The Nigerian Army on Friday arrested the head of Benue Livestock Guards, Alhaji Aliyu Teshaku for allegedly masterminding recent killings in Benue State. Teshaku was arrested on Friday by the Army’s 707 Special Forces Brigade in Makurdi on suspicion of his involvement in some of the deadly attacks recorded across the state since January 1.
The Army said Teshaku was a Boko Haram suspect and his arrest had input from the police and the State Security Service (SSS). Some of the allegations include his alleged involvement in the attack on a Catholic Church on Tuesday in which at least 15 worshipers were killed, including two Catholic priests.
But some Benue activists are seeing his arrest as a persecution for his fierce opposition to herdsmen activities in the state.
Recall that leaders of the Miyetti Allah have repeatedly called for Teshaku’s arrest, accusing him of enforcing the anti-open grazing law and leading a militia allegedly raised by the governor.
While announcing the arrest, Olabisi Ayeni, spokesperson for the Nigerian Army in Makurdi, said security agents moved in time to prevent attacks that were being hatched by Teshaku and his cohorts in Bauchi, Borno and Yobe and Nasarawa States.
The Army described him as Aminu Yaminu (a.k.a.: Tashaku), but findings revealed that the suspect’s name is Aliyu Teshaku.
He was once detained at the Force Headquarters in June 2011 when he turned himself in after being declared wanted as a Boko Haram suspect. But he was later released by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), then headed by Babagana Monguno, now the National Security Adviser, in September 2011.
The police said they released him to the DIA in the spirit of inter-agency cooperation after the agency requested for him.
Teshaku, however, denied the allegations in an interview in March, saying the DIA released him because there was no evidence to establish his connection to Boko Haram. The arrest is seen by some Benue officials as a setback for Governor Samuel Ortom administration’s efforts against the activities of herdsmen in the state.
Teshaku became the head of Civilian Joint Task Force tasked with checking herdsmen attacks in Benue and Nasarawa States in 2013. But his group later changed its name to Benue Livestock Guards following the introduction of anti-open grazing law in Benue State last year.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Benue State has long accused Teshaku of terrorising herdsmen and other Benue residents of Hausa or Fulani origin. Following the January 1 killings of over 100 people in Logo and Guma Local Government Areas of Benue, Teshaku was accused of being the head of a militia allegedly raised by Governor Ortom.
In January, Nigerian soldiers arrested nine suspected killer herdsmen on the Benue border with Taraba State. They accused Mr Teshaku of providing arms to the suspects.
But in an interview shortly after the allegations, Teshaku accused the military of trying to frame him. He also said the military was carrying out the agenda of Miyetti Allah which remained vehemently opposed to the anti-open grazing law.
He added that Benue Livestock Guards had about 2,500 members and eight of them were killed in the January 1 attack in Guma because they were not armed.
The governor also denied the allegations of raising any militia, saying the Nigerian security agencies should rise to their duty and end killings of his people. He inherited Teshaku’s group from former Governor Gabriel Suswam and kept it in place because of continued attacks by suspected herdsmen.
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom has said the Benue State Government will not interfere in the investigations and will allow the law to take its full course.
The special adviser to the governor, Paul Hembah confirmed that no ulterior motive was suspected on the part of federal government, even though he acknowledged the longstanding opposition of Miyetti Allah to Teshaku. “The governor has said he will not support any criminality from anyone, no matter who the person may be,” Mr Hembah, a retired colonel, told newsmen by telephone Saturday morning. “The governor will not interfere in his arrest or his release.”
“The governor is working to end the killings so if anyone is caught, the law should take its cause,” he added. “We don’t suspect any foul play. We don’t think the federal government or the army is doing this to persecute him. But he would be arraigned in court and I am sure the security agency will bring out any evidence they have against him,” he said.
He indicated that the Benue Livestock Guards would not be disbanded as a result of the arrest. “Naturally, someone else would be appointed to replace him because the Benue Livestock Guards would not be disbanded,” he said.
Tony Elumelu Foundation Disburses First Tranche of $5m Partnership Commitment from African Development Bank
Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has congratulated the African Development Bank (AfDB), and AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, on their commitment to African entrepreneurship, with the disbursement of $2.5million seed capital to the AfDB-sponsored beneficiaries of the 2019 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. $2.5m was released today, with the remainder expected to be disbursed to the entrepreneurs in Q12020.
The AfDB commitment follows the recent $8.5 million disbursements from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to 2,648 entrepreneurs in the Sahel region and Africa more broadly and further accelerates the economic empowerment generated by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. In 2019, the Foundation significantly increased the scale and reach of it impact, with the number of beneficiaries of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme rising from its annual commitment of 1,000 to 5,150, in collaboration with global and African partners.
With its commitment to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises and develop young entrepreneurs, AfDB joined the growing list of global development institutions benefiting from the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s unique model of identifying, training, mentoring and funding entrepreneurs and start-ups across Africa. The partnership demonstrates the implementation of the AfDB’s ten-year “Jobs for Youth in Africa” strategy, launched in 2016, to support the creation of 25 million meaningful jobs across the continent.
The partnership illustrates TEF’s willingness to share its infrastructure and know-how, with others who share the mission to empower young African entrepreneurs and TEF’s goal of creating millions of jobs, as well as generating
billions in revenue, to catalyse economic growth across the continent.
The Foundation is currently accepting applications to the 2020 cohort of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme on TEFConnect.com, Africa’s digital hub for entrepreneurs.
Dangote Farms Commissions Tomatoes Nursery To Provide Seedlings For Farmers
In a bid to make Nigeria self-sufficient in tomato production, Dangote Tomatoes Processing Limited, owned by the younger brother of Africa’s richest man, Sani Dangote, has unveiled a N2.8 billion greenhouse nursery in Kano to supply the best quality tomato seedlings to Nigerian farmers.
Speaking on the project, Sani Dangote said the nursery is designed to use the automated Pat Moose planting technology, the first of its kind in Nigeria and has the capacity to process 350 million tonnes of hybrid tomato seedlings per season enabling the planting of 12,000 hectares of tomato farm. The pat moose process takes three weeks before proceeding to the next stage reducing the whole process of growing tomatoes to just 3 months.
He stated that Nigeria consumes about 2.3 million tonnes of tomatoes annually and with the establishment of the nursery, “we have created a capacity to triple tomato production, attaining self-sufficiency in tomato production as well as a potentially exporting surplus to neighboring countries.
“Furthermore, this nursery will produce the highest quality tomato seedling available meaning that the farmers can grow the highest yield tomatoes. Currently, the yields produced by Nigerian farmers are less than the global standard. As a result, farmers will be able to earn more income from selling higher volumes of harvests each season.
“Nigeria is on a trajectory to becoming self-sufficient in rice, tomatoes and poultry production. This means that millions of jobs will be created for her citizens.”, Sani Dangote explained.
The African continent imports $40 billion of food annually despite having 65% of the world’s arable land. The public-private model on-going in Nigeria could be adopted by other African countries to also attain self-sufficiency in food production.
Tony Elumelu Donates Technology Centre To AAU
Chairman of UBA Group, Tony O. Elumelu, has made the donation of a multipurpose information technology center to his alma mater, Ambrose Ali University.
Through the UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Elumelu has championed the construction of a state-of-the-art multipurpose information technology building, which will benefit the students of Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo State. The hall, to be named The Tony O. Elumelu multipurpose hall, is furnished with computers, desks, and chairs measure 839 square meters and have adjoining offices and conveniences.
Elumelu highlighted his motivation: “Education is crucial to Nigeria’s human capital – whether our young people join our national institutions, the private sector or, as I did, take the entrepreneurial path, no one can afford to be cut off from the digital world. It has been a personal mission to ensure that the hall was delivered to specification, for the benefit of the students at the AAU. Success brings with it the duty to give back, and I am just grateful that I am now in a position to meaningfully help the next generation”.
The multipurpose hall was formally handed over to the University, at a ceremony attended by members of the University’s governing council and staff, led by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo.
Speaking at the commissioning, UBA’s Directorate Head, South Bank, Mr. Chris Ofikulu, who represented the UBA Group Chairman, highlighted the contribution of UBA, through its Foundation, to education and development across Africa.
‘As a pan-African bank, operating in 20 countries across our continent, UBA is committed to being a socially responsible institution, and a role model for businesses in Africa. The UBA Foundation actively promotes the socio-economic improvement of the communities in which UBA operates, with a particular emphasis on development in the areas of “Education, Environment, and Economic Empowerment”. We believe in intervening and building capacity within communities, facilitating projects that will act as catalysts for social and economic development’ he stated.
“Tony Elumelu is a product of this great university and is conscious of the need to give back and there is no substitute for world-class educational infrastructure, and this is what has informed the construction of these facilities, that will help equip the future leaders of our great nation Nigeria,” he said.
The AAU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo, who expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards the gesture by the UBA Group Chairman, noted that one of the most pressing needs of the University for 2020 had been met, and thanked UBA and Mr Elumelu.
He challenged students to make proper use of the facilities provided by UBA and to ensure that they emerge great leaders and mentors like Elumelu, whose commitment to catalyzing entrepreneurial growth across Africa, through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and institutionalizing African philanthropy, had created a strong positive role model. ‘We at Ambrose Ali university are so proud of our son Tony Elumelu and every time we see him doing good across Africa, we feel joy and accomplishment’ said Onimawo.
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