For the past four weeks or so, the South West region of Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented reactions to the wanton killings, kidnapping, raping and other violent acts from the rampaging armed and violent Fulani cow herders that have settled in their forests.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State woke up a dormant law requiring all occupants of Government Reserved Forests to register their presence OR quit immediately. He graciously gave a notice. The illegal occupants would have none of it until Akeredolu stuck to his guns. Impunity at its best from the annointed sect in a pluralistic Nigeria.
Just about then, the people of Igangan, Eruwa, Ayete and Idere among others in Ibarapa axis of Oyo State got a saviour in the “audacity” of the irrepressible pan Yoruba activist- Sunday Adeyemo- a.k.a. Sunday Igboho, who gave a seven- day quit notice to the violent Fulanis in Ibarapa forests. Most painful to the Ibarapas was the gruesome murder of their son, an agro-industrialist, Dr. Abdulfatai Aborode.
It is on record that Garba Shehu, a Presidential spokesman, under the veil of the “Presidency” irritated the senses and sensibilities of Yoruba people to no end, when he questioned the legality of Akeredolu`s action. Simply put, Shehu, an appointee of the President, told an elected State Executive, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) of when, and how, to make laws for the good governance of his state. Where did the temerity come from?
Pronto, an Inspector General of Police (IGP) order came out for the arrest of Igboho, who as exigency would have it, had to fill a vacuum created by inept, insensitive, unfeeling , indolent and complacent state administration who had no time to distinguish regrettably, between the blood of cows and that of human beings.There are many sides to this sorry state we have found ourselves. What do we say to ths Federal Government who says only prayers can check the uncontrolled influx of armed bandits from Mali, Niger and Chad? When the killings on our farms and the kidnappings started on our highways, the government narrative was “Farmers/herders Clashes.”
It is only in Nigeria, where you describe “Clashes” as situations where herders with AK47 rifles would storm settlements at 2:00 am in the wee hours of the morning, set the whole area ablaze and shoot whoever dare to escape. It is only in Nigeria where a State Governor would go and negotiate with armed bandits, beg , pay ransom and take pictures with their conquerors. Sordid things have happened.
The most worrisome of it all, is the connivance of some of our traditional rulers- Obas and Baales as the case may be. For reasons one can’t explain, some of our respected Obas/Baales have mortgaged their conscience, and abused their basic traditional responsibilities. All they see now are emblems of Pound Sterlings, US Dollars and Yen. They are yet to learn from history and history has a way of being unkind to the intransigent.Many of them have become agents of politicians, who are falling upon themselves in order to be politically correct for 2023. They have become so impervious that they couldn’t read correctly the political situation in the country. Many of them are behaving as if they have 2023 in their pockets.
Stories abound with Obas who have connived with these violent Fulanis in perpetrating their nefarious activities. Community lands have been sold clandestinely to the Fulanis with assurances of protection from the top security architecture has been compromised. Could these Obas/Baales have behaved this way had their wives and, or children been killed, or raped? Could they have remained indifferent if their official positions have been threatened?
Let it be said loud and clear that the problem of Fulani herdsmen have become an existential one. The heart of the problem is land grabbing. No one should make a mistake about this. Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, leader of Miyetti Allah has told us severally that ” All lands in Nigeria belong to Fulanis.” And, to date, neither the IGP nor the Director of DSS has ever invited him for questioning or interrogation.
For the Obas/Baales, they should ponder on these facts of history. Fulani`s are not out for a tea party. Their interests go beyond the farm lands. He who controls the forests would ultimately control the cities. Once the forests are secured, the “targets” would be the Palaces. The history of Jihad in the Northern Region becomes handy here. By then, all the flanks would have been opened and that’s when the “Imperial Highnesses” would know that they have been dancing naked for so long.
No Oba or Baale in Yoruba land lives to tell the story of perfidy. The greatest arsenal of the traditional institutions lies in their moral authority, founded on transparent integrity, truth and abiding love for their people.
The less they see the emblems of foreign currencies in any issue concerning the general welfare of the people, the better for the Yoruba nation. To do otherwise is to court unimaginable disaster of no mean proportion.