By: SULAIMAN, Abdulwaheed Olamilekan
Fast approach to a height of lawlessness, inhuman acts, incessant heating of polity, ethnic rivalry and killing meted out on rival groups; Fulani herders and farmers across the country putting the nation on a brink of war is utterly unpalatable and condemnable in all realms.
Somewhat termed as prevalent ethnic profiling and rivalry has indeed no end in sight as attacks and counter attacks keep coming in day by day. It has hitherto spiralled into a day to day activities siting the Yoruba soil as the battle ground.
Need I say the rest of us are those who hide under pretence of being advocates, activists and all sorts of righting the wrongs in the society. Ain’t we guilty of such malevolent act. A popular social activist who has enjoyed media presence in his advocacy of Yoruba Nation, Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemi popular known as Sunday Igboho is one of the rest of us who has contributed to the incessant heating of polity we are witnessing in the country – particularly the social crisis between the Fulani herders and the Yorubas in Igangan – a small town in Oyo State. He is known to be a veiled politician, human rights activist and a philanthropist.
The Pro Yoruba advocate, Chief Sunday Igboho recently issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Fulani community in Igangan, Ibarapa North Local Government area of Oyo state, over allegation that they are responsible for the rising insecurity and kidnapping in the area. He noted in his agitations how illustrious sons and daughters of the town were kidnapped, maimed and killed by assailant herders, as well as rape cases of women farmers while carrying out daily activities on their varying farmlands. He therefore gave quit notice when he led some youths to the Sarkin Fulani of Igangan town, Alhaji Saliu Abdulkadir, to register their displeasure on the recent callous killings in the axis.
Short time after Sunday issued a seven-day deadline to the Immigrant Fulani herders, impeccable reports later unearthed the killing of two farmers by suspected herdsmen, hours after Igboho left. The report had it that the skull of one of the victims, identified as Seun, was slit opened with machete by the suspected assailant herders.
Consequently, Sunday Igboho’s house in Ibadan was razed and properties worth several millions of naira were lost to the inferno. Fingers were pointed.
However, in the spate of time, there are indications that the imbroglio between farmers, assailant herders and other land owners seems to have reached its climax and ready to wax into a war that may exceed the already anticipated and much avoided civil war but one that could become a regional war that might have pitted the Fulanis from across Africa and not only against Fulani.
Meanwhile, several reports have pointed to the infiltration of the nation by illegal foreign nomadic Fulani, who bear firearms and have been suspected to be brought in by politicians to help oust a sitting government at a point in time. A pointer is the President Muhammadu Buhari’s open declaration and policy on Fulani’s freedom to the country not too long ago.
It should be recalled that crisis erupted on February 18 in Shasha market in Ibadan following an argument that ensued between a pregnant Yoruba woman and Hausa trader – but the cart pusher was, in some quarters believed to be a Nigerian. This development saw many dead while houses and other valuable properties were devastated which rendered some residents homeless. Tragic as it was, a commentary from the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan lapooned the manner in which the crisis escalated, He opined that utterances from the Governors of the South West region emboldened criminals to unleash violence against the Northerners. He as well stated that this went a long way in inciting the citizens to take up arms against other ethnic groups settling in their states.
Instead of the Federal and Oyo state Governments to arrest the ugly situation which is capable of degenerating into serious issues and civil unrest in the country and rise above sentiments and political differences, blame games, rather chose to resort to what I termed “Irresponsible and unpalatable rhetorics from constituted authorities”.
The issue on ground far goes beyond tribal or ethnic superiority or inferiority. It should therefore be seen as collective efforts to fight and nip in the bud most especially the foreign and illegal Fulani herdsmen that have been infiltrating our territories and thereby unleashing terrors on innocent Nigerians. The local Fulani and Mbororo men had lived in this country and there has never been violence or such crime as being witnessed now.
These are among the rest of us who had contributed overtly or covertly to the unending ethnic rivalry, wanton killing and the peak of insecurity in this Nation.