*Any group that disobeys does so at its own peril — Akeredolu
*Statement portends danger for Nigeria’s continued existence —YCE
*There’ll be consequences if… —Agbekoya
*Notorious herder, Wakilu arrested in Oyo
*How we arrested Iskilu Wakilu — Oluwole
*Police quiz OPC men for arresting Wakili — Source
*Gani Adams, Afenifere hail OPC over arrest
*ECOWAS protocol must be reviewed to check influx of foreign herders into Nigeria —Sokoto Gov
By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon, Ola Ajayi & Rotimi Ojomoyela
The South West Governors, Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, and Agbekoya Farmers’ Society, yesterday, took a swipe at the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore for opposing the ban imposed on open grazing of cattle in the region.
The association had insisted that the ban was tantamount to an eviction notice.
Secretary-General of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Saleh Alhassan, in an interview with a national daily, had said the ban on open grazing was targeted at destroying the means of livelihood of herdsmen and radicalise the herders.
This came as Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, called for a review of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, protocol on free movement to check the influx of foreign herders into Nigeria.
Alhassan had said: “They (South-West Governors) can’t put an end to open grazing by fiat because grazing is not motorcycle business; there must be an alternative. Secondly, if they say they are going to end open grazing, what is the timeline for it?
“They want to displace herders from where they earn their livelihood. It is not different from an eviction notice – it is just putting the eviction notice into effect. This is very unfortunate because they cannot come out to say they are embracing peaceful herders and then say they are ending open grazing. What do they mean by that? Is there closed grazing?”
Miyetti Allah’ll be doing that at its own peril — Akeredolu
Reacting to Miyetti Allah’s submission that they won’t obey South- West governors ban on open grazing, the chairman, South-West Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, said: “It is instructive to strongly note and aver that anyone or group that desires to flout legal policy directions of state authorities in the region does that at its own peril.”
The statement portends danger for Nigeria’s continued existence —YCE
In his reaction, the Secretary-General of the YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide, said such statement portended danger for the continued existence of the country.
Olajide said: “They are only trying to abuse their fundamental human rights of freedom of speech but we dare them to violate the laws of the land, some of which have been passed by the state houses of assembly. They will be arrested and prosecuted.
“Once governors make laws which they have right to do by proposing to the house of assembly and once the assembly ratifies it and the governors assent with their signatures, it becomes a law of the state and anybody who disobeys such law will face the consequences.
“For me, it is nothing to worry about, the law permits all Nigerians to reside in any part of the country and do any legitimate business but in line with the laws of the host state.
“Freedom to reside anywhere does not give you the freedom to violate laws; we are not in a lawless country. I cannot just go to any northern part of the country and engage in activities contrary to the their laws.
“I know that the ban on open grazing would help to ameliorate the insecurity situation and the farmers/herders clashes. Those who are ready to disobey the policy should go ahead but once two or three of them are arrested, prosecuted and convicted according to the laws of the land, others would not be told to comply.”
There’ll be consequences if… —Agbekoya
On its part, Agbekoya Farmers Association chided the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore over their refusal to obey the South-West Governors’ open grazing laws, saying there will be consequences if they failed to obey the law.
President-General of the group, Chief Kamorudeen Okikiola, said: “Can a Southerner or a Yoruba man living in the North refuse to obey the Sharia law or any other law of the Northern states?
“Yoruba people have been very accommodating, but if we are pushed to the wall, we are going to fight back. How can a group of people, under a business name or an association, come out openly to say that they cannot obey the law of the state where they are operating their business, even if the law affects their business?
“We call on the South-West governors to put everything in place to make sure the open grazing law is effectively obeyed to avoid and put to end clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the Southwest.”
Okikiola reiterated that the effective solution to the problems of clashes between farmers and herdsmen was to stop open grazing, stressing that those interested in rearing cattle must, by all means, establish cattle ranches as it is done in other countries of the world.
“The days of open grazing are gone, and anyone that is interested in rearing cattle should establish a cattle ranch. We are warning the members of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore to be ready to obey the open grazing law in South-West or face the wrath of the law or other consequences,” he said.
Notorious Fulani herder, Wakilu arrested in Oyo
Meanwhile, an alleged notorious Fulani herder, Abdullah Wakilu, has been arrested by men of Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, loyal to Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams.
Wakilu has been variously accused by indigenes of Ibarapa area of masterminding kidnappings and killings of innocent people in the area.
He was said to have earlier been driven away by a swarm of bees some weeks ago which the Yoruba ‘freedom fighter’, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, a.k.a. Igboho dismissed as rumour.
The joint team of Ibarapa security operatives, including OPC, Vigilante and other groups had arrested Wakilu and three others after several attempts which culminated in a gun battle.
Wakilu was nabbed barely seven days after his second-in-command, Isiaka Muhammadu, was arrested alongside four others by Oyo State chapter of Oodua People’s Congress on the directives of Gani Adams.
He was arrested around 7am yesterday, and had been handed over to the Divisional Police Office, Igbo-Ora, Oyo State.
Wakilu and his gang had, for a very long time, allegedly been involved in the killing and kidnapping of several people in Ibarapa, Oke-Ogun area of Oyo state.
How we arrested Iskilu Wakilu —Chief Ayedeji Oluwole
Narrating how the alleged notorious herder, Iskilu Wakili was arrested, Chief Ayedeji Oluwole, the leader of the team that arrested him, said: “When I saw him, I noticed he is an elderly man. He is the brain behind atrocities being committed by herders in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun areas.”
Wakili’s guards opened fire at us
Oluwole said: “We will not take laws into our hands. We arrested them in Ayete forest and we are on our way to Igbo-Ora where we will hand over the suspects to men of the Department of State Services, DSS.
“When we got there, Wakili’s men opened fire on us but by the power of Oduduwa, none of us was hurt. We had earlier promised we would arrest Wakili without any bloodshed and we have done it. We are going to hand them over to DSS, we shall see what state and federal governments will do.
“If we actually wanted to treat you people (herders) as you kill our people, we would have killed you all. But, we will hand you over to the security agents. You will tell them where you hid your weapons.”
Interrogating one of the suspects who identified himself as Ismaila, the OPC man asked where they kept their weapons which they use to attack people, but the man said his own gun was with the police at Iyaganku.
Police quiz OPC men for arresting Wakili — Source
However, some members of the OPC who arrested the alleged notorious herder at Ayete, were said to have been rounded up by Oyo State Police Command.
A source close to the group told Vanguard that their colleagues who arrested Wakili had in turn, been arrested by the police and were being queried for arresting the herder.
“I heard that some OPC men have been arrested by the police in connection with Wakili’s arrest. It is curious,’’ the source said.
A resident of Igangan, Saliu Abdulkadri, also said: “Many of us had thought that the end had come to the oppression and constant anguish to which the farmers were subjected. Little did we know that the woes had just begun.”
He said after the eviction of Seriki, Wakili had allegedly intensified his atrocities in the area, daring anyone to arrest him.
Sources said Wakili relied on deadly weapons, native powers as well as federal might.
It was learned that Wakili had recently shot at an emissary said to have been sent by Baale Odomofin, the traditional ruler in control of Gbangbangere, Konko, Dagbere, Kajola, Magbeje, and other hamlets in Ayete, to serve him a quit notice.
Reacting through its Public Relations Officer, CSP Gbenga Fadeyi, Oyo State Police Command stated:
“At about 0900 hrs of date (7th March 2021), information was received that a group of persons, (later found out to be members of the Odua Peoples Congress- OPC), had invaded Kajola community in Ibarapa axis of the State.
“The invasion was reportedly aimed at arresting one Wakili, a Fulani by tribe, who is alleged to be the sponsor and mastermind of various criminal attacks against the people/farmers of Yoruba origin in the community.
“The State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, said preliminary findings revealed that some OPC members went to Kajola community in Ibarapa North Local government Area of Oyo State.
“While there, the house of the Wakili in question was set ablaze, while a female (the identity of who is yet to be ascertained) was burnt in the fire and Wakili (about 75 years old and blind) with two other persons were picked up. The three of them are currently in the custody of the Police.”
She directed that Wakili (due to his frail appearance and state of health), be moved to the hospital, while others are being interrogated.
According to her, those being interrogated are the OPC members involved in arson and murder.
Onadeko vowed that any person or group of persons from any region or tribe found culpable to have committed any criminal act(s) in the state would not be spared, but would be arrested and dealt with according to extant laws.
She assured the public that the officers and men in the command would not fail in their duty to bring to book criminal elements arrested for any infringement on the laws of the land, saying adequate security measures had been put in place against anything untoward.
The police asked anybody that has any case against Iskilu Wakili to report it to the State Criminal Investigation Department, (CID, Iyaganku, Ibadan, for discreet investigation.
Gani Adams applauds OPC, Ibarapa joint security team over arrest of Wakilu, 3 others in Ibarapa
Reacting to the arrest, Iba Adams commended the joint efforts of all the security operatives in Ibarapa on the arrest of most dreaded and notorious kidnap kingpin, Abdullah Wakilu in a joint operation today.
Speaking on the development, Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, said: “I am happy that the notorious kidnapper had been captured alongside three others. It is a good development and a positive signal to other criminal elements that the South-West is no longer an abode for bandits, kidnappers and criminal herders.
“I commend all the members of the joint security team that have made this possible because with the video at my disposal, it was purely a neat job.
“With this development, I think the whole world will agree with me that the fight against insurgency, kidnapping and banditry needs native intelligence, information gathering and grassroots support from local securities and operatives.
“As I said earlier, the effort to rid the South-West of bandits and kidnappers was to complement the efforts of the Police and in doing that, it is also very important for the Police to support the local security operatives because they are always at the grassroots and they have their ears to the ground on local security matters.”
Afenifere commends 0PC over arrest of Wakilu
Also, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, commended the OPC for apprehending the kidnap kingpin.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said: “Afenifere gives tremendous commendation to OPC, under Iba Gani Adams, for the arrest of Iskilu Wakilu, a bandit who has been spreading terror on our people in Igboho area and the Nigerian police and other security agencies unable to do anything about him.
“The early morning peaceful arrest confirms our position on how effective local initiative can do well in homeland security.
“Nigeria is going nowhere with a security network that shuns federalism. Well done, OPC.”
Review ECOWAS protocol to check influx of foreign herders into Nigeria — Tambuwal
Meanwhile, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has called for a review of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, protocol on free movement to check the influx of foreign herders into Nigeria.
The governor said some of the herdsmen who come from neighbouring countries were largely responsible for the lingering pastoral conflict in Nigeria.
ECOWAS adopted the protocol in 1979 to aid free movement among West African countries in order to foster regional integration and development.
The governor, who made the call in an interview with Television Continental, TVC, said: “We need to go back to the protocol of ECOWAS because it is established that a number of these herders are coming from across other West African countries.
“So, we need to go back and recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari… we need to go back to the ECOWAS protocol, to convene a meeting of ECOWAS and review it.
“We, as a country, have a problem with the protocol, so review it. We must find a way of stopping this movement.”
Governor Tambuwal said the protocol has made it possible for herdsmen to come into Nigeria from as far as Central Africa.
“It is affecting everybody. We need to rejig it and see where there are issues and address them,” Tambuwal said.