April 22, 2024

Yoruba Nation: Sunday Igboho, Akintoye call for negotiation meeting with FG

Yoruba Nation activists, Igboho, Akintoye react to agitators’ invasion in Oyo govt secretariat

…ask FG to respond before June 15

By Laolu Elijah, Ibadan

The proponents of self determination for Yoruba have given the Federal Government till June 15, 2024 to invite them to a negotiation table to discuss the status of the ethnic group in Nigeria.

The ultimatum is contained in a letter signed by the trio of Professor Adebanji Akintoye, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, leader of the Yoruba National Defence and Otunba Ola Ademola, Vice-Chairman Yoruba Self-determination Movement, and addressed to the Presidency.

The letter read in part: “That the Nigerian Federal Government shall, within the next two months, but not later than June 15, 2024, inform us Yoruba Self-determination Movement that the Nigerian Federal Government have graciously agreed to our proposal for negotiation and that they have set up a negotiation team that will meet and dialogue with our Yoruba nation’s negotiation team”.

Also contained in the letter was a request to break away from Nigeria as a result of the alleged hostilities of herders who threaten the existence of the Yoruba by persistent kidnapping, killing and maiming.

The letter, dated April 17, 2024, reads, “We send this letter most respectfully to Your Excellency as a follow-up to our earlier letter, dated August 06, 2022, which we delivered to your predecessor, President Muhammadu Buhari, in his exalted position then as President of Nigeria.”

“Since 2015, the Fulani have been killing widely among the other peoples of Nigeria, including us Yoruba, destroying farms, villages and other assets, kidnapping men, women and children, extorting large amounts of money as ransom from friends and family of the kidnapped, and repeatedly asserting their intention to seize the homelands of all the indigenous peoples of Nigeria for the purpose of turning all into a Fulani homeland.”

“In the Middle Belt, horrendous blood-letting is going on, very many families have been forced into Internally Displaced People Camps, and many of their villages have been seized by the Fulani and renamed as Fulani villages.

“In our Yoruba homeland, our people are resisting somewhat better, but the Fulani attacks and killings and kidnappings are unrelenting and are coming daily, leading to horrific instability, and forcing most of our farmers to abandon farming altogether, thereby dooming Yoruba people to years and years of famine.

“According to an unofficial estimate, the Fulani have killed as many as 29,000 Yoruba people in the years since 2015.

“All these actions by the Fulani are, to us Yoruba, a sufficient reason for our seeking to separate our Yoruba nation from Nigeria. Most of us Yoruba have no confidence in the ‘Restructuring’ that some of our most respected Yoruba leaders are advocating.

Restructuring can’t keep Fulani herders away

Still hinging to the attacks by the herders, the Yoruba leaders went further, “And our reason is that we know that restructuring cannot keep the Fulani marauders away from our homeland – since, after restructuring, the Fulani would still be Nigerians like us, and would still have full citizens’ rights to come in large numbers, and with weapons and intent to kill and destroy and seize land, to our homeland”.

“Their spokespersons have said again and again unambiguously that their Fulani nation has prepared all its citizens to fight their current war of subjugation and land seizure for decades and even centuries to come.

“We Yoruba must not underestimate the Fulani; we must not condemn our people to Fulani killings, destruction, raping, kidnapping and extortion of ransom for decades or centuries to come. Our Yoruba nation may not survive such prolonged battering.

“Mr. President, another crucial matter that we Yoruba must bring before Your Excellency is the horrific and seriously disturbing character of the attitude and the utterly disrespectful approach of one of the nations of Nigeria, namely the Fulani nation, to the Federal Government and the sanctity, integrity and dignity of the Nigeria state and the public order.

“Your Excellency, since your inauguration as President of Nigeria in May 2023, the Fulani have stepped onto such a higher level of national devastation as to add mightily to our reasons for seeking to separate our Yoruba nation from Nigeria.

“We ask you to witness, Your Excellency, the two declarations of war by the Fulani against the President and the Federal government of Nigeria and against the entire Nigerian polity.

“First Fulani Declaration of War, January 24, 2024: In this first Declaration, the Fulani: Demand “immediate release” of the leader of Miyetti Allah, Bello Bodejo, who was arrested for illegally creating an armed Fulani force which he intended to deploy to all states of Nigeria.

“The Fulani declaration commands: “We hereby reiterate our demand for the release of Bello Bodejo. We hereby give 72 hours notice. Failure to release him, the Nigerian Government will hear from us.

“Threaten that because the Fulani elders had failed to secure a Fulani successor or a person who would ‘protect Fulani interests’, to succeed President Buhari in 2023, the Fulani have decided that their response is ‘Inevitable Jihad.’

“Both of these Declarations of War were proclaimed by the top Fulani organization named Fulani Nationalists Movement, (FUNAM), and were signed by its President and Vice, Umar Amir Shehu and Badu Salisu Ahmadu.

“At the same time as the Fulani Nationalist Movement has been issuing their Declarations of War, leading members of the Fulani traditional and political elite (the Sultan, Emirs, former Presidents and Vice-Presidents of Nigeria, former Ministers in the Nigerian Federal Government, former and current members of the Nigerian National Assembly, etc);

“…all of whom never raised a voice against President Buhari’s egregious misgovernment and hideous corruption for eight years, have been vociferously and persistently castigating President Tinubu over virtually every official action of his, threatening that their Northern masses would rebel against him, and threatening that the Nigerian military would sack his government.

“The Fulani elite seem to be saying in effect that they intend to make Nigeria ungovernable for President Tinubu, and that they would never accept any official action of his.

“Your Excellency, the above, plus all the matters raised by us in our letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and dated August 06, 2022, copy of which letter we hereby respectfully attach to this letter, is the fullness of our respectful message to Your Excellency.

“Your Excellency, we Yoruba Self-determination Movement, acting for and on behalf of our 60-million Yoruba people of the Ekiti State, Lagos State, Ogun State, Ondo State, Osun State, and Oyo State, plus the Yoruba Local Government Areas of Kogi State and Kwara State, and plus the Itshekiri homeland of Delta State, all together constituting the Yorubaland in Nigeria, hereby most humbly place our crowning request before Your Excellency as follows:

“That the Nigerian Federal Government shall, within the next two months, but not later than June 15, 2024, inform us Yoruba Self-determination Movement that the Nigerian Federal Government have graciously agreed to our proposal for negotiation and that they have set up a negotiation team that will meet and dialogue with our Yoruba nation’s negotiation team.

“That as soon as we receive the communication from the Nigerian Federal Government, in response to this request of ours for negotiation; we shall forward the list of our negotiation team to the Nigerian Federal Government.

“That the Nigerian Federal Government’s negotiation team and our negotiation team shall meet to appoint co-chair persons, to agree on a date for the first negotiation meeting, to the negotiation venue, and to the negotiation agenda and process.

“That the Nigerian Federal Government shall invite the United Nations, African Union and the Economic Community of West African States, to send observers to the negotiation meetings”, they concluded.

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