Constitute panel to document herdsmen’s activities in region
By Dayo Johnson
Akure—AFENIFERE, a Yoruba socio-political group yesterday accused the Nigeria Police force of sectional arrest in the aftermath of the hostilities between the Yoruba and Hausa community in Ile- Ife, Osun State.
Meanwhile,the group has set up a seven-member panel to tour the South-west states and write a report on the nefarious activities of herdsmen, which would be sent to international community if he Nigerian government refuses to act it.
Rising from an emergency meeting that lasted over five hours at the country home of its leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure, Ondo State, the group said the police has turned to a sectional organisation in dispensing justice in Ile Ife killings.
A communiqué read by its spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, condemned the intimidation, harassment and the dehumanizing of the Yoruba indigenes by the security agency.
The group wondered why the Police chose to parade as criminals a section of those involved in the communal clash.
Group condemns dehumanisation of Yoruba
Odumakin said; “We condemn unequivocally the attempts being made by the police high command to intimidate, harass, coarse, ridicule and dehumanised Yoruba elements in Ile Ife, who have been called suspects and who were arrested at Ile Ife, transported to Abuja and paraded by the police as criminals thereby pronouncing them as guilty without any fair hearing.
“Nigeria is still operating Federal system of government and despite the unitarialisation of the country, there is an entity called Osun State in the constitution. The office of the Attorney General of the state is given defined constitutional roles under section 211 of Nigeria constitution to initiate, commence, and discontinue criminal proceedings, he is the chief law officer of the state.
“The people already paraded tried and convicted by the police at Abuja have not been arraigned before any court, beside this there is police command in Osun State which ordinarily should have taken charge of the investigation and after investigation, the police in Osun State would forward its report to the office of the Prosecutor in Osun State for advise and possible prosecution if need be.
“Those that have been criminalized by the police have not committed any treasonable felony or accused of any financial crime to warrant the Federal government taking over the case and possible trial and eventual arraignment before the federal high court.
Wants trial to take place in Ile-Ife
“The position of Afenifere is that the incident happened in Ile Ife in Osun State and it is only within Osun state that those arrested can be detained, investigated and prosecuted if need be.
“Afenifere is not also unaware that even if a treasonable felony had been committed in Osun state, the police can charge the suspect outside the state, not particularly Abuja and above all, the police as a federal institution which belongs to all Nigerians should desist from adding any tribal or ethnic coloration to the unfortunate incident.
“This is the first time we are hearing across the world that two communities engaged in a fight and you are parading only members of a community and put them on trial.
“The police is behaving as if it’s a sectional organisation and not a national institution, that dispense justice.
“Afenifere declared that we will not support any criminal, if any Yoruba is found to committed a crime in Ile Ife, he should be put on trial, but the Hausa should also be put on trail but we cannot accept that only the Yoruba people are guilty in this matter or are the only suspects.
“We are not supporting criminality, we are not subverting justice and we are not saying anybody that commits crime should not face the law and what the police have evaded in all these is that how on earth would you say two communities fought and you put only a section on trail and the other section you have left untouched are from the area where the present leadership of the police hails from. That’s what we are kicking against.
“Therefore we are insisting that the police must be fair, must not be sectional, must obey the law and must work within the rule of law in terms of putting into trial those who participated the crime in Ile Ife.
Menace of Fulani herdsmen
On the menace of Fulani herdsmen, the group said; “The Federal government has shown insufficient will in protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians as stipulated in the 1999 constitution.
“It should immediately and as a matter of urgency, disarm all the herdsmen who are carrying arms and killing people all over the country and prosecute those who are found with guns.
“We are saying that the time has come for those who are doing cattle rearing business to go and have ranches where they would raise their cattle.
“They cannot continue to harass us, we are agrarian community in the south west and many of our people cannot farm again because Fulani herdsmen have taken over their farms , this cannot continue and must stop immediately.’’
Odumakin declared that; “To show our seriousness on this matter, we have empowered a panel to go round all the communities in the south west where the herdsmen have been carrying out all kinds of havoc to do an on-the-spot assessment, and compile reports which we will not hesitate to take to international communities if Nigeria government continues to prove that it is helpless or unwilling to tame the criminal activities of these Fulani herdsmen.’’