Days ago we had news about Sunday Igboho, a popular yoruba freedom fighter, giving ultimatum to the Fulani herders residing in the state after the killing of an academic doctor who went to the Seriki Fulani in Ibarapa to complain about how some herders invaded his 300 hectares farmlands and destroyed his crops, he was tied and butchered a day after he complained, this was more painful when it was reported that the doctor was an abroad returnee who came back to invest in his father’s native land after donkey years of labour in the diaspora, his death led to a strike by petrol station owners in Ibarapa as he also owned a petrol station, the man was one of many countless victims of the vicious acts of these herders in Southern and central Nigeria, hence why people gave Sunday Igboho the ultimate support when he led the charge to ‘solve’ the menace by driving the Fulanis out and why there were a lot of opposition to the stance of governor Seyi Makinde, who stood by the constitutional right for everyone to move freely as he swore to when inaugurated as governor, everyone turned against this cognition, they wanted action, they saw a messiah in Sunday Igboho, without thinking about the consequences, everyone was gassed up to drive out these intruders as that was perceived the best solution.
But the governor who was elected and sworn in based on the constitutional stood by the constitution while warning against the embers of war blown by Sunday Igboho and his supporters. The governor saw a situation where if Sunday Igboho was successful and he supported his ultimatum, it could lead to another civil war cause there’d be retaliation from the Northerners since a non-state actor had been given support to drive out people from the state, the Northerners would have used that opportunity to burn down and drive out southerners and their numerous businesses in the North, that will lead to loss of billions and trillions of Naira belonging to the southerners, this was a situation governor Seyi Makinde witfully avoided, it might seems intolerant but that’s the best approach, even though Sunday Igboho pushed out a very noble cause, this is why
The crisis between the Fulani herders and farmers is as old as the creation of Ilorin emirates, Fulani herders have been causing mayhem and destruction on people’s farms whenever and wherever they graze, though there were times Fulani herders and people in the communities they resided coexisted in harmony and even inter married but the ugly trend of seeing Fulani herders becoming agent of destruction of farmlands had been with us for a long time with every federal government administration finding ways best suited to them to solve the crisis.
The present federal government of Nigeria has shown the height of levity and leniency in finding solutions to this crisis, the menace that has been witnessed by farmers and even residents especially in the southern and central part of the country is ignobly pathological because of the nepotic handling which has been a party of this administration since its inception in 2015.
Fulani herders now see the system as conducive for them to perpetuate whatever evil they want to do, they intrude people’s farm, grab people’s lands, rape and kill anyone who dares to confront them, they kidnap for ransom and block highways to rob vehicle passengers, they commit a lot of reported atrocities with so much impunity telling their victims straight to their faces that nothing will happen, and of course nothing has happened. Till date, despite numerous reports of the atrocities of these herders no one has been arrested rather than those anyone affected by their atrocities that go ahead to complain to police, all it will take to get him locked up is a phone call by the Fulani to a number of any high ranking security officer in the country, the numbers were provided to them by the owners of the cattle they rear, same owners buy them guns but could not provide them ranches to have their cattle fed healthily, get medical attention while the Fulanis themselves get education and live in comfort and also pay taxes to the govt, rather they give them arms to destroy and grab people’s land forcibly and also provide them phone numbers to connect to high places in case they get caught up in trouble. In a country with 900% lesser cattle than Brazil which has 206m cattle – Brazil has more cattle than Nigeria has humans – with none of them on the street, why has it become so hard for us to solve the menace of the Fulanis that they’ve continued to grow wings beyond control? People have connected this to the fact that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, is the grand patron of an herders also called Miyetti Allah and he had sometimes in the past come to Oyo state in 2001 with entourage from the North to incite violence in Oyo state when there were reports of atrocities committed by herders were over the place at that time, he came with no intent of peace even when his kinsmen were visibly wrong and murderous, he stood with them and claimed that the ancestral owners of the land his kinsmen resided had no right to drive his kinsmen out of their lands regardless of the atrocities they’ve committed. Fast forward to post 2015, the President himself have turned blind eyes to atrocities that have been perpetuated by herders since 6 years ago, there was a report that ranked Fulani herdsmen as the world’s 4th most dangerous terror group just behind Boko Haram which is also being treated like they’re siblings to the govt, what had the president done? He wanted to grab lands for Ruga in the south for Fulanis when the North has more than 70% of the landmass of the country, he reportedly gave 100bn to Miyetti Allah, his spokesperson, Femi Adeshina even mocked people by saying they should give up their lands for cattle colonies to be used by Fulani herders, when cattle rearing is a private business that should be operated privately and give tax remittances to the govt, Buhari govt wanted to give lands belonging to southerners to the world’s 4th most dangerous terror group. Miyetti Allah leadership had been on national TV to say despicable things that are capable to overturn the peace of a country but the president has been looking the other side just for him to swing into action when people are about to fight for themselves and save themselves from insecurity just like the case now after Sunday Igboho’s ultimatum, the president ordered for the arrest of the man. If this becomes possible then it will be a furtherance of the injustice of the system that make people like Sunday Igboho to become inevitable, in a society where the security and judicial authority is deliberately weakened and rigged against a particular people in favour of another set of people committing atrocities, people that will incite the people to fight for themselves, like Sunday Igboho did is inevitable.
Arresting Sunday Igboho will escalate the situation into a full blown war.
Governor Seyi Makinde had done the right thing by respecting the right of movement of the Fulanis and by not supporting the declaration of a non-state actor which could have resulted into counter actions from the North against Southerners living there. The Governor has shown he’s a principled man who will stand by the constitution always to avert any form of ethnic war, it is time for the President also to ditch his perpetual ethnic attachment, he has to rise above this situation and see that the emergence of people like Sunday Igboho is as a result of the injustice he as a president has institutionalize. The president needs to provide security for all and sundry and outlaw the act of open grazing to avert a situation like this in the future, he can go establish Rugas or cattle colonies in the Northern states, the South will find a way to invest in ranching like they’ve done in other endeavors they’re in. The President should stop dividing the country, everyone has now become very scary of Northerners in our midst because of the inactions of the president. The president must avert a war.
Sunday Igboho too must understand that no matter how noble his cause is, there’s a constitution that gives every Nigerian equal right to move and reside in every part of the country, if the presence of some people is causing uproar and high tension to other residents of the society there’s a constitutional way to go about it, even Governor Akeredolu did not issue state eviction ultimatum, he served eviction ultimatum for Fulanis in his state’s reserve, if a governor could understand his restrictions due to the constitution how much more a non-state actor like Sunday Igboho. If there was any political coloration under the facade of this noble cause, he should ditch it and follow cognition, a reasonable governor will never support anyone inciting violence against another ethnic group in his own state when people of his states and ethnicity also live amongst people with different ethnicity in different regions of the country, it is wrong.
Sunday Igboho mounting stage to insult and threaten a governor and his family members for not supporting his violent ‘messianic’ solution is out of the line, the state is constitutional and the constitution is over anything, if you have anything against the governor do not incite the people against him because he did not support your approach, your cause is noble but the approach is wrong, inciting people against a governor and projecting yourself as a messiah is a smear on your cause and a political discomfiture on whatever you want to do. The law is the law, respect people’s rights to movement
Even at the heat of his own action when the event escalated and there are reports of arson on the Seriki’s house, Sunday Igboho denied leading people to do such , he should have understood already that violence will creep in and a responsible governor won’t be supportive of that no matter how populistic his support will be, when emotions are down and reasonability comes back everyone will appreciate what governor Seyi Makinde did to avert a looming war.
The result of injustice is war, a weakened a rigged security and judicial system is what makes the emergence of people like Sunday Igboho inevitable. If there was justice for everyone, if every culprit were given due treatment regardless of ethnic group, there won’t be a need for someone to stand and say he wants to ‘liberate’ his people. The permanent solution to this crisis is justice
I’d end this with an excerpt from the statewide broadcast of the governor while addressing this, it will serve as an advice to Sunday Igboho if he’s peaceful loving and someone who reasons far beyond the immediate ramifications, the excerpt goes ” It is time for us to come together and put the interests of our state first. We have a common enemy. That enemy is not the Hausa Fulani who is looking for pasture for his flock. It is not the farmer who just wants to grow food to sell in the market or to feed his family. Our enemies are the hoodlums, cultists, armed robbers, kidnappers and bandits.” Now let us face those enemies without stoking ethnic wars
Source : Medium