Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
If governors of the six states in the South West who are the Chief Security Officers of their states could raise the alarm at the just-concluded three-day security summit in Ibadan over growing insecurity occasioned by rampaging Fulani herders who abduct or kill their victims without any provocation, it indicates that things are no longer at ease in the region.
It was therefore not surprising to witness the large turnout of people including the six governors who thronged the Theophilus Ogunlesi Multi-purpose Hall, University College Hospital, Ibadan, venue of the security summit which was organized by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria.
As early as 8am, thousands of people from Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Ogun and Lagos States, traditional rulers, pressure groups, Fulani representatives had started trooping into the hall to get words of assurance from their governors that their security was guaranteed.
Before the meeting started, it was thrown open by the coordinator of the summit that anyone who wished to say anything that would help their cause should signify.
Agbekoya Revolutionary Group complains
The foundation of the summit appeared shaky when the National Coordinator of “Agbekoya” group, Alhaji Raji Olasunkanmi spilled the beans that his group which had been checking the excesses of the Fulani herders was not hinted about the security meeting.
Vigilante group faults the summit
Similarly, Chief Jimoh Aliu, the leader of the vigilante who spoke through Gideon Akinwumi said he was not comfortable with the presence of members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association who were their attackers. He described the summit as mere jamboree that would not amount to anything.
As at the time the summit was going on, no one knew why the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and Olubadan of Ibadanland did not attend.
I was not invited —Alaafin of Oyo
On Thursday after the summit had ended, Oba Adeyemi said he was not invited. According to him, he and others were planning the summit before it was hijacked, the development which he took exception to. “Ask them what the outcome of their so called summit was, they are back in shame. If you send us, we know how to talk to President Buhari in the language he would understand”, he said.
Gani Adams denied recognition
Though it was being touted that the people put political differences behind them, the refusal to allow the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams to contribute during the meeting leaves much to be desired. He was not called nor given much recognition throughout the summit.
One wonders when Fulani herders were invited to the summit and even contributed and the generalissimo who could make useful suggestion was not allowed to do so. Many observers believed it was his perceived romance with the opposition party, PDP that made them to sideline him.
Yoruba Council of Elders disagree
When it was time for Yoruba Council of Elders to make presentation, the Secretary General of the council, Dr Kunle Olajide stepped out to talk, but he soon realised that someone else had already been briefed by the elders. This caused a little drama as they both struggled to get the microphone. And as if the gods were angry, when it was the turn of the Osun State Governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola to speak, the light went off and this lasted for about 10 minutes.
Chairman S/W Governors’ Forum, Akeredolu raises the alarm
In his contribution at the summit, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is the chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum said, “We should be particularly worried by the current spate of an insidious phenomenon, hitherto unknown and uncommon in our immediate clime, creeping into our erstwhile peaceful and prosperous ambience. The incessant perpetration of anti-social behaviours occasioning pervasive despair and the seeming helplessness of our security agencies to stem the tide of these aberrant attitudes, which threaten the very existence of our region as an autonomous socio-political entity, call for serious scrutiny. We must review these unfortunate incidents individually and collectively. Every state must be able to ascertain the extent of this current threat. We must locate the sources of compromise within our space with a view to curtailing same effectively in both the short and long run.
“Our collective goal should be the security of our space and safety of our people in all ramifications. On this, there should be no compromise. We must, consequently, be proactive in tackling the current security issues”, he said.
Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state corroborated the comments of his counterparts who clamoured for state police as the solution to the issue.
He said, “Just like my colleagues have said, the security situation is worrisome. It has created palpable fears in the minds of our people. Everywhere we go; every person we meet; they confront us with a question on the security situation in the country. They ask us, How are you protecting us; what are you doing with our security? These are the questions they ask us because they voted us to take care of their security and welfare”, he said.
“We’ve nowhere to go”—S/W Fulani
The Chairman, Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammed Kabir Labar however said, “As for me, I have been here for the past 46 years, where can I go? We have no option other than to cooperate with them”, he said.