THE Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria, yesterday, called on the South-West governors to provide ranches for herdsmen before banning open grazing, to avoid further crisis, warning that outright banning of open grazing, without an alternative for herdsmen, was an invitation to greater disaster.
But the remarks by the Sharia Council, however, generated angry reactions from the Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, and the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, who described the request as too pedestrian and insulting.
This came on a day the Sarkin Fulani of Igangan in Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo State, Alhaji Salihu Abdul Kadir, lashed out on Oyo State police command for failing to arrest Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, for destroying his properties last Friday.
Also disturbed by the security challenges in the state, Ogun State House of Assembly, has passed a resolution calling on the state government to step up plans towards take-off of Amotekun in order to strengthen the security network in the state.
On his part, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has said that Mr. Igboho does not have the right to issue an eviction notice to herders in Oyo State.
Provide ranches, ban open grazing, Sharia council tell S-West govs
Addressing a press conference at Osun state Correspondents’ chapel in Osogbo, Vice President of the group, Sheikh Abdur’rasheed Hadiyatullahi, said criminality would continue to thrive once a particular tribe was profiled for such crime, rather than using the instrumentality of the law to combat such crime.
He said: “We believe the outcome of the Miyetti Allah group and South-West governors ‘ meeting banning open grazing is part of the solution but it is not the solution yet, we believed banning open grazing without an alternative will be a greater disaster. The herdsmen can begin to wander aimlessly, so we advise that governors across the nation should establish ranches for them and set rules and regulations that must not be breached .
“Looking critically at this crisis, contrary to the tribal and religious interpretation or label given to it, from our investigation, we discover ed it is pure criminality that causes the perennial wrangling between the two tribes.
“To a find way out of the herdsmen versus host community crisis, we call for dialogue and wider consultation. The Igangan incident must be condemned by all lovers of peace. But at the same time, we cannot close our eyes to the pain and suffering of farmers and indigenes of the area, who criminals see as soft targets for kidnapping, armed robbery, etc. It is, however, crystal clear that it is not a religious matter, though some have been misled into labeling it as Hausa-Fulani affair. Our focus must be the criminals, not any tribe, as rightly stated by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.
“While we do not endorse violence, we opine that people whose farms have been destroyed have the right to express indignation. In the same manner, those whose relations or friends have fallen victims to criminal activities like kidnapping and armed robbery, are justified to speak up. The only difference here is that no single tribe should be held responsible for all the crimes.
“This is because criminals abound in all faiths and tribes everywhere in the world, not only in Nigeria. We should, therefore, address crime and criminals. We should target kidnappers and armed robbers, not any particular ethnic group. Those who make the mistake of profiling people of certain tribes will end up hurting decent elements within that tribe and this is against the law of natural justice.
“Truth is bitter, but the earlier we say it, the better. Herdsmen have no right to destroy crops. This is where people have genuine grievances against herdsmen.
“To douse tension immediately, we want the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, devise a mechanism whereby town hall meetings between herdsmen and the host community will hold and differences sorted out. We also suggest that cattle ranch should be created. This, in our humble opinion, will go a long way in resolving the crisis. Because if the ranch is created, this will prevent the herdsmen from roaming around the city and invading people’s farm and destroying their crops.”
Issues raised are too pedestrian—S-West Govs
Reacting to the call for provision of ranches, South West governors, through Ondo State government, said they would not respond to the remarks, saying the issues raised were “too pedestrian.”
Information and Orientation Commissioner, Mr. Donald Ojogo, said: “In view of the steps taken so far in the direction of mutual cooperation, peaceful coexistence, cordiality and all that is required to eschew violence, it will be too pedestrian on the part of Ondo State Government or South West governors to react to everything.”
Their request insulting—Afenifere
But in a swift reaction, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, described the request as insulting.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “This is insulting from these internal colonizers who are behaving as if they have conquered the rest of us. Are they giving the cows to us free and not selling them? Why should it be the business of South-West governors to give ranches to private business?”
Igangan attack: You failed to arrest Igboho, Sarkin Fulani tackles Police
Meanwhile, Sarkin Fulani of Igangan, Alhaji Saliu AbdulKadir, a native of Ilorin , in Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State, yesterday accused the Police of deceiving him.
Abdul Kadir, who addressed a press conference in Ilorin, urged the Federal Government to intervene in the destruction of his properties, including 11 exotic cars, 207 cows, buildings and other properties, totaling N500million, destroyed by Mr. Sunday Adeyemo.
His words: “A few days to the time of the destruction, after Sunday Igboho had given me an ultimatum, the police came to my place and told me that I shouldn’t worry because Sunday Igboho will not carry out his threat or do anything to me. It is on this strength that I relaxed because I believe d the police.
“If I knew that Sunday Igboho would come and attack us the way he did, I would have left with all my family members and properties in peace and they would have met empty houses to destroy.
“My family and I have been living in Igangan for over 50 years without any challenges from anybody, either in Igangan or any other places.”
The Fulani leader, however, urged the Federal Government to probe the burning of his house, vehicles and killing of seven of his men in Igangan by alleged agents of Sunday Igboho.
Abdul Kadir said: “There was no case of farm destruction reported to me that I did not send people to go and investigate. If it is discovered that it’s true, I ordered the Fulani to pay money to the farmers; like the Agoro family in Igangan and many more. I have a record where I keep issues affecting the farmers.
“On the issue of killing of one Dr. Aborode, I don’t know anything about it. Where Dr. Aborode was killed is very far from my village. It’s about two hours drive to my village.
“Finally, I want the Federal Government to investigate this matter and anyone found guilty should face the law. My houses, vehicles , my children and some visitors were burnt and seven of my people were killed. The corpses of two are yet to be found and some of my animals were carted away.
“Given the conspiracy by the police with the natives of Igangan, my people and I will not feel comfortable returning to Igangan. We even learned that the government has deployed over 200 Amotekun personnel to the forests in Oyo.
“Who will these Amotekun men meet in the forests other than the Fulani?”
Igboho has no right to issue eviction notice to herders —Falana
Meanwhile, human rights acitivist, Femi Falana , has said some of the herders, who had lived in an area for about 10 years, have the constitutional right to stay there.
He said in an interview with BBC: “Anybody who is affected by such illegal quit notices would have to go to court to stop whoever is issuing the notices. That is the law but don’t let us resort to violence; it is unnecessary. With profound respect, under our laws, even a squatter cannot be ejected and that is why on a daily basis, tenants are given quit notices by landlords or owners of properties.
“So, a private citizen cannot wake up and say anybody should leave the community. You must embrace the rule of law. Nobody can do that, not even the government because section 43 of the constitution says every citizen shall have the right to own and acquire properties in any part of the country.
“The campaign of the human rights community is that if you are born in a place, or you have lived for not less than ten years in any part of the country, you should be considered an indigene and be entitled to all the rights and privileges of the so-called indigenes of the state. So, for me, there is no way I can embrace anyone who has given quit notice to any group of people.
“We must stop the idea of criminal profiling. If anybody has committed an offence or a group of people has committed an offence, we must fish them out and have them tried under the law but you can’t wake up and say all Yoruba people, all Hausa people are criminals, all Igbo people are criminals. No, it is a fallacy of generalization.
“The government must ensure that the lives of the citizens are secured. It is the abdication of the duty of the government that has made Sunday Igboho be relevant in society. That is why private citizens give quit notices to people from other parts of the country. It is not the right way to fight this problem. We need to have ranches in Oyo State, in particular.
“The largest abattoir in West Africa is located in Oyo State but the state government has not allowed the abattoir to function for the past nine years. Is that how to run a country? The scientific way of solving this problem has been abandoned. So, why would a Sunday Igboho not take over the government of that state? That is what is going on.”
Herdsmen/farmers clash: Ogun Assembly calls for Amotekun take-off
Meanwhile, to strengthen the security network in the state , Ogun State House of Assembly has called on the state government to step up plans towards take-off of Amotekun Security network.
The passage of the resolution followed a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Yusuf Sherif, seconded by the lawmaker representing Remo North State Constituency, Solomon Osho and unanimously supported by other lawmakers through a voice vote at a plenary presided over by the speaker , Olakunle Oluomo, at the Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
The resolution, according to the lawmakers, is aimed at calling on the state governor to achieve a seamless and immediate take-off of the State Security Network Agency and Amotekun Corps-Law passed by the Assembly in March 2020 and subsequently assented to by Governor Dapo Abiodun, who later appointed a commandant for the corps.
Declare killer herdsmen terrorist group now –Onitiri urges Buhari
Meanwhile, a socio-political activist and critic, Chief Adesunbo Onitiri, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to declare killer herdsmen as a terrorist group now to ensure peace and progress in the country.
Onitiri, in a statement, said: “It’s time to show seriousness in the handling of the ravaging insecurity in the country by declaring all the rampaging Fulani killer herdsmen ‘Terrorist Group’.
“The insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and maiming of innocent Nigerians is becoming unacceptable, unbearable and criminal.
“These Fulani-turned terrorists commit crimes on our highways and forests with total impunity, as if they are above the laws. While they commit these crimes, our security agencies look the other way.”
“Nigerians now wonder if Buhari administration is behind these criminals.
“Besides, the National Assembly should ban open grazing in the country. In advanced nations, cows are not seen on the streets anymore. They should adopt modern farming traditions.”
Vanguard News Nigeria