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Buhari Silence Over 72hrs Ultimatum To Delta By Jihadists, Disappointing- Clark

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The leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and Chairman of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), Chief Edwin Clark has reacted to the 72 hours ultimatum given by the Fulani Jihadist to Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa to revised the ban on open grazing.

DAILY INDEPENDENT had reported that the Jihadist, in an open letter on Sunday asked Governor Okowa to withdraw his support for the ban on open grazing or risk the state capital being attacked.

Reacting to the development at a press conference in Abuja, Clark, who expressed disappointment over the silence of President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government and Northern elders said that open grazing is buried in Southern Nigeria.

He noted that the same Northern elders were quick to accuse Igbo leaders of not publicly condemning the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Expressing concern that less than one week after leaders of thought, traditional rulers and others including himself met on the state of the nation, the Fulani Jihadist issued a threat to attack Delta state.

Clark asked President Buhari to regard himself as President of one Nigeria, and not as President of the Fulanis or the Northerners, adding that they shall resist, at all cost, any attempt to subjugate citizens of one Nigeria.

He advised the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over what he described as his irresponsible and unprofessional language, which he alleged is misleading and misdirecting Mr. President.

He said: “We have watched with restrained patience, the reckless and irresponsible utterances of the so-called Fulani Jihadists and the Miyetti Allah, who believe that they own Nigeria from the North to the sea, and therefore, have the impunity to warn the State Governments, particularly the Delta State Government and Governor to withdraw, within 72 hours, his decision against open grazing, recently taken by the 17 Governors of the South, in a meeting held in Asaba.

“We are reacting because this is not the first time Fulanis and their collaborators have insulted our people. It will be remembered that sometime in 2009, a Legislature from Kebbi State in the National Assembly asked the Federal Government to resettle the people of the Niger Delta in another territory to create a conducive and unhindered atmosphere for the oil companies to operate.

“That we warn, the resulting consequences will be very unpleasant to them. The Federal Government has continuously condoned them and behaving as if the Federal Government is the one giving support to these Fulani Jihadists and the Miyetti Allah because what is happening today in Nigeria, which has resulted in unprecedented insecurity and bad governance in Nigeria, will be worse if they are not called to order by the Federal Government within the shortest time possible.

“For some Fulani Jihadists to issue such insulting and provocative 72 hours’ notice to the Governor of Delta State, without the Federal Government and the elders of northern extraction, ever calling them to order, is most disappointing, considering that the same Northern elders were quick to accuse Igbo leaders of not publicly condemning IPOB.

“Such impudence of the Fulani Jihadists will no longer be tolerated. They even claimed responsibility for the burning/bombing of the Secretariat in Asaba which also houses the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Office.”

He said the decision on open grazing and other decisions taken on national interest by the 17 Southern governors received the full support of the people of Southern Nigeria, particularly the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo of the South East, PANDEF of the South-South and the Afenifere of the South West.

“We will no longer tolerate hate and divisive statements targeted at deriding and insulting others, from these Fulanis who believe Nigeria is exclusively theirs and other Nigerians are their subjects, and not their fellow citizens,” he said.

Clark explained how far they have gone in addressing the crisis rocking the country, adding, “in order to maintain and promote a peaceful Nigeria, I was among other 50 prominent Nigerians including former Heads of State, Traditional Rulers, former Chief Justices, that met for nine hours, under the leadership of former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently on Thursday, 11th June 2021, at the Conference Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, where valuable decisions were taken to maintain and sustain the unity of this country.

“I repeat, on behalf of Southerners, that open grazing has been finally buried in Southern Nigeria. For Mr President to insist that open grazing should continue whereby he asked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to dig out the Gazette that approved open grazing in the First Republic is unbelievable, unpatriotic and unacceptable to our people.

“Mr President should regard himself as President of one Nigeria, and not as President of the Fulanis or the Northerners. We shall resist, at all cost, any attempt to subjugate us as citizens of one Nigeria.

“I also use this opportunity to seriously advise the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over his irresponsible and unprofessional language, which is misleading and misdirecting Mr President. Because the rhetoric question Mr President asked during his interview with Arise Television, whether Nigerians want him (Mr President) to contradict the Attorney General of the Federation, was based on his understanding of the AG’s advice to him.

“The AG’s position is provided for in the Constitution, and he is expected to be independent of parochial and unconstitutional government decisions. He behaves as if his position is that of a Minister of Justice alone.

“This was the reason why at the 2014 National Conference it was recommended that the post of the Attorney General recognised by the Constitution should be separated from that of the Minister of Justice who owes his allegiance to the Government in power that appointed him.

Perhaps Mr President is not aware, or he has not been advised by the AG that the Land Use Act which vested ownership of land on the State Governor is entrenched in the Constitution of the country. Therefore, any Gazette or Law passed by any State or National Assembly is and will be null and void because the 1999 Constitution supersedes all such laws or gazette notices.

“The President has no power or authority to impose open grazing on State Governments. Such illegal activities which are a breach of the 1999 Constitution, will not be accepted and will be legally resisted at all costs.

“Therefore, any law banning open grazing by State Governments is not only legal and binding but is unchallengeable and binding on any person or group of persons, including the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“There is no federal system where the federating units are not controlled by the governors, who is the chief security officer of his federating.

What we are practising today, is not a federation. Rather, what we are practising is a unitary form of government which makes our President the most powerful President of any Federal system. And that is why the people want a new Constitution.”

He, however, appealed to the President to call for a National Dialogue over insecurity and general violence, with Nigerians of various ethnic nationalities, adding that the various calls by groups for secession and breakup of the country are not healthy.

“He needs to have a peaceful government until he leaves office in 2023,” Clark said.

Insisting that enough is enough, Clark said that the country should be restructured and returned to a federal system of government as it was in 1963 before the military took over.

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