THE South-West Governors’ Forum, yesterday, challenged the Federal Government to come out and let Nigerians know that they do not support criminality.
This came on a day the House of Representatives directed the Nigeria Police Force to immediately investigate the violence that engulfed the Shasha community in Ibarapa Central/North Federal Constituency of Oyo State, last weekend.
Similarly, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, yesterday, gave conditions for reopening the crisis-torn Shasha market, in Ibadan, the state capital.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, also called on the different tribes and groups living in Oyo State to maintain peace and the cordiality that had characterized decades of their peaceful and flourishing coexistence in the state.
Prove to Nigerians you don’t support criminality, S-West govs tell Buhari
Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who spoke during an interview on Politics Today on Channels Television, said: “What we expect from Mr. President is for him to come out and let Nigerians know that he does not support criminality.
“He once said, ‘if you find anybody with arms without a license, they should be arrested. Security agencies must be at work without rest.’ Everyone has said no to open grazing, then the law should follow.”
Speaking on the Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho, Akeredolu described him as “a child of circumstance, and we must look at the circumstances that led to his intervention.
“I do not support people taking the law into their hands. I do not support illegality. Those circumstances might not be legal, but when you look at it, you’ll know he is a child of circumstance.”
The governor said most of the criminal herdsmen apprehended in Ondo State spoke Fulfulde (Fulani language).
His words: “Essentially, in Ondo State, we discovered criminal herdsmen who were using our forest reserves to perpetrate crimes and we said look we cannot stay by and watch things happen this way.
“People were kidnapped. We’ve been debriefed by all of them, and we know people who took them.
“If you’re not licensed to be in the forest, then you’ll be taken to be doing illegal ventures, that’s where we stand.
“My duty does not include profiling those who come into the country, but all I know is that those perpetrating these crimes speak a common language.
“Whether they are foreigners or from here, it is a matter for the police to go after them and identify them.
“What we heard from those who have been debriefed is that they spoke the language that was clear to them. Most of them were speaking Fulfulde and that is clear, this is a common language spoken in West Africa and some part of North Africa, so how did they come here?.
‘’One of our major problems is when we have issues of this nature, and we have Miyeti Allah. If they are not your members, there is no need to defend them.”
On the justification of Governor Bala Muhammed of Bauchi State that herdsmen should carry arms, Akeredolu said “Bala Mohammed has not spoken like a statesman. How can you come out to say people should come out and carry firearms (AK-47) when it is illegal, people are not licensed to carry guns?
“Bala Mohammed has only added more petrol to the fire. No governor should speak that way. So, I should ask my people to carry guns? Statements like that must be condemned and I condemn it.”
It’s a bold statement—Afenifere
Reacting to the governors’ declaration, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, commended Akeredolu for his remarks, describing it as a bold statement.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said: “That is a bold statement which we salute them for. He cannot continue to play the ostrich while some people are daily killing our people.
‘’What did he say to Lam Adesina in Ibadan in 2000? If he is here to dissolve one Nigeria, he should let us do it speedily and peacefully. That is a bold statement, we salute them.”
Investigate Shasha violence, Reps direct IGP
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has resolved to constitute a working group to participate in the consultations to be held by the Committee led by the National Security Adviser, NSA, Mohammed Monguno, on peace and unity talks.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, stated this shortly before the commencement of plenary yesterday.
The House also asked political leaders and community influencers to be circumspect in the use of languages to avoid stoking ethnic and religious crises.
He said: “Last week, I spoke about the rising spate of insecurity and conflict across the country. Shortly after, and throughout the weekend, the warnings about the dangers we face manifested in Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria where an explosion of violence led to citizens’ death and the loss of hard-earned property.
“On behalf of the House, I commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives in this most unfortunate incident. And I commiserate too with the government and good people of Oyo State.
‘’I assure all Nigerians that the House of Representatives will work, within the powers available to us, to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents, not just in Oyo State, but across our country – North, West, East and South.
“The House of Representatives has neither command nor control of the country’s security apparatus. We cannot act to deploy men and equipment to gather intelligence, enforce laws fairly, and take all other actions necessary to prevent the breakdown of law and order and the wanton violence that follows in its wake.
“However, the House is a microcosm of our beloved country, and here in this chamber, we represent every tribe and region, creed, and religion. And we owe a duty to the people we serve, to do the things we believe sincerely in our hearts can improve the circumstances of their lives.
“Today, we serve that duty by calling on the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, to conduct a speedy and thorough investigation into the recent violence in Oyo State, to allow for prosecution and punishment of those who instigated and participated in the killings and destruction of property. The Committees on Police Affairs and Justice are mandated to communicate the House’s position to the Inspector General of Police.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has announced a committee, led by the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Monguno, retd, to hold peace and unity consultations across the country.
“The committee will engage governors, traditional rulers, religious leaders, security agencies, indigenous and settled groups across the states of the Federation to enact resolutions aimed at building an honourable peace in our land.
“The House of Representatives aligns with this initiative, and we will constitute a working group to participate in these consultations. We will work together to examine the cultural, religious, and localised conflicts over land and history that are often at the root of internal security challenges and violent upheavals such as occurred in Oyo State last week and other parts of the country over the years.
“I urge all of those who have large followership of people who listen to them and respect their voices, to be more circumspect about the information they share, the language they use, and the conversations they enable.
“The words we use about each other can have outsize consequences on our nation’s peace and stability because words have the power to build and also to destroy. And for political leaders, let me reiterate that we have a greater responsibility to keep the peace in our country.
“To do that, we must first commit ourselves to the cause of equal justice and fair treatment for all. Only then, can we wage peace with resolve, secure in the knowledge that with peace, a more prosperous union is within reach.”
Makinde gives conditions to reopen Shasha market
Similarly, Governor Makinde, who led Governor Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Governor Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano); Governor, Bello Matawalle (Zamfara); and Governor, Abubakar Sanni (Niger), to Shasha market yesterday, promised to reopen the market if certain conditions were met.
Shasha market was shut last Friday when Yoruba and Hausa communities clashed, reportedly resulting in the death of some residents, destruction of properties, and displacement of people in the area.
Addressing the market men and women, Makinde said: “They (the northern governors) just finished a meeting with the Seriki of Shasha and the Baale of Shasha. As a government you trust and elected into office, please trust our judgement to watch out for you and ensure that we co-exist peacefully.
“There is nothing we can do in an atmosphere of unrest and disharmony. Those who go to Iroko to continue trading, I will lock up the place.
“When you are all ready to cooperate, you will come to me. When you have agreed that there won’t be any more bloodshed here, you will come to me and then I will reopen the market. I beg you. We won’t lose any more lives.”
Also speaking on behalf of the northern delegation, Governor Bagudu of Kebbi State condemned the “spontaneous attacks.”
He said: “The market has been closed down and there are many people whose livelihoods are being affected. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum will also support him (Makinde) to ensure that those who have lost their livelihood are supported in this trying period.”
Sports minister calls for peaceful co-existence
On his part, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, who condemned the clash in Shasha, urged the ethnic groups involved in the clash to sheath their swords and stop any further provocative actions and utterances capable of causing any form of unrest.
The minister, who expressed his displeasure at the unbridled insecurity in the state, told the residents to see themselves as one family and eschew violence and bitterness by ensuring that minor conflicts do not degenerate into unwarranted crises.
He urged the warring sides and all the people of Oyo State to obey and support all the measures being put in place towards sustaining peace and security in the state by all the levels of government.
Dare advised Governor Seyi Makinde not to spare any efforts in seeing that peace and security are fully restored to Shasha and all other flashpoints in the state.