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Boundary disputes: Osinbajo faults politicians for playing ethnic, religious games

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has faulted some politicians whom he said “play ethnic or religious games” to exacerbate otherwise straightforward issues resulting in violence and death.

This is as he charged the National Boundaries Commission to step up its vital role to play in managing geographic boundaries and preventing border conflicts.

Osinbajo, who doubles as Chairman of the NBC, spoke on Monday at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja, during a meeting with State Deputy Governors from the federation and management of the NBC over misunderstandings that often deteriorate into boundary disputes.

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The VP said it has become expedient to convene the meeting to enable all stakeholders in boundary disputes to understand the Act establishing the NBC and their roles to ensure proper boundary management.

The NBC was established under CAP 238 of 1990 and is responsible for managing internal boundaries among states and external borders between Nigeria and other countries. It is also responsible for preventing the inflow of contraband and illegal materials into the country.

According to the Vice President, “We cannot stress this enough. Land is an emotive issue. And it accounts for many cases of the mindless violence and fatalities that result from border disputes and clashes. For many of our people, it is the very essence of their identity —the whole question of who owns what and who should have access to a particular piece of land. Sometimes it is tied to ancestry and ancient rivalries.

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“But most of these combatants do not understand that many of these boundary lines are mainly for administrative convenience. And there should not be disputes about them, and even if there are, it should not lead to violence or the dislocation of people.

“Very often, we observe where politicians play ethnic or religious games which exacerbates otherwise straightforward issues and may result in violence and death. I believe that we are a responsible leadership that can sit at the table with other leaders and agree to give and take, and make concessions.”

The Vice President explained that the meeting became necessary to settle disputes and minimise interstate rancour and instability by interacting directly with the responsible state functionaries and getting a better sense of how they think their border disputes could be more efficiently and successfully tackled.

“I fully agree that such an interaction is necessary after all the users of the commission’s services are best suited to give helpful feedback. Such interaction will be an opportunity to jointly review thecommission’s work so far and to chart a course to the peaceful management of our interstate boundaries.

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“So, the handling of border disputes also requires a good knowledge of the issues, and in my view, sincerity of purpose and sensitivity. And this can only be effectively done at the highest levels of governance.

“Which is why the National Boundary Commission Establishment Act of 2006 provides organs at the three levels of government. But in particular, it establishes state boundary committees that are headed by deputy governors in every one of the states. And, of course, the permanent secretaries in the FCT. While the VP chairs the NBC, which is the apex body for resolving border disputes.”

The Vice President said that bold, fair-minded, trustworthy, courageous and patriotic leadership is required to ensure that border disputes are settled without politicisation.

He charged the zonal commissioners of the NBC on their mandate saying, “I believe that in this challenging but crucial enterprise, the border commission has a vital role to play. Its role is sensitive. It’s not just an expert body. But it is also expected to be an honest broker. This is why we have the honourable members of the commission who are from all six geopolitical zones.

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“The commission is a public resource whose credibility in dispute resolution is fundamental, we all have a duty to support the commission but also to keep it honest and on its toes all the time because the role of the commission is central to everything we do in border dispute resolution.”

After the closed-door session, Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, revealed that the NBC has been lagging in its duties to demarcate interstate boundaries properly. He said the commission had been charged to take seriously following deliberations with stakeholders.

He said, “After the deliberations, the NBC accepted that there had been issues, and they also accepted that they have not been doing a lot of work. They have also been going through some difficulties, funding and the rest, but at the end of the day, the commission chairman said that they are being funded. For some of us, we were taken aback.

“We agreed that they must step up and do the needful, especially in demarcating boundaries that have not been resolved, and they should carry all the states along in doing this. Also, states should cooperate to ensure that we sensitise communities that are involved in these disputes.”

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Nigeria Newspapers

Four welders embezzle N15m disbursed by Edo govt.

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The quartet of Isaac Ogundimu, John Odaro, Andrew Egharevba, and Omorogbe Jacob has been found guilty of embezzling the N15 million disbursed by the Edo State Government.

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The money was disbursed by the Edo State Government to the Edo State Welders Association for the empowerment of welders in the state.

The four men, who are executive members of the association, then diverted the money for their personal use.

However, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele of the Edo State High Court sitting in Benin, declare the men guilty on Friday.

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Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, who confirmed the development on Monday, said the suspects were arraigned in 2017 on a 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing by conversion, and forgery.

Upon arraignment, the four defendants pleaded not guilty setting the stage for a full trial.

To prove the allegations against the defendants the prosecution counsel, Moses Arumemi, Austin Ozigbu, Onyeka Ekweozor and Ibrahim Mohammed, called five witnesses and tendered eight exhibits while the defendants filed a no-case submission which was dismissed by the court and they were ordered to enter their defence.

However, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele in her judgment found the defendants guilty, convicted and sentenced them to seven years imprisonment or a fine of N650, 000 each.

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Bogoro crisis: Dogara stripped of traditional title in Bauchi 

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A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has been suspended by the Emir of Bauchi, Rilwanu Adamu, as Jakadan Bauchi.

The suspension followed the attacks on the convoys of the Emirs of Bauchi and Dass, Biliyaminu Othman, on December 31, 2021, by hoodlums on their way to Mwari for the 21st anniversary of a late leader and crusader, Peter Gonto.

Adamu, while speaking to journalists at a press conference in his Palace on Monday, said the suspension is with immediate effect.

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The monarch, who was represented by the Galadiman Bauchi, Sa’idu Jahun, said, “More surprisingly, he did not sympathise nor showed any sign of remorse towards what happened to their Royal Highnesses, the Emirs of Bauchi and Dass.

“The Emirate Council, therefore, decided to suspend his title of Jakadan Bauchi until the determination of the case by the court.”

had reported that the convoys of the two Emirs who were on their way to a book launch/anniversary lecture and Foundation launch, of Gonto, when they were attacked after it turned violent and had to turn back to Bauchi with some vehicles in their convoys damaged. The windscreen of the Emir of Dass was among the vehicles partly destroyed.

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Dogara, who represents Dass/Tafawa Balewa/Bogoro Constituency in the House of Representatives and is in his fourth term, had written a letter to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, informing him of security threats if the event is allowed to hold.

But despite the warning, the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, Umar Sanda, gave approval for the event to hold just as he ordered the full deployment of police tactical teams to provide security to lives and properties before, during and after the memorial anniversary and book launch of the grandfather of Dogara’s wife.

Shortly after the memorial lecture and book launch commenced at the Government Secondary School, Mwari in Bogoro LGA, women and youths besieged the venue of the event forcing it to end abruptly.

They later set the venue on fire burning down chairs, canopies, musical equipment and many other properties. Ten houses were later confirmed by the Bauchi State Police Command in a statement, as having been burnt during the crisis.

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