicron variant had been detected in the country.

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