Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has warned that the Yoruba will not tolerate the setting up of any armed vigilante group by members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in any state in the South West.
The leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said this during a press briefing held in Lagos. He said the activities of armed herdsmen would have been effectively dealt with if the governors had control of the security agencies in their states and then demanded the exit of the Fulani vigilante group from the South West or risk confrontation.
Adebanjo said this after the former national secretary of Labour Party (LP) and General Secretary of ‘Forward Buhari,’ Kayode Ajulo revealed a few days ago that some armed members of the MACBAN set up a vigilante group in Ondo State, mounting checkpoints along the highways. Ajulo said he was traveling to Ondo State with armed policemen recently, when he saw armed herdsmen with their cattle and when he confronted them, they claimed they were doing what they were doing with the permission of the police.
Adebanjo said: “The activities of Fulani herdsmen/bandits/kidnappers and other miscreants would have been effectively dealt with if the governors as chief security officers of their states had control of the security agencies. The unhelpful unitary structure in our country keeps taking its toll on our people. We are miffed that those who will not allow our elected governors have police are now setting up Fulani bandit -vigilantes on our soil in addition to the Fulani militias terrorising our land. We demand their immediate exit from Yoruba land and if they refused to leave in a reasonable time, we will not stop our people from confronting them.
“The past few years have been troubling for our country as we have witnessed mass killings of people in the country, most of which have been linked to Fulani herdsmen/militia and the Nigerian state has not been able to dispel the allegations by unraveling the brains behind the killings and applying the law against them. Our Yoruba region has also witnessed serial attacks from the Fulani herdsmen/militia in forms of rape of our women, kidnap of our people for ransom and killings of innocent people. The most perplexing question surrounding the killings is how cattle herdsmen end up with sophisticated weapons like the AK-47 as has been noted in different communities across Nigeria.
“The spectre of a fully-armed Fulani herdsman is new as we used to see only herdsmen carrying sticks in our communities. That there has been no attempt to disarm these armed herdsmen with sophisticated but illegal weapons in the last few years have been quite worrisome as it raises serious concerns about official indifference to the murderous activities of these elements. Instead, the government has only attempted to withdraw duly registered ammunition.
“Apart from not bringing them to book, the Buhari administration has taken so many steps which betray the encouragement being given to these troublers of Nigeria among which are: the reported offer of N100b to Miyetti Allah by the Federal government upon the demand of N160b compensation by the group for we know not what. The collection of radio license by the Buhari administration for a station to broadcast in Fulfude exclusively spoken by the Fulani even as Hausa don’t understand the language. We remember how such radio was used in the promotion of genocide in Rwanda.
We have seen “the promotion of Ruga (Hausa word for cattle settlement) through which the Federal government wants to create Federal Cattle Territories all over Nigeria to give land to Fulani all over the country in furtherance of fulanisation agenda. The implementation of Ruga (not the project itself) has been suspended for now but the call for the amendment of the Land Use Act which put all lands under the governors by the Senate President has confirmed the alarm raised by Southern and Middle Belt leaders that the project was suspended to amend the Land Use Act so the Federal government can directly allocate land for the project. We restate our call on our legislators to resist any tinkering with the Land Use Act.”