…Oyo govt, police delegation visit scene spot today
…Yoruba stand with activist – Fani-Kayode
By Emma Amaize, Dapo Akinrefon, Peter Duru & Rotimi Ojomoyela
Following the ultimatum given to Fulani in Oyo State to leave and the subsequent attack on the residence of Fulani leader, Sarkin Fulani in Igangan, Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state, on Friday, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the arrest of activist Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, was quoted to have given this hint in an interview with BBC Hausa.
Shehu said he was told by the IGP that an order had been given to the Oyo State Police Commissioner, Ngozi Onadeko, to arrest Igboho.
The activist had, last week, ordered herdsmen in Ibarapa to leave the area within seven days, attributing the spate of banditry and killings in the area to them.
He was in Igangan on Friday when he and his supporters reportedly stormed the Fulani settlement in the town to eject the Sarkin Fulani and some other herdsmen accused of fuelling security problems in the area.
Governor Seyi Makinde, in a response, ordered the state Commissioner of Police to treat anyone fuelling ethnic tension as criminals.
According to the BBC report, “Garba said he just got off the telephone with the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police, who confirmed to him that he had ordered the arrest of Igboho, who is to be brought to Abuja.’’
Meanwhile, Sunday Vanguard learned that a delegation of the state government would be visiting the troubled area today.
Police Tactical Team
The visit aims to assess the situation in Igangan and parts of Ibarapa axis.
According to a source, the state Police Commissioner, Onadeko, would lead the Police delegation, to be joined by officers and men of the Police Tactical Team already deployed from Abuja.
“The team will meet stakeholders and traditional rulers and assess the extent of damage, if any. It will engage youths and calm frayed nerves”, the source said.
“A full report of the Ibarapa situation will be made public by government and the police after the assessment tour.”
It was not clear as of press time who would lead the government team, but multiple sources said Governor Seyi Makinde has constituted a high-powered delegation among his senior officials to embark on this trip.
“The team on the government side has been mandated to dissuade the stakeholders from unduly politicising the situation at hand or fuelling ethnic tension,” one of the sources said.
The incident, which is taking an ethnic dimension, attracted mixed reactions from regional bodies including the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Afenifere, Middle Belt Movement for Justice and Peace, MBMJP, and Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF.
The ACF condemned the attack, insisting that such an act was a social upheaval that may destabilise the country.
Publicity Secretary of the group, Emmanuel Yawe, warned that such an attack could lead to reprisal attacks in the North.
He said: “This morning (yesterday) we received reports of an attack by Yoruba youths on Alhaji Saliu Abdulkadir, the Serki Fulani in Oyo State.
“In the reports, he was attacked and driven out of his house, 11 cars and his house burnt with his family members now living in the bush.
“There are allegations that one Sunday Igboho, an agitator for Oodua Republic and who issued an ultimatum giving Fulani people seven days to leave Yorubaland, is the instigator of the attack.
“The most disturbing aspect of the attack is the allegation that security agents who were earlier warned about its imminence stood by helplessly as the attack was carried out.
“The ACF is worried about this trend and calls on the federal and state governments in the South-West to move quickly to avert a social upheaval that may destabilize the whole country.
“We recall that the civil war in the 60s started with attacks and counter attacks like this.
“The governments must be proactive and stop history from repeating itself.
“Those who carried out these attacks must be apprehended and the due process of the law allowed to take its course.
“If this is not done, there may be counter-attacks in the North and the country will be up in flames. The authorities must act. The ACF is very worried and calls on them to act fast.”
Afenifere berated ACF over the remarks, accusing the forum of threatening to provoke attacks against Yoruba.
In a statement titled: ‘ACF Hypocritical Tears’, Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said the reference to the events of 1966 was uncalled for.
The statement reads: “The attention of Afenifere has been drawn to the hypocritical tears of Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, over clashes in Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo State occasioned by the inimical activities of Fulani herdsmen against indigenous Yoruba people.
“While we have gone to a great length to sue for peace and have appealed to our pained people to be law-abiding even with the daily provocations of the Fulani and harassment of our people, we frown at the very arrogant and insulting ACF statement, especially their reference to the event of 1966.
“We must make it clear to them that they cannot threaten us with a war at this stage as we will not provoke war but never are we going to run for anybody on our land.
“We are miffed that a body like ACF that has never shown any remorse over the killing of our people can open their mouths anyhow now because there are consequences for the irresponsible actions of their people.
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“We do not want a repeat of the 1966 event but if people are plotting such an event again, the rain will be over their heads.”
On its part, YCE blamed the Federal Government for the Oyo incident.
Secretary-General of the group, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said:” “The inability of government to take pragmatic steps to curb the rising cases of insecurity resulted in the dastardly act.”
It’s disturbing, says PANDEF
Also, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, the mouthpiece of traditional rulers, leaders and stakeholders of the coastal states of Niger Delta, yesterday, described the incident at Igangan as “quite disturbing.”
The regional group implored Makinde and security agencies “to be circumspect in handling the situation to douse tension in the area.”
National Publicity Secretary of the regional group, Hon Ken Robinson, told Sunday Vanguard: “Intimidation and arrest of individuals may exacerbate the situation. We also appeal to the youths of Igangan and other communities facing similar challenges to exercise restraint in their protestations.
“While PANDEF denounces the reported destruction of property at the residence of the leader of the Fulani community in Igangan, the fact remains that the abductions, killings, and other criminal activities being perpetrated by suspected Fulani herdsmen cannot be allowed to continue.
“People are getting more and more frustrated by the horrible killings, kidnapping, molestation and destruction of farms this group of people.
“There is a growing feeling of distrust, disaffection and even disgust amongst citizens.
“We foresee a situation whereby more communities will give ultimatums to herdsmen to leave their lands.
“Furthermore, the actions and inactions of government, as well as utterances of prominent northern leaders and clerics on the herdsmen crisis, are also worsening matters.
“The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association has been conducting itself like the ‘landlord’ of Nigeria without any depredation.
“When those saddled with the responsibility to govern fail to act responsively to the necessities of citizens, the ramification is what we are witnessing.”
Borrow a leaf from Benue – Middle Belt group
Also speaking, MBMJP urged states in the South-West to ban open grazing the way Benue State did.
Convener of MBMJP, Comrade Joe Bukka, in a statement in Makurdi, said: “The world over, countries adopted ranching in the business of animal husbandry because it makes more business sense and it does not create room for clashes between the herders and farmers.
“So if the Federal Government is not ready to take the lead, state governments could borrow a leaf from Benue State and replicate what Governor Samuel Ortom has done in his state to have peace, in their respective states.”
Speaking on the issue, a former governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, advised Governor Makinde to convene a council of state meeting to brainstorm on the security challenges facing the state.
Alao-Akala gave the advice in an interview with newsmen after an expanded meeting of APC Elders Advisory Council at his residence in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the former governor is the Chairman of the APC Elders Advisory Council in Oyo.
“A council of state meeting comprising all former governors of the state both uniformed and civilian is necessary at this point to save our dear state from total collapse, security-wise”, he said.
“A council of state meeting is a statutory organ of government and its function includes advising the executive in policymaking,” he said.
Also, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, called on farmers and herders in the troubled area to live in harmony.
Adetunji gave the advice yesterday during the Royal Festival of Praise organised by the Holy Ghost Royal House of Restoration Church in Ibadan.
Reacting to the development, a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, cautioned against arresting Igboho, saying the consequences could be disastrous.
He said this in a statement made available to Sunday Vanguard.
According to him, “it would be dangerous, reckless and counterproductive to arrest Sunday Igboho.
“When the Northern youths demanded that Igbos should leave the North no one was arrested. Why should Sunday be arrested or killed for asking killer herdsmen to leave South-West?
“I advise the Federal Government to tread softly because Sunday has the full support of the Yoruba nation because he has spoken for the people. Kill him and you make him a martyr for Oduduwa, arrest him and you make him the greatest hero of the Yoruba since independence. Whichever way, he wins.
“The way to solve the problem is to arrest the herdsmen that kill and kidnap our people in the South-West and not to arrest or kill those that are standing up and speaking for their victims.
“Sunday did not ask for all Fulani to leave the South-West. He asked for the killers, terrorists and kidnappers amongst them to leave Ibarapa and the Yoruba people. Love him for it. Is that a crime?
“As long as he maintains the peace and does not indulge in or encourage any violence I do not see what he has done wrong?
“Today I identify Sunday Igboho who has stood up against wickedness, injustice and apartheid in our land when other Yoruba leaders were too timid to stand. I commend his courage. “