Herders, farmers’ crisis greatest threat to Nigeria’s existence – WPO

The World Peace Organisation (WPO) has identified the prevailing herders, farmers’ crisis in Nigeria as a serious threat to peaceful co-existence and national cohesion.

Its Resident Country Director, Amb. Olumuyiwa Babalola, said this Friday in Abuja at the unveiling and presentation of special advisers with the mandate to assist in the process of peace-building at the federal and local levels of the government in Nigeria.

At the programme which was put together by WPO and the Diplomatic Mission Peace and Prosperity (DMPP) in Collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) 16 WPO ambassadors drawn from across Nigeria were inaugurated as National Peace Advisers, while 13 other others, including the President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chris Isiguzo, were inducted as Peace Ambassadors.

Babalola said the prevailing insecurity ranging from banditry and kidnapping to farmers, herders’ feuds across the country, as well as the insurgency in the North, militancy in the Niger Delta, and political violence in the South-east, had left the country backward in terms of national and socio-economic developments.

“We believe that lasting peace can only be achieved through peace initiatives and mechanisms with a genuine human approach. Hence, the invention of the idea of special advisers on peace matters, as it’s the first of its kind in Nigeria and Africa at large, to assist the government in securing sustainable peace at federal, state, and local levels for national unity and growth.

“Things cannot continue like this; the government must address the current situation to secure significant improvement through Peace initiatives and mechanisms. The World Peace Organisation and Diplomatic Mission Peace and Prosperity in Nigeria has taken it as an obligation and a responsibility of call to service to work with the present administration of His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria by supporting his policies and reforms towards building lasting peace across the country,” he said.

In a keynote address, the Director (Administration and Human Development), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ambassador Mala Usman, who was represented by Mr. Shafii Ndanusa, called on Nigerians to take peace as a collective responsibility that “is central to socio-economic growth of any nation and do everything possible to promote it anywhere in the country.”

In his acceptance speech, Comrade Isiguzo expressed gratitude to the organisers for recognising him, urging his co-awardees to preach, practise, and live in peace wherever they found themselves in a way that would complement the government’s effort at achieving a lasting peace for the country.

NEMA evacuates 198 more Nigerians from Sudan (2nd)

Nigeria, via the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has evacuated 198 citizens, consisting of 160 adults and 38 infants and children, from Port Sudan aboard a Sudan-based airline, Tarco Airline.

According to the NEMA, they arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Friday around 12:09pm.

On why it took a very long process to evacuate the stranded Nigerians, the NEMA director-general, Mustapha Ahmed, said the process was stalled because the crisis in Sudan escalated as well as the refusal of domestic airlines to go to Sudan.

Ahmed said further that the Tarco airline which finally agreed to airlift the Nigerians lost some of their aircraft to the current war in Sudan.

“We all know the crisis in Sudan has escalated seriously. No Nigerian aircraft can go to Port Sudan. We contacted each airline in Nigeria and they were not ready to deploy to Sudan.

“Even the Sudan-based airline we are using, Tarco, we have been working back and forth with them. They had to engage the military authorities for us to be able to evacuate these people.“A war-torn country is not something we want to experience. We are pleased that they are home and we have not lost one Nigerian to the war. Mothers and children are back safely. We brought back 198 people consisting of 160 adults and 38 children and infants,” he said.Asked how the agency intended to evacuate those still stranded, Ahmed said, “We have left over 40 people, and getting the approval of the authorities is very difficult.“This same airline (Tarco) had some of their aircraft blown up in Khartoum and Port Sudan. So, to go to Sudan to do evacuation is a very difficult thing. I have been having sleepless nights on this issue.

“To be frank, the situation is very difficult, the war has escalated, and going into that terrain is almost impossible.

“So far, we have evacuated 2,858 people. We have 40 more left and we want to ferry them because the airline had to work with military authorities to get this set of 198 out.

“So, the easier way for us since the numbers are about 40 is; we will ferry them to Jeddah and then get tickets for them to come back to Nigeria. We have evacuated mostly children, so those we have left there are young men.”

Proper profiling of evacuees

On whether or not the evacuees were properly profiled, the NEMA boss said, “These are Nigerians. We are working with the Nigerian embassy in Sudan which did the profiling and almost all of them have their passports. Those without passports are the kids. So, they are Nigerians.”

He said further that “if the situation in Niger warrants evacuation of Nigerians,” they would be evacuated.

Coup in Niger

“For Nigerians in Niger, if we get to the level where we need to evacuate them, we will. If the situation in Niger warrants us to evacuate Nigerians, we will. We just pray that there is peace all over the world.”

Blueprint gathered that so far, the agency has successfully evacuated 2, 858 from Port Sudan and Egypt.