A pro-democracy and good governance group, Concerned Nigerians, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate arrest of Professor Ango Abdullahi, a former vice-chancellor, over his recent comment on herdsmen that sparked outrage and drew condemnation, especially from the Southern leaders.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Vanguard last week, Prof. Abdullahi had said that the kidnap of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae, was nothing extra-ordinary, even as he accused Southern leaders of a covert plot to split the unity of the north.
However, in a statement issued by its Convener, Deji Adeyanju on Tuesday, the group said it was surprised and disappointed in what it described as Professor Abdullahi’s brazen justification of the wanton killings of innocent Nigerians by herdsmen.
It said the Department of states Services, DSS, should invite the professor for questioning, maintaining that Abdullahi’s statement was hate speech capable of shattering the unity of the country.
According to the statement, “We have read Prof Ango Abdullahi’s alarming interview with the Vanguard Newspaper and are appalled that someone of his age, stature, education and professional qualification would provide brazen justification for the wanton and senseless murders of thousands of Nigerians by herdsmen.
“In his interview, Prof Abdullahi likened the killings of Nigerians by Fulani Herdsmen to a politically motivated ruse by “… the South…” to destroy political unity of the North. He also made several other comments that are too incendiary to repeat here.
“It is distressing that there are people who continue to politicise these senseless killings and who continually provide justification, and nuance, for them.
“It is also distressing that the political elite in the parts of the country continue to refer to colonial era grazing routes that involved the forceful acquisition and ceding of the ancestral homes and lands of the Nigerians in parts of the country, to cattle herders for use as grazing routes and continue to use such colonial era machinations as justification for the disregard and disrespect for the constitution and laws of an independent Federal Republic of Nigeria and the human rights of her citizens.
“Shielding this brazen disregard for the property rights of whole peoples in intellectual garb is dangerous and provides a distressing setting for continued killings.
“In fact, Prof Abdullahi’s condemnable comments indicate more than just a passing knowledge of the killings, its organizers and what their objectives are. They indeed indicate a deep rooted knowledge of these unfortunate events.
“We call on the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to invite Prof Abdullahi to reveal the extent of his knowledge behind the rationale for the killings. This is in keeping with similar invitations extended to others by the DSS to explain comments perceived by the DSS to be hate speech.
“You will recall that the DSS even invited the spokesperson to former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida, for issuing a statement on behalf of his boss.
“Anything less will prove the fear expressed by many people across the country that there is institutional support for herdsmen to be true,” the statement concluded.