The Oyo State government, Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, and Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday rallied against renown freedom fighter, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, a.k.a. Igboho, over a seven-day ultimatum he gave Fulani herders in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State to leave the area because of unending killings and kidnapping.
Though the trio expressed concern over the kidnapping activities of some of the herders, they, however, said such ultimatum could fan the embers of disunity. This came on a day Amotekun Corps Commandant in Osun State, Gen. Bashir Adewinmbi, retd, disclosed that the security outfit is exploring grassroots policing to curb insecurity in the state. Herdsmen have sophisticated weapons.
However, Adeyemo, who spoke on a private radio programme in Ibadan, Oyo State, hinted that the Fulani herders have more sophisticated weapons than operatives of the Western Nigeria Security Network, code-named Amotekun. Igboho, a popular figure in the South-West zone, insisted that Fulani herders must fish out the killers of prominent Yoruba sons and daughters.
He regretted that men recruited into Amotekun are educated people who knew nothing about traditional powers. His words: “Amotekun shouldn’t be for those who are educated but for local traditionalists who are fortified.
The government is supposed to involve Are-Ona-Kakanfo and other traditionalists like OPC, Agbekoya, local hunters and if I am invited, I’m ready to render help. I have men who can assist if the situation gets out of hand.
“One Jabele called my attention to how Fulani men are maltreating Yoruba in the area and how they are killing, kidnapping, and their Seriki, collecting ransom from their victims. I intervened after the people and leaders in the area called me to do so.
“When I got there, they complained of the several murders that happened lately. They expressed their helplessness and that the situation had become unbearable and wanted the Fulani herders out.
“I asked about the head, they mentioned the Seriki who they say nobody can confront. They said the Seriki is so powerful that when the police arrested his sons within 72 hours, there will be crisis. Of course, the police released them.
“When I got to Seriki’s residence, he called a senior Police officer. I said no problem, he gave me the phone. Just then, one of my boys called my attention to the fact that a Fulani man had pointed a gun at me, and I dared him to shoot. We took the gun.
“Soon after, another person fired a shot. We rushed and grabbed the pump-action gun. Then, I went to Seriki and told him ‘these are guns’. He apologized. At that point, I insisted those who killed Dr. Aborode, Alhaja and others must be fished out.
“His response was ‘I am scolding the boys who did the job’. I said: Really? What amazed me was the type of vehicles in his compound; vehicles such as Camry, Venza, and Range Rover.
“I wondered if it was through the N80,000 cows he made the money to acquire these exotic cars. Such funds can only be through kidnapping.
“The Fulani around Seriki’s compound that day were more than 1,000. They were issuing threats. They said it was their land and asked if we didn’t know, the President is one of them. They boasted that it was only Buhari who can order them out.
“I further stated if that is the case, you all should leave, if you cannot produce the killers of Dr. Aborode, Alhaja, Fatai, and many others, as well those who were abducted and beheaded.”
Don’t fan embers of disunity — Oyo govt
Reacting to Igboho’s ultimatum, the Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Security Matters, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said: “As Nigerians, everyone is free to live in any part of the country.
“We should be careful of what we say. It is not good to ask them to leave. When we say that, we should think about our own people living with them in their areas too. We should not fan the embers of disunity.”
Not all Fulanis are bad, fish culprits out — YCE
While asking the youths to support Sunday Igboho, the former President of YCE, Dansaaki Samuel Agbede, said those fomenting trouble and threatening the South-West should be identified and driven away.
Agbede said: “We can’t ask all Fulani to leave. Not all Fulani are bad. Some of them have been living in Yorubaland for long. Those ones go about their legitimate businesses.
“We, in YCE, give our absolute support to Sunday Igboho to send those herders who kill, kidnap and maim our people away, those who came to our land threatening us and saying our land belongs to them. The youths should support him to ensure that none of those violent ones are allowed to stay.”
He has no power to expel anyone—Afenifere On his part, Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, said Igboho had no powers to expel anyone. He said: “Sunday Igboho is a private citizen and has no powers to expel other citizens, though we understand his pains about the negative activities of some of the Fulani.”
This place is our source of livelihood — Seriki Fulani
Also reacting, the Seriki Fulani in Oyo State, Alhaji Saliu Abdul-Kadri, said when Igboho visited him, he was about to tell him that they arrested some Yoruba kidnappers at Igangan and Tapa who were handed over to the police. Abdul-Kadri said: “Suddenly, they began shooting sporadically and hit four of us, after which they set our huts ablaze.
“He then brought out a gun, put it in his mouth swearing by Ogun’s name that he must not meet us here at the expiration of the ultimatum. Then they left.
“We may be regarded as visitors, regardless of the number of years spent here but I grew up here, I married here; I have children who are over 45 years old. I have built houses here at Igangan. This place is our source of livelihood.”
Hunters help disarm bandits — Gen. Togun
Meanwhile, Chairman of Amotekun in Oyo State, Gen. Kunle Togun, retd, said yesterday that the capacity of the outfit to rid the forests in Oyo State of kidnappers can be attributed to the support given by the Hunters Association of Nigeria during the operations.
Togun, who spoke with correspondents, hinted that the collaboration helped operatives of the outfit to easily disarm the foreign bandits in the forests who he said were usually found with guns, poisoned arrows, cutlasses, knives, and dangerous amulets.
His words: “We are having the success of arresting these bandits and disarming them through the support we got from the Oyo State chapter of the Hunters Association of Nigeria.
“The hunters know the terrain and have the spiritual powers to disarm these foreign bandits, that is why we sought their collaboration. “As I am talking with you, we have seized about eight sacks filled with poisoned cutlasses, arrows, daggers, and amulets.
“We will not relent in flushing out these criminal-minded foreigners. If they cannot peacefully contribute to the development of Nigeria’s economy, they have the liberty to relocate to their countries or any other country.”
We’re exploring grassroots policing to curb crime in Osun – Amotekun boss
Meanwhile, Amotekun Corps Commandant in Osun State, Gen. Adewinmbi, retd, has said the security outfit will not only be active in its operation but be proactive in intelligence gathering to ensure issues that can escalate into insecurity are nipped in the bud through community participation in securing lives and property of residents of the state.
Speaking with correspondents, he said: “We are looking at enriching community policing by being more proactive than being reactive. We will go for prompt intelligence gathering that can be used to nip these activities in the bud before they escalate beyond control.
“We intend to be very close to the grassroots to know what is likely to cause insecurity and tackle it before it becomes an issue.
“We are also looking at collaborating with local hunters and other traditional groups, such as vigilantes, as well as others that have been on the ground who know the nooks and crannies of the state very well.
“Security is not a one-man show and Amotekun has come to protect lives and property and make the state uninhabitable for criminally-minded people, regardless of their tribe. The people should be more involved in the project to secure the state and make it crime-free.”