​Insecurity: We are unsafe in South-West, Afenifere raises the alarm

The Pan- Yoruba Socio-Political Group, Afenifere has raised the alarm that the people in the south west are now completely unsafe following the spate of insecurity in the region.

Its spokesperson, Yinka Odumakin who spoke with newsmen in Akure expressed concern over the kidnapping, killings and other criminalities in the region.

This is coming as reports of resultant to self defence by the people in the region gained traction.

Odumakin said  “The Fulani orchestrated insecurity has taken over the Southwest and people cannot sleep with their two eyes closed, our women are being raped and people are being killed on a daily basis including Obas on the street.

“Our governor are not giving lawful orders. Even the President aides are saying you can’t chase herders out of the forests.

“We are completely unsafe. Look at a whole noble laureate, last weekend he was trying to ask the president what to do about herdsmen, three days later they took over his house in Abeokuta.

“And somebody was saying that Soyinka’s house was unfenced. Go to London, go to America, you will see a lot of unfenced houses. Will they go and be keeping cows there because they are fenced.

Odumakin added that “Gen Theophilus Danjuma has already told us two years ago that if we are not ready to defend ourselves, they will kill us one by one.”

Meanwhile, a security expert told newsmen in Akure that that the “nation’s intelligence community was worried that individuals were beginning to arm themselves for safe defence.

Consequently, he said that “the Nigeria Police was making efforts to mop up such illegal arms in circulation lately.

“We have been getting briefings on the issue of the massive influx of illegal and even prohibited arms and ammunition into the south west lately.

“We know of course, that there are serious security issues that have often thrown all off balance.

“In the last three months or so, we have been monitoring all possible entry points to know where this major security concern of the influx was coming from.

“This is not to indict relevant agencies responsible for the manning of entry points.

“But clearly, individuals in the South-West have tilted towards self-defense even to the extent of arming themselves with prohibited weapons and this is an unpleasant situation.

“That is not allowed legally. But from all indications, that is the route people are gravitating towards; self-defense.

“From our preliminary observations, at least, four of every ten families in the Southwest are prepared for self defence.

“Invariably, we are sitting on a keg of gun power because no one knows where the first trigger will be pulled.

“That is why we are engaging all stakeholders secretly, especially the press to be circumspect in its reportage by adding ethnic coloration to criminality and crimes anywhere.

“Under the situation or scenario that has just been given, there could be unintended consequences arising from mistaken behaviour on the part of those who are illegally armed for self-defense.

The state police spokesperson, Tee Leo lkoro kicked against the people resulting to arming themselves for self-defense.

Ikoro also claimed ignorance of the proliferation of arms in the state, saying that “l will also call the divisions to know what they know about the incident.”

​We are ready for registration, data capturing — Miyetti Allah

The Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria(MACBAN) in Ekiti State, Alhaji Adamu Abache, has advised Ekiti State government to embark on mandatory registration of Fulani herdsmen  living in Ekiti .

Abeche, said the bio-data should be done at the local government areas where the herders live and carry out business transactions.

According to him, “The government  must know where we live and where we do our businesses and whoever perpetrates criminal activities can be traced, arrested  and handed over to the police”.

Abache who ordered his members to henceforth expose any herdsman seen perpetrating crime in the state, noted that revealing the identities of Fulani herdsmen  with criminal tendencies would protect the integrity of herders doing legitimate businesses in Ekiti and disabuse the minds of Nigerians  that all herdsmen are criminals .

The MACBAN leader spoke in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday, during a security meeting  organised by the Ekiti State chapter of the Police Community  Relations Committee(PCRC) for all ethnic nationalities in the state.

Speaking at the event where participants brainstormed on how to ensure peaceful co-existence among ethnic groups  to tackle insecurity, Abache said MACBAN had banned the use of under age for cattle rearing in the state .

He said: “Fulani herdsmen living in Ekiti are for  peace and we will continue to live together  with our hosts in peace. Our own  support will always be to the government of the day for all of us to enjoy peace.

“But the goverment should help us by providing Identity Cards for all members, because the herdsmen are facing a lot of challenges in the forests  regarding identification.

“The government must mandatorily register the number of Fulani herdsmen  living in Ekiti . The  bio-data must be done through our local government heads . The government  must know where we live and where we do our businesses and whoever perpetrates criminal activities can be traced, arrested  and handed over to the police.

“We want to bring  to your notice that we have canceled the idea of using under age children for cattle rearing.  I have ordered my people to expose any herder or group of herders  found perpetrating criminality, because we want peace and we want to live in peace with Ekiti people”.

The Head of Hausa Community in Ekiti, Alhaji Adamu Liman , said the issue of kidnapping had been existing for over three decades  in the country, but added that it has become more  lucrative through payment  of huge ransoms.

Liman submitted that though herdsmen might not have been absolutely innocent of the litany of kidnapping allegations leveled against them, but stating that it would also be biased  and premature for people to conclude that Fulani herders were solely responsible for the crime around the country.

“This is where I support this issue of registration as mooted by Miyetti Allah. Government through our royal fathers  must know those who live around them, those who are in their farmsteads and what they are capable of doing. This is the best way to curb insecurity”.

The PCRC chairman in Ekiti, Mr. Sunday  Makinde, disclosed  that the meeting was conceptualised to fashion a way of resolving all the litany of security hiccups being experienced  in Ekiti in recent time.

Makinde said the challenges of herders-farmers clashes, kidnapping, banditry and rape would be tackled easily with all the diverse ethnic groups making  resolute commitment to help the government in tackling the crises.

“It is better to take proactive action now in order to prevent a conflict that could possibly engulf a whole subregion , and become a humanitarian crisis in the world. All hands must be on deck in order to address all forms of security challenges in Nigeria, as they are  happening now”.

​We’ll expose criminals, collaborators among us — Miyetti Allah

Alhaji Adamu Abache, Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Ekiti chapter, on Thursday, promised that the association would henceforth expose any member with criminal tendencies to the appropriate authorities in the state.

The MACBAN leader gave the promise in Ado Ekiti, during a security meeting, organised by the state chapter of Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) for all ethnic nationalities in the state.

Abache said that MACBAN had also banned the use of underaged for cattle rearing in the state.

He said that he had already issued directives to his members to henceforth expose any herdsman found perpetrating crime in any part of the state so as put paid to the general stigmatisation of MACBAN members as criminals and allow peace to reign in the state.

According to him, this will also protect the integrity of those herders doing legitimate businesses in the state and disabuse the minds of Nigerians that all herdsmen were criminals.

“I have ordered my people to expose any herder or group of herders found perpetrating criminality, because we want peace and we want to live in peace with Ekiti people.

“We also want to bring to your notice that we have cancelled the idea of using underaged for cattle rearing in the state.

“Fulani herdsmen living in Ekiti are for peace and they are law-abiding. That is why we have decided that we will continue to live together with our hosts in peace.

“We will also continue to support the present administration in the state, for all of us to enjoy peace.

“But, government too should help us by providing identification cards for all our members, because the herdsmen are also facing a lot of challenges in the forests, regarding identification.

“Government should make it mandatory for all the Fulani herdsmen living in Ekiti to register.

“The bio-data should be done through our local government heads; government must know where we live and where we do our businesses so that whoever perpetrates any criminal activity can be traced, arrested and handed over to security agencies,” Abache said.

Also speaking, the Head of Hausa Community in the state, Alhaji Adamu Liman, noted that kidnapping had been in existence in the country for more than three decades.

He, however, expressed the regret that it had now become more lucrative because of the huge ransoms often made to pay by victims or their families.

Liman said though herdsmen might not have been completely innocent of the series of kidnapping allegations being levelled against them, it would also be bias for people to conclude that they were solely responsible for the criminal activities across the country.

“This is where I support this issue of registration, as said by Miyetti Allah.

“Government, through our royal fathers, must know those who live around them; those who are in their farmsteads and what they are doing. This is the best way to curb insecurity,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the PCRC Chairman in the state, Mr Sunday Makinde, said that the meeting was called to find ways of resolving the security challenges currently facing the state.

Makinde said that the challenges of herders-farmers’ clashes, kidnapping, banditry and rape would be tackled easily, with all the diverse ethnic groups making commitment to helping the government.

“It is better to take proactive measures now in order to prevent a conflict that can engulf a whole sub-region,” he said.

​Ortom to Buhari: Push for justice, equity not fight against Fulani……Says Nigerians should bear arms for self-defence

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him not to see the current push for justice and equity over the alleged atrocities committed by herders in the country as a war against the Fulani race.

The governor in the letter titled: “Appeal to act before herdsmen drag Nigeria into a civil war” dated 8th February 2021, pointed out the concern expressed in some quarters over what he called inequalities in appointments, which he said create the perception of that the president is not being fair.

He said: “Your Excellency, these security challenges have assumed new dimensions where the now emboldened assailants and armed herdsmen daringly enforce their will on legitimate owners and occupants of ancestral lands.

“There are many areas of concern over the Federal Government’s actions and inactions, including the widely discussed concern over inequalities in key appointments. These have reinforced the perception that the administration is not fair and just to all Nigerians.”

Governor Ortom, however, expressed gratitude for institutions established by the federal government in Benue as well as the deployment of the military to ensure security in the state.

Commenting on the herder’s issue, he recalled the several letters he had written to the president drawing his attention to “the murderous activities” of some groups claiming to be representing the Fulani.

He said, “These groups and their leaders have also boasted that Nigeria belongs exclusively to them. The letters alerted you to several challenges and called for the arrest and prosecution of the leaders and proscription of the organizations in question.

“We are alarmed that rather than being censored, these leaders and organizations have been emboldened and intensified their atrocities. They have received encouragement in the process through various actions and inactions by the Federal Government, including the following:

(i) Open Visa Policy which has promoted an unprecedented influx of Fulani herdsmen carrying sophisticated and prohibited weapons into Nigeria;

(ii) Non-compliance with the ECOWAS protocol on transhumance; (iii) Swift condemnation of any perceived or real threats on Fulani while maintaining silence over their atrocities and admonishing victimized host communities to accommodate their oppressors and learn to live at peace with them;

(iv) The failure to arrest, disarm and prosecute armed herdsmen and Fulani militia; (v) Disarming other Nigerians who have licensed weapons; (vi)Continuation of open grazing and support for grazing reserves, stock routes, cattle colony, and Ruga despite nationwide acknowledgment that this practice is unviable; and that ranching is the global best practice for livestock production; (vii)The non-implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan despite its approval by the National Economic Council and its acceptance by pilot States.”

The Governor, who noted the devastation activities of the herders have caused in Benue and other parts of the country, said:

“This ugly situation has caused devastation across the country. In Benue State, 19 out of 23 Local Government Areas have been affected by attacks by Fulani herdsmen leading to loss of lives, destruction of property, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Benue people who are now living in Internally Displaced Persons Camps and host communities across the State.

“The total number of Internally Displaced Persons currently in the Camps in Benue State is 483,692 persons.

“Returning these Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their ancestral homes has been impossible as herdsmen continue to attack, kill, maim and rape those who return. The Federal Government is also yet to redeem the pledge made on 15th May 2018 by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo to contribute N10Billion to Benue State towards the reconstruction, rehabilitation, reintegration, and resettlement of displaced persons.

“The failure of the IDPs to return to their ancestral homes to resume normal farming activities, together with the impact of climate change, has posed a serious threat to national food security, as evidenced by rising food prices.

“Sir, we all remember the wise counsel of Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the late Alhaji Maitama Sule, when Northern Leaders Forum visited you as the President-Elect in 2015. He said, inter alia ‘…With justice, you can rule Nigeria well. Justice is the key. If you do justice to all and sundry, and I say all and sundry. If you’re going to judge between people, do justice irrespective of their tribe, religion or even political inclination. Justice must be done to whosoever deserves it.’

“Mr. President, this call for justice is the heart cry of every patriotic Nigerian. It is not a call against the Fulani race or any other ethnic group, but a call to make Nigeria work for every Nigerian in line with the Oath of Office we took as leaders and your pledge to be a President for all Nigerians and to be for everybody and for nobody. Unfortunately, you seem to be tilting towards the Fulani at the expense of other nationalists.”

He cited leading voices that have spoken against the atrocities of Fulani herders including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad, who he said acknowledged that seven or eight out of every 10 kidnappers arrested in Nigeria are Fulani.

He added: “This is not a good testimony. More so, the consequences this image has cast on the Fulani tribe should be corrected now.”

While emphasizing that he has nothing against the Fulani, Ortom further stated: “It is important to point out that these are not sentiments directed against Fulanis who are indigenous to Nigeria and have been living at peace with other Nigerians.

“Testimonies abound in that regard. For example, my wife and I were accommodated by a Fulani man while in school at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Till date, we are still very good family friends and he visits me occasionally in Benue.

“This point underscores the pain we all have had to go through to understand the tragedy where armed herdsmen from Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and other neighbouring countries are pushing the whole country to the precipice.

“While addressing the Nigerian community on Tuesday 19th April 2019 in Dubai, You also blamed these foreign herdsmen for the attacks on Nigeria.

“Mr. President, as a major stakeholder in the Nigeria project, I have a responsibility to raise these major concerns and to offer some recommendations towards addressing them.”

The governor suggested solutions to the problem saying: “A Ranching policy in Nigeria will provide an avenue for both crop farmers and those involved in animal husbandry to increase production using modern technology. This is the only way out of ending farmers/herders conflict;

(ii) Direct the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to enforce Prohibition of Open Grazing Laws passed by various States of the federation;

(iii) Abolish Open Visa policy and direct relevant security agencies to ensure full compliance with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transhumance;

(iv) The Federal Government should immediately pay compensation to families killed and those whose properties were destroyed by the herdsmen in various communities across the country;

(v) Condemn the atrocities perpetrated by armed herdsmen; arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and other Fulani Socio-cultural groups who have consistently admitted to the wanton killings and destruction of communities across the country.

(vii) License Law-abidingNigerianstocarryweaponsinself-defence;

(viii) Ensure justice, fairness, and equity in all issues relating to public safety and security;

(ix)Support the resettlement and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons as a result of herdsmen atrocities in all States of the country.”

He concluded by saying: “Your Excellency, I am writing to you as a patriot who is concerned about your reputation and the fate of our dear country. I am imploring you once again to rise to the challenges of these times to avert the country’s drift to anarchy and disintegration, a situation that sycophants and praise-singers might be unwittingly shielding from you.

“In 2015, Nigerians enthusiastically welcomed your return as a leader with a reputation for uprightness, fair-mindedness, and integrity. The current situation is raising doubts in the minds of many Nigerians who had believed in you.

“Mr. President, your compatriots are looking up to you to act fast to redress the situation.”