From Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
A university don, Prof Femi Olufunmilade of Igbinedion University, Okada, in Edo State, has said as long as armed herdsmen are allowed to roam free and cause deaths and destruction, Fulanis should expect more evictions across the country.
Prof Olufunmilade, who is also Director, Buratai Centre for Contemporary Security Affairs at the university, said that the eviction order had come about because people have been pushed to the wall by herdsmen attacks, forcing them to defend themselves.
Reacting to mounting agitations for the eviction of notorious criminals in Yoruba farming communities, Prof Olufunmilade warned that Fulanis would be evicted not only in Yorubaland but across all besieged communities in Nigeria.
According to him, ‘Yoruba are the most hospitable and tolerant ethnic group in Nigeria, in whose towns and villages you find people of diverse ethnicities, [who are] gifted land and accorded all rights and privileges of indigenes to settle, do business and live in peace.
‘For this traditionally peaceful and friendly people to start fishing out specific individuals for eviction from their communities is borne of the dangers such people pose. It’s not the result of ethnic profiling.
‘Seriki Fulani in Igangan was evicted for being the kingpin of kidnappers in the area. Specific victims of his criminality like Dr Fatai Aborode have been mentioned. Has he been interrogated and investigated by appropriate security agencies?
‘Only criminals operating with impunity because of their high connections are being shown the way out in beleaguered communities. And there is a consensus in Yorubaland for the victims to evict criminals in their communities, whoever they are, where the federal government-controlled law enforcement agencies abdicate their duties for unclear reasons.
‘This has to be so because the siege by criminals masquerading as herdsmen is now akin to organised guerrilla warfare aimed at pushing our rural dwellers, who are predominantly farmers, into the cities to form IDP camps as is the case across the North presently.
‘Can you tell me one thing the federal government has done to check this menace? Meanwhile, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has provided land to settle the nomadic herdsmen. I wonder if he has gotten any help from the federal government.
‘Our royal fathers have met with President Buhari several times on this matter. Ditto our governors, albeit in a lacklustre manner. Where is the positive outcome?,’ the don queried
Calls for the eviction of Fulani in the South-West that started in Oyo, Ondo and Ogun states have spread to and attracted support in Edo, Bayelsa and Abia states in the South-South and South-East