The cleric, however, advised the Federal Government to jettison the idea of acquiring lands across the country for the purpose of creating rural grazing areas.
Martins, in a statement on Wednesday, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his bold step in suspending the RUGA project in response to the high tension which the issue had generated.
RUGA is a scheme designed to settle herdsmen and their cattle on acquired land in states across the federation.
It is one of the recent of many solutions offered by the Federal Government to resolve the frequent farmers/herdsmen crisis in the country.
Martins implored Buhari to resist the temptation of going back to it or any similar project that leaves an impression of wanting to promote welfare, economy and preservation of one section of the country over others.
The Archbishop said: “Such a move, if encouraged, will undoubtedly, further divide the nation along ethnic and possibly religious lines, thereby impacting negatively on the wellbeing of all Nigerians.
“At the moment, we gathered that despite the suspension of the RUGA scheme, there is a plan by some to move for the repeal of Land Use Act in order to accommodate the scheme.
“Any step in that direction will leave no one in doubt that the Federal Government is really not interested in settling the so-called herdsmen/farmer clashes.
“A bill to tamper with the present Land Use arrangement at this time cannot, but heat up the polity, if indeed, it is being contemplated.
“Any proposed solution to the problem should be put in the public domain for discussion so that it may have the desired effect.
“It is not enough for the Federal Executive Council, National Economic Council or any other organ of government to sit in a room and take decision without sampling the opinion of citizens, given the volatile nature of the issues at stake.
“It is even more ridiculous that a ministry without a substantive Minister is presuming to announce and implement such a monumental `decision’.
“The RUGA Scheme, as presently conceived for implementation is ill-conceived and skewed to create disaffection and divide the country, and must be totally abandoned so that a better solution to the problem can be reached.”
Martins advised President Buhari-led government “to commit more resources to securing our national borders, mop up small arms that are so easily available and be decisive in bringing anyone who unleashes violence on others to book.
“That would create confidence in the attempt of government to deal with the so-called herdsmen/farmers clashes.
“If perpetrators of the killings and kidnappings across the country were not urgently identified and dealt with, it may give the wrong impression.
“That impunity, murder and reckless disregard for constitutional authority by a group of outlaws remains the surest way of attracting the favour and patronage of the government.’’
The archbishop urged every well-meaning Nigerian to pray for peace of the nation and for those in government so that common good would be the guide of the actions and decisions of those who govern at all levels.
Boko Haram: EFCC, ICPC told to probe NGOs undermining Nigeria’s fight against terror
The Public Accountability Network, a civil society organization, which made this call on Sunday, decried the activities of some NGOs operating in Nigeria, which had contributed to the rising cases of terrorism in the nation.
PAN said it was shocked to discover that some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were in the business of providing wholesale support to Boko Haram and Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) in order to remain in business.
Addressing newsmen on Sunday, the group through its Executive Director, Mark Daniel Atawodi, called for ban of any group found to have been collaborating with Boko Haram for their selfish interest.
He also urged the relevant authorities to go the extra length to put indicted organizations and their managers on trial with a view to securing the stiffest punishment possible to deter those that have the intention of supporting Boko Haram and ISWAP to remain persistent threat to Nigerians.
His statement below:
The confirmation by the Nigerian Army that Action Against Hunger, an NGO operating in the Northeast was “aiding and abetting” terrorists in this regard did not come as a surprise to us.
Public Accountability Network(PAN), with its sister NGOs had in the past raised concerns about the surreptitious activities of unscrupulous group that hide behind their international status or affiliation to commit crimes in Nigeria.
It is commendable that the Nigerian Army has proactively banned Action Against Hunger following the discovery of its support for terrorism.
We are however concerned that banning this one NGO is not enough. Action Against Hunger is a mere tip of the iceberg. It is just one of the many organizations that have engaged in activities that are inimical to the interest of Nigeria.
With Action Against Hunger being found out, its other accomplices have by now gone underground, since they will by now be doing their utmost to conceal their illicit activities. The network of these groups is extensive since they include local, continental and international NGOs that gained access to the theatre of operations under the pretext of carrying out humanitarian work.
It is therefore critical at this stage that the Nigerian Army, working with sister security agencies, conduct an audit of NGOs working in areas plagued by Boko Haram insurgency. The essence of this audit is to ascertain the authenticity of the statement of claim that each organization made to gain access to the region. Violation of the terms on which they were accredited to the area would flag other mischief they have been up to.
The Nigerian Army must similarly leverage the special skills available in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the ICPC to trace the sources of finances of these NGOs. This is against the background that many of them are being financed by foreign interests that are obsessed with destroying Nigeria as a sovereign nation.
Even some local NGOs are complicit of running errands financed from such questionable funds that allowed them to operate as proxies and franchises for the larger saboteurs.
We consequently demand that the Army, working with these anti-graft agencies, immediately investigate the finances of all groups operating in the Northeast.
This investigation should cover what entities paid monies to NGOs operating in the area and the expenditure items of these organizations. In order words, Nigerian want to know who gave them money, what the moneys are meant for, who received the moneys and what the funds were spent on. In the event where payments are traceable to individuals, comprehensive background checks should be carried out to rule out any links to Boko Haram, ISWAP or any other terrorist group.
Our demand is based on the realization that these NGOs have the incentive to undermine Nigeria, an assignment they have assiduously carried out with all sense of impunity:
The criminal NGOs are supporting Boko Haram and ISWAP as a way of ensuring that the terrorists survive the military operation in order for them to validate their failed projections that the terrorists will bring about the end of Nigeria. The discovery of this treachery has however confirmed that Nigeria will overcome the evil they plotted for the country.
These NGOs are pained that their militant wings as represented by the terrorists have repeatedly taken beatings from the military. By supplying food and medication to these terrorists Action Against Hunger aims to reverse the progress made against the insurgent. This leaves us wondering if it is only food and medication that this NGO gave the terrorists since they could also have been behind the recent sophisticated weapons that the terrorists have been taking into battle.
They are also disappointed that the campaign of calumny mounted against the Nigerian state by its partners, like Amnesty International have only made the country stronger while the terrorists they are eager to allow to overrun the country are continually being defeated.
But they should not have taken their disappointment to the point where they further compromise the safety of the innocent Nigerians that will become the victims of a well fed Boko Haram.
The quest for increased donor funding, which would be possible when Boko Haram continues to remain a treat is an attraction for these terrorist NGOs.
They want to provide food and logistics that strengthen Boko Haram so that they will continue to have justification for requesting more funds. This is the lowest form of immorality. No one should prop up terrorists simply in order to raise more funds.
There has been concerns that the subversive activities of these questionable NGOs are at the instance of certain countries that have economic and geo-strategic objectives in Nigeria’s northeast. They have become the vehicles for delivering whatever interventions these countries have for undermining Nigeria.
Nigerians should not forget that the Army had in the past caught out some associates of these NGOs using the cover of their work in the region to gather intelligence that they then pass on to the terrorists.
This particular objective of the indicted NGOs is o dangerous that it has been identified as a key factor in the instances when troops were ambushed. Genuine stakeholders had raised concerns about this but they were dismissed as conspiracy theorists.
The lie of providing food and care for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) when in reality they were servicing Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists is also conveniently being used as manipulated data that will be misinterpreted to create the impression that things are more dire than the reality on ground suggests.
Action Against Hunger and its fellow pseudo terrorist NGOs might have tainted the concept and practice of humanitarian relief work as seen from the resulting public ire, we nonetheless recognize that there are good organizations that are doing good work in in providing succour to persons and families affected by the activities of terrorists. We wholeheartedly welcome the objectives and the activities of these good ones especially at a time that humanity is being threatened by insurgents. We recommend such groups as the shining example that those scheming to profit from the human misery caused by terrorism.
With the knowledge that we now have of the subversive role being played by organizations like Action Against Hunger, we call on the United Nations and its subsidiaries, supra-national bodies and responsible donor partners to stop funding this organization and others with links to it. These potential donors must, in the interest of humanity, ensure that they implement stringent pre-qualification parameters for funds recipients to ensure that the resources they have earmarked for helping humanity are not diverted for terrorists’ use.
We want to conclude by asking that ban of any group found to have been collaborating with Boko Haram is not enough. The government should go the extra length to put indicted organizations and their managers on trial with a view to securing the stiffest punishment possible deter those that have the intention of supporting Boko Haram and ISWAP to remain persistent threat to Nigerians.
Boko Haram/ISWAP: Nigerian Army launches another operation
The Deputy Director, Army Public Relation, OPLD, Col. Ado Isa, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
He urged the public to always carry a valid means of identification when moving or passing through Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
Isa said the operation was aimed at searching for and arresting all suspected terrorists that currently roam some parts of the North East.
This, according to him, has become necessary following credible information that some of the fleeing criminals are hibernating in some towns and villages of Borno and Yobe States in particular and North East in general.
Army spokesperson disclosed that the troops had been instructed to strictly check valid means of identification of person before allowing them passage.
He advised people to always carry National Identification Card, Voters Registration Card, Drivers’ License and International Passports, or other valid official identification.
“We therefore once again enjoin all to fully cooperate with troops and security agencies in carrying out this exercise.
“The Theatre Command also wish to state that anyone not positively identified will attract further scrutiny and comprehensive investigation to determine his or her activities with the insurgents or otherwise.
“The general public is please requested to bear with this measure as it is in their best interest and our national security, as well as efforts to end the madness called insurgency as perpetrated by the erstwhile Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters,” he added.
Presidency Rejects UN Assessment Of Insecurity In Nigeria
The Nigerian Government has rejected the assessment of the United Nations of the state of insecurity in the country.
The Presidency in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Friday said that the UN Rapporteur on violence in Nigeria was inadequate and does not reflect the true situation in the country, describing it as disappointing.
It said while the government admitted that violence was a challenge, it was equally addressing the issue at all levels in collaboration with state governments.
However, the Presidency argued that any report that left out intra-group violence as a major factor contributing to the general spate of insecurity was unacceptable to the government.
Shehu said, “In Benue, Taraba, Cross River states and many parts of the country, most of the casualties result from intra-group, inter-group and community violence.
“Many of the displaced persons across the nation are also victims of these conflicts.
“Therefore, we are saddened that the rapporteur did not address intra-ethnic conflicts and cattle rustling as key elements in herders/farmers conflicts.”
The Rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, in one report this month, said “Nigeria is a pressure cooker of conflicts”, warning that it posed serious danger to the rest of West Africa.
Aside from widespread killings by Boko Haram, she touched on raging banditry, killings by herdsmen over right of access to farmlands, kidnapping and alleged increasing human rights abuses by Nigerian security forces.
Callamard said, “The lack of accountability is on such a scale that pretending this is nothing short of a crisis will be a major mistake.
“If ignored, its ripple effect will spread in the sub-region given the country’s important role on the continent.”
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