Rising from a meeting in Lagos yesterday, the Southwest Security Stakeholders’ group and Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural group, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to condemn the carnage, armed banditry and other nefarious acts being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen across the Southwest region.
The traditional security groups included O’dua Peoples’ Congress, OPC, Agbekoya, Isokan Ile Yoruba, Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Ibarapa Group and Community Society Awareness Initiative. The meeting initiated and chaired by Gani Adams, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, condemned armed banditry and invasion of the Southwest by Fulani herders.
The stakeholders asked the government to address the situation before it descends into anarchy.
Yinka Odumakin, spokesman for Afenifere, who spoke on the statement credited to the minister of Defense calling on Nigerians to defend themselves, said the Defense Forces of Yoruba land are ready to defend Southwest against aggressors.
His words: “Now, that the Federal Government has failed and that we should defend ourselves, we are calling on defence forces in Yoruba land to look at measures to defend our land. We are now vulnerable in our land.
“We will not fold our arms until we are killed in our land. Enough is enough! We thank Aare Onakakanfo for rising to the charge and by God’s grace, Yoruba land will not fall to the hands of our enemies. We will defend our land. We will defend our people.
“Incessant killings of Yoruba by the Fulani in the Southwest must stop. About two years ago, a daughter of Afenifere leader was killed. An Oba was killed and so many leaders across the Southwest. We remember Dr Aborode from Ibarapa who was killed by Fulani herders like an animal.
“The recent onslaught was in Shasha, Ibadan, where our people were molested. Yoruba people don’t molest others. We are peace-loving people. There is a saying in Yoruba that goes, “when you are in a city of lepers, you fold your arms so that you look like them.
“We don’t cause insecurity to others. But of late, people have been provoking us on our lands. We are using maturity because we don’t want any breakdown of law and order. At this stage, however, we have to appeal to the Aare Onakakanfo, Yoruba war leader that war is at our doors.
“About two weeks ago, Prof Wole Soyinka also said war is already at our door. Two days later, they invaded and ransacked his home in Abeokuta. Our Nobel Laureate means nothing to the Fulani herdsmen while no Yoruba man will ever dare to molest a person of Prof Wole Soyinka’s status in Hausa or Fulani land. We have great respect for other people but we are not respected in our land. We are treated anyhow.”
In his opening remark, Gani Adams said the meeting was prompted by the urgent need to protect the Yoruba nation from external aggression.
He said: “On Sunday morning, I received some leaders of Yorubaland in my house. We discussed insecurity in the Southwest and they said in my capacity as the Aare Onakakanfo, I have to summon all the traditional security organisations to hold an important meeting on how to secure our land.
“Yoruba leaders believe that no society triumphs without the support of relevant security organisations. This is the main reason we are gathered here today. It is to lend our voice and support to the frequent attack on Yoruba land and proffer solutions.
“Our gathering here is about insecurity in the Southwest. The insecurity situation in the Southwest in the last six months is so dire therefore calls for urgent intervention. We have never witnessed such situation in the history of the Yoruba race and that’s why we are gathered here to seek ways at addressing the challenges.
“We believe at the end of the meeting, we will formulate strategies and gather intelligence to complement the efforts of State and Federal Security agencies.
“The Southwest Security Stakeholders group has been in existence for over a year but its operations have been hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am compelled as our traditional leaders to reactivate it and that explains why we are here today. I have always said that if the Yoruba leaders are ready, I am ready. If the traditional leaders are ready, I am ready. If our political players are ready, I am ready. Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land cannot operate in isolation. The office of the Aare Onakakanfo is a traditional military institution in the history of Yoruba land. We are getting there gradually. I give thanks to all the leaders that are here today for the meeting.
“Meanwhile, we urged our Obas and traditional leaders of Yorubaland not to hesitate to invite any of the groups listed above in the event of any threat to the security of any Yoruba person by invading groups anywhere on our land.”
At the end of their deliberation, the Stakeholders expressed support for Amotekun, the southwest Security Network and called on the Federal Government to speedily arrest the apparent insecurity before it gets out of hand.
The meeting also called for a return to true federalism which was the political arrangement endorsed by past leaders of the nation at independence.
This, they argued, will enable the various nations in the country to take proper control of their affairs including security.
Other eminent personalities at the meeting include Gbonka Gboyega Adejumo, Bashorun Akin Osuntokun, Ogbeni Sola Lawal and Chief Olumuyiwa Okunowo.