From Sola Ojo, Kaduna, Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure, Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan and Lukman Olabiyi
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to act swiftly warning that the country is going up in flames.
Spokesman for the group, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, gave the warning against the backdrop of tension in recent weeks owing to farmer-herder conflicts, ethnic clashes, banditry and insurgency.
Baba-Ahmed in a Twitter post on Saturday night, said Nigerians living in any part of the country must be protected by the government.
“Attacking innocent southerners living in the north will not be the right response to attacks on northerners in the south. We should demand that Nigerians, wherever they are, must be protected. President and governors: Do something, NOW! They are setting the country on fire under you,” Baba-Ahmed said.
On Saturday, there was an outbreak of violence in Shasha area of Ibadan, Oyo State capital, which reportedly led to the death of one person. Property of residents and wares of traders were also destroyed.
In response, Governor, Seyi Makinde ordered immediate closure of the market and announced a curfew in the affected communities.
Ekiti Governor, Kayode Fayemi and his Ondo counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu also condemned the violence in Ibadan, warning that the crisis could spread to other parts of the country.
NSA engage North West govs
Amid rising tension across the country, a delegation of the Federal Government led by National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, would meet with the seven North West governors in Kaduna today.
Monguno disclosed the meeting in a statement, yesterday, saying he met with service chiefs, heads of law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies to discuss the threat of kidnappings, terrorism and other security perils threatening lives and property of citizens.
Monguno said the decision to strengthen inter-agency coordination and stakeholders’ engagement was reached at the meeting.
“As part of renewed commitment to make Nigeria safe and secure, the meeting resolved to strengthen inter-agency coordination, stakeholders’ engagement and consultation in order to find lasting solution to the multiple security threats.
“Working with service chiefs and heads of security and intelligence agencies, the National Security Adviser is coordinating a whole-of -government and whole-of-society approach that cuts across the legislature, judiciary, ministries and departments, states and local governments and the civil society to ensure that every stakeholder plays a role in securing our towns and villages,” Monguno said.
He said the meeting with the seven North West governors would encourage geopolitical synchronisation of efforts among states and also create a pathway to lasting peace and security.
“The National Security Adviser will be leading a delegation of heads of federal law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies to the geopolitical zones to hold town halls meeting with the state governors, traditional and religious leaders, members of the legislature, non-governmental, youth and women organisations.
“The meetings are expected to provide direct assessment of the security situation, generate local feedback and recommendations, encourage geo-political synchronisation of effort among States and to also create a pathway to lasting peace and security. The first of the town hall meetings is scheduled to hold in Kaduna State on Monday, 15 February 2021 with all seven governors of the North Western states.”
Declare Sunday Igboho terrorist
Regardless, the Northern Youths Council of Nigeria, yesterday, called on governors in the region to evacuate northerners from the South West over recent clash in Sasha market.
The group, in a statement by Isah Abubakar and Mock Kure, president and spokesman, respectively, also called on the Federal Government to declare Sunday Igboho a terrorist.
“Northerners should desist from travelling to Southwestern Nigeria as signals from the region is extremely bad, pending when the government will prove that it is now safe to travel to that region. We call on Nigerians with a conscience to condemn such attacks and other planned attacks because together, good shall triumph over evil.
It claimed the “hidden agenda” to expel northerners started with the call on all herdsmen (not criminal elements) by Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, to leave all state-controlled forests’ reserves. This, it said led to the sudden emergence of one Sunday Igboho, as the ‘enforcer-in-chief’ of the hidden but now open agenda in faraway Oyo State.
“The eviction orders violates the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as Amended) which guarantees freedom of movement of all citizens and rights to own movable and unmovable properties in any part of the country.
“We believe strongly that the inability of government at all levels to tame the lawless wings of Sunday Ighoho and his co-travellers has led to the emergence of his variants, hence, the renewed attacks on settled business people.
“We call on the Federal Government to declare Sunday Igboho and his group as a terrorist organisation as he is not different from Boko Haram.
“Northern Governors’ Forum under the leadership of Simon Bako Lalong to rally his colleagues to begin to evacuate our brothers that are trapped in South West and other troubled spots in Southern Nigeria since the governments in those regions have proven to be helpless or tacitly complicit in the ceaseless attacks on our people.
“Northern youths will continue to maintain maximum restraints despite the unjustifiable and unprovoked attacks on our people pending on when the government will exhaust all its cards.”
Shasha market clash unfortunate, says Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said traders in Shasha market, was unfortunate as the market represents unity.
Osinbajo expressed this view when he spoke to newsmen shortly after paying a condolence visit to the late Lateef Jakande family in Ilupeju, Lagos, yesterday.
Said Osinbajo: “I have heard about the unfortunate mayhem and the tragic loss of lives at the Shasha market in the past few days. Shasha market has been a melting pot for traders bringing foodstuff from the north to the Southwest for decades.
“For decades traders from the north have done business with their brothers from the South West and they have lived in peace and even inter-married; Shasha represents unity.
“So when a disagreement arises between individuals or a criminal act is committed by one against the other, we must ensure that we see it for what it is, a criminal act, which must be punished according to law; not an ethnic conflict.’’
The vice president said every Nigerian has a constitutional right to live, work and enjoy their lives in safety and peace under the law.
He said it was the duty of government through the police and other law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute any person who committed a crime against a citizen.
“We must never take the law into our own hands, if we do we will be promoting chaos, and a breakdown of law and order, and all of us especially the most vulnerable amongst us, will be at risk.
“I urge all community leaders to work together to preserve the brotherly co-existence that our people from different parts of the country have enjoyed in Shasha market for several decades.
“I commend the governor for his swift and decisive action and all the law enforcement agencies for their prompt intervention,’’ he said.
OPC calls for probe
However, the O’odua Peoples Congress(OPC) called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Makinde to investigate the clash.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Oguntimehin, OPC expressed concern that a minor misunderstanding between a pregnant woman and an Hausa man later degenerated into tribal crisis leading to death and destruction of properties in the community.
The OPC lamented that such crisis could have been avoided even as it maintained that Yoruba were a peaceful and accommodating people.
“It is unfortunate that a short misunderstanding between two traders eventually led to killing and destruction. Yoruba are every where in Nigeria, especially, in the north, mostly in Kano and Kaduna, however, it is on record that no Yoruba native has ever instigated any crisis in the north.
“Therefore, I am using this opportunity to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ugly incident, so as to bring the culprits to book and also forestall further crisis,” he said.
Oguntimehin also expressed dismay at the report of a Divisional Police officer (DPO) in charge of Ile-Igbon Division, Surulere Local Government Area of Ogbomoso in Oyo State, Adepoju Ayodeji, shooting an operative of Amotekun for arresting Fulani herdsmen that allegedly destroyed a cassava farm.
He appealed to Nigeria’s politicians, irrespective of their different political affiliations not to play politics with insecurity in the region, disclosing that the reports at his disposal indicates that in the last two months, Nigeria’s politicians have been playing politics with the spate of insecurity in the country.
Senator Adeola condemns attacks in Ogun community
Senator Solomon Adeola, chairman Senate Committee on Finance and a prominent indigene of Yewaland has joined in the condemnation of the invasion, destruction and killing of indigenes of Yewaland by people identified as Fulani herdsmen.The attacks, deaths and destruction of properties had specifically occurred at Yewa North, Imeko Afon, Ipokia and Yewa South LGAs in recent weeks.
In a statement in Abuja, the senator said having waited in vain for over two weeks for government’s positive action against what are clearly criminal acts of arson and murder, he was now calling on the federal and Ogun State governments to rise up to its constitutional obligations of protecting lives and properties of all Nigerians, particularly the peace loving people of Yewaland in Ogun State.
“I recall that at various occasions on the floor of the senate, I contributed to debates on the deteriorating security situation in different parts of the country and was always agitating for restructuring of the security architecture of the country. I made a similar contribution to a senate wide motion on general security only last week. Now something specific must be done urgently to stop the arson and killings in Yewaland by relevant authorities and security agencies. Let it be stated that as a representative of the people sworn to uphold the constitution and laws of the land, including the right to self defence, I will not hesitate to join my people in the defence of their rights to life, property and peaceful coexistence with others at the back of seeming failure of duly constituted authorities to defend such fundamental rights against anyone or forces.”
Senator Adeola noted that he is aware that the government had set up a special committee on the recent situation in Yewaland and elsewhere in the state stressing that the body needed to urgently turn in a workable report/solution to the government to stem the spate of arson and killing in Yewaland.