March 10, 2021

OPC, Fulani group in verbal war over arrest of Wakili


…Wakili was involved in destruction of farmlands—Ayete monarch

…Police release detained OPC members on health grounds

..It’s good news—Gani Adams

…YCE, PDP warn over proposed creation of ranches in Ekiti

By Dapo Akinrefon, Ola Ajayi, Rotimi Ojomoyela & Deola Badru

CHAIRMAN of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, GAFDAN, in Oyo State, Alhaji Yusuf Gizori, and the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, were, yesterday, locked in a war of words over the alleged attack on Fulani leader, Iskilu Wakili, at Ayete, in Oyo State.

The verbal war came as the Asawo of Ayete, in Ibarapa North local government area of Oyo State, Oba Emmanuel Okeniyi, also, yesterday, insisted that Wakili was involved in the destruction of farmlands in his domain, which ruined business for most farmers in the area.

This came on a day three members of Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, who were detained for the alleged attack on Wakili were released by the state police command on health grounds, after they were sent back to Oyo from Abuja.

Recall that the OPC members were taken to Force Headquarters, Abuja, from Panti in Lagos on Sunday.

It was gathered that their release followed the intervention of Oyo State government and the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams.

Fulani, OPC trade words over Wakili

While the herders alleged that OPC killed one Fatima Umar, the sister of Wakili during the raid, the Yoruba group said it was far from the truth.

Contrary to the claims by OPC that the 75-year-old Wakili was responsible for kidnapping and killing of Yoruba indigenes, the herders wondered how a 75-year-old blind man could be responsible for killings and kidnappings.

Gizori, who spoke with newsmen in Ibadan, said apart from the houses and motorcycles set ablaze when the OPC members allegedly attacked Wakilu’s house, N5 million meant for their members was also burnt.

Gizori said: “We invited you to brief you on the development that led to the arrest of our member and a 75-year-old Iskilu Wakili. When they arrived around 7 am, they alleged that he was sponsoring and masterminding various criminal attacks against farmers who are of Yoruba origin in the community.

“First, Wakili is old and he’s about 75 years; he is blind and he has spent 19 years in the area without any criminal record. As we speak, two of his sons are receiving treatment in Igboora as a result of the incident.

‘’His houses and six motorcycles were burnt along with bags of foodstuffs and N5million meant for our members.

“The attack led to the death of one of my sisters, Fatima Umar, with a gunshot fired by OPC members. We demand a thorough investigation into the arson and the government needs to caution the OPC and other unrecognized groups in the southwest against such things.”

No harm was done to Wakili—OPC

But, the OPC coordinator in Oyo State, Mr. Rotimi Olumo, said no harm was done to Wakili, adding that he was handed over to the police.

Olumo faulted the claims of Gizori, saying people needed to visit Ayete, Igangan, and Tapa to listen to residents speak about the atrocities committed by Wakilu.

He said: “The people of the area have been complaining about the man and his agents for long. Our men went to the village, arrested him and handed him over to Police. We handed him over to Police because we recognise the superior authorities and we didn’t take the law into our hands.”

Wakili was involved in destruction of farmlands—Ayete monarch

On his part, the  Asawo of Ayete,  Oba  Emmanuel Okeniyi, who spoke in Yoruba language, said reports of the notorious activities of Wakili were brought to his attention by the Baale and farmers in his domain.

He, however, clarified that he was not around when Wakili was arrested by the joint security team, adding that he attended the coronation of another monarch in Lalate atv the time of his arrest by the OPC men.

READ ALSO: Gani Adams’ critics are enemies of Yoruba race ― Osun OPC coordinator

Oba Okeniyi said: “I was not around when it happened. Most of us traditional rulers went for the coronation of Oba Lalate, we got home around 8 pm, we were not aware of what happened. It was when we got home that we heard what happened on that fateful day.

“We could not apprehend the kidnappers, the victims said those who kidnapped them were Fulani. Whether he (Wakili) was involved or not in kidnappings, we may not know.

“One of my chiefs owned the land where Wakili was resident but for some time, Wakili has been involved in the destruction of farmlands in Ayete and left the farmers in penury. As we speak, most of the farmers who are victims of Wakili’s atrocities have not recovered.

‘’It got to a point the Baale of the area told Wakili to leave the area but he (Wakili) refused to leave and that led to him (Wakili) being dragged to the court.

Police release detained OPC members

Meanwhile, following the intervention of Oyo State government and the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, the three members of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, who were detained for allegedly attacking Wakili were yesterday, released by the state police command.

The suspects were said to have been released by 5:40 pm.

OPC coordinator, Mr. Olumo, confirmed the release of the OPC members.

Also confirming the release, Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Gbenga Fadeyi, said: “They were granted bail this evening, while their bail conditions are still under processing.

“The bail was granted based on their health conditions. That’s what I can say for now.”

The three detained OPC members, Dauda Kazeem, Awodele Adedigba and Ramon Hassan, were detained on Sunday, shortly after the OPC handed over Wakili, to the police.

Wakili was captured alongside three others in Igangan after several attempts.

It’s good news—Gani Adams

Reacting to the release of the OPC members, the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, said: “The detention of the three men became a public issue because of the circumstances surrounding the arrest and detention of our members, as well as the notorious kidnapper Wakili.

“The good news is that the police released our men in their custody, and it is great. I want to appreciate everybody that has raised their voices against the unjust detention, including well-meaning Nigerians, public opinion experts, socio-cultural groups, such as Afenifere, Yoruba Summit Group, YSG, and the media for their support.

‘’I want to assure Nigerians that the OPC will continue to support and complement the efforts of all security agencies, including the police, in ensuring that the southwest is safe.”

YCE, PDP warn over proposed creation of ranches in Ekiti

Meanwhile, the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Ekiti State, yesterday, urged Ekiti State government to engage relevant stakeholders on the planned establishment of ranches under the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

The call is a sequel to the proposed plan by the government to set up ranches as a viable solution to end clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.

Speaking with Vanguard in Ado Ekiti, the Secretary-General of YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide, who said the group would not object to the plan, noted that traditional rulers and other stakeholders must be adequately carried along in the execution of the project, given the obvious suspicion in the land.

Olajide said: “It is a welcome development but a lot of care must be exercised and the people must know what the National Livestock Transformation plan is all about.

“We have no objection to the state establishing ranches to ameliorate farmers/ herders clashes. Nevertheless, we must not overlook the fact that there is strong mutual suspicion in Nigeria and the details of the National Livestock Transformation Plan are not known to Nigerians.

“We view some of the decisions of the current administration with a lot of suspicions. As such I believe that a lot of work still has to be done. We do not want any surreptitious plan by anybody from any parts of the country to take over our land in Ekiti.”

Similarly, the spokesman of PDP in Ekiti State, Raphael Adeyanju, urged the state government not to be in a hurry to create ranches with state resources for people going about their private businesses.

The statement read: “The attention of Ekiti chapter of PDP has been drawn to the plan of the Fayemi’s government to create ranches for herders in Ekiti State. We can describe this as a welcome development as long as no government fund is expended on a private business.

“We in the PDP regard cow rearing as lucrative business. Apart from the Fulani, many indigenes of Ekiti also engage in the business, they should be encouraged to engage in modern ranching.

“We are, however, opposed to Fayemi’s attempt to play politics with Ekiti destiny. He has no right to cede any portion of Ekiti to appease some troublesome elements of the society.”

Vanguard News Nigeria