The major headlines in mainstream newspapers, today, Friday, April 27, are focused on the Senate and federal government’s response to the fresh wave of herdsmen attacks in Benue; and the Senate's reaction to the withdrawal of $496 million by President Muhammadu Buhari, to purchase aircraft from the USA, without their approval.
The Guardian is reporting that the National Executive Council (NEC) on Thursday, April 26, approved the recommendation of its sub-committee, calling for open grazing to be banned across the country.
The governor of Ebonyi state, Dave Umahi, who is the chairman of the federal government’s three-man sub-committee on herdsmen/farmers clashes, made the disclosure known to newsmen.
The committee was specifically mandated to find out the causes of the clashes between farmers and herdsmen, and to engage relevant stakeholders in dialogue, with the aim of bringing an end to the crisis which has claimed many innocent lives.
Umahi said that the panel submitted its report to the Council, which agreed to the recommendation to ban open grazing, opting for the establishment of ranches in states affected by the herdsmen onslaught.
The Nation is also focused on the response of the National Economic Council to the herdsmen attacks.
It reports that the Council supported the immediate creation of ranches across the country and agreed to stop herdsmen’s movement, starting with five states – Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna and Plateau – which are most affected by the crisis.
According to the publication, Ebonyi state Governor Dave Umahi said the five states are expected to provide land for ranches.
The governor said that through ranching, the nomadic herdsmen and their families would have access to schools and medical facilities.
Still on the issue of the fresh wave of attacks in Benue, Vanguard is reporting that President Muhammadu Buhari was summoned by the Senate on Thursday, April 26, to address it on the spate of killings in the country.
The publication pointed out that the summons was given on the day suspected herdsmen invaded the African Church, Mbamondo Ukemberagya in Logo local government area of Benue state, killing seven persons who were taking refuge in the church after being displaced by the raging herdsmen crisis in the area.
Bukola Saraki, the Senate president, said the leadership of the red chamber would meet with its counterparts from the House of Representatives, to fix an appropriate date and time for President Buhari to appear and intimate the National Assembly on the security challenges in the country.
At the emotionally charged plenary, the upper legislative chamber also observed a minute of silence for the dead.
On its part, The Punch is reporting that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign, following concerns about the recent killings by suspected herdsmen in various parts of the country, including two Catholic priests and 17 other worshippers in Benue state.
The CBCN made the call on Thursday evening, April 26, in a communiqué signed by its president, Most Rev Augustine Akubeze, and secretary, Most Rev Camillus Umoh.
In the communique titled, “When will this barbarism end?” the clerics urged the president to choose the honourable path and step aside “to save the nation from total collapse”, instead of presiding “over the killing fields and mass graveyard” that the country had allegedly become.
The CBCN also described the killings that claimed the lives of 19 people including two priests in Benue on Tuesday, April 24, as a “carefully planned” dastardly act.
Meanwhile, This Day is focused on the Senate’s reaction to the withdrawal of $496 million by President Buhari, to purchase 12 Super Tucano aircraft from the US, without approval from the National Assembly.
The publication reports that Senate president Bukola Saraki revealed that there was enough time for President Muhammadu Buhari to seek the approval of the National Assembly for the purchase.
He stated: “It was August last year, we were on recess when I got the message from the US ambassador that the Senate Committee at the Congress of the United States, wanted to visit us, because they got a request from President Trump to approve the payment of Tucanos, but they need approval.
“Their congress wanted to come to Nigeria to speak with their counterparts, and we all had to come back from our vacation, and I led the team with the House of Representatives members, and members here, and we met the members of Congress on this issue.
“So definitely, we were aware at that time of this issue, between September (2017) and February (2018), with all due respect, there was ample time for the executive to have carried us along on this issue.”
The disclosure from the Senate president came as senators called for the president’s impeachment for his willful violation of sections 80 (1-4) of the 1999 Constitution.
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