By Emma Njoku; Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri; Sola Ojo, Kaduna and Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are spitting fire and brimstone following reactions from the Presidency and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) over the recent quit notices handed to killer Fulani herdsmen in Ondo and Oyo states by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, respectively.
The presidency, in a statement by its spokesman, Garba Shehu, had opposed governor Akeredolu’s quit order, arguing that the governor has no such power, while the ACF had threatened reprisals following recent alleged attack on the Fulani in an Oyo community.
The late Dr Fredrick Fasheun’s faction of the OPC, in a statement signed by its Deputy President, Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, yesterday, advised the Presidency and the ACF against playing politics and ethnicity with the worrisome state of security in the South-West.
Otunba Afolabi (alias “Askari”), who made the call at the weekend, after an emergency meeting of OPC leaders at the Century Hotel, Okota, Lagos, said: “ACF is threatening reprisals instead of telling its prodigal sons to halt their criminality. ACF should know that nobody has a monopoly over violence.
“Although the millions of law-abiding Fulani men and women living in our midst have absolutely no cause for alarm, those Fulani criminals hiding under the cloak of being herdsmen to perpetrate evil against law-abiding citizens should know their time is up. Henceforth, it will be fire for fire.”
Afolabi expressed his group’s backing for the pronouncement issued by the Ondo governor that herdsmen should leave forests for open areas by Monday.
“We are fully prepared to help enforce Governor Akeredolu’s quit notice in Ondo State at the expiration of the two-week deadline. Anybody found in the jungle will be regarded as a kidnapper and bandit and will be appropriately dealt with. We Yoruba shall rise up to defend our land from foreign marauders who daily rape our women, kill our farmers and kidnap Nigerian citizens. Enough is enough.”
Meanwhile, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has advised Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, to honourably resign instead of obeying the order from the Inspector General of Police to arrest Yoruba activist, Igboho.
Kanu, in a statement he issued through the group’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said: “A warning to Mrs Ngozi Onadeko, the new Igbo Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Command.
“You are an Igbo woman, so I expect you to be reasonable enough to know that Fulani IGP posted you to Oyo to superintend the arrest or possible killing of Yoruba youths, in order to ferment enmity between the East and the West at this critical juncture in the history of the liberation of all indigenous people across Nigeria, including you and your family.
“I will advice you to resign honourably from your position as a certain Yoruba CP did in Abia State, when he declined to order men under his command to open fire on IPOB protesters.
“I am warning you not to do anything likely to jeopardise the safety or well-being of Sunday Ighoho, otherwise, you and your family will have the might of IPOB to contend with.Nothing should happen to Ighoho,” Kanu warned.
MASSOB backs Igboho
Also, Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has thrown it’s weight behind Igboho.
MASSOB said it was in total support of the actions of Igboho of not allowing their lands to be taken over by Fulani herders. The publicity director of MASSOB, Sunny Okereafor, said the action of the Yoruba youths led by Igboho, was to check the expansionist adventure of the Fulani.
Okereafor advised Igboho not to be intimidated by the threat of arrest from any quarter as posterity will not be fair to him if he fails to take actions that are in the interest of his people.
Regardless, Oyo commissioner of police, Ngozi Onadeko, and representatives of the state government were in Igangan, Ibarapa north local government area (LGA), yesterday, to broker peace between herders and residents.
Spokesman of the Oyo state police command, Olugbenga Fadeyi, who disclosed the development to TheCable yesterday, however, did not give details of the meeting.
ACF, Miyetti Allah jokers- Gani Adams
Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, yesterday, described the ACF and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) as jokers.
Adams, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, expressed concern about the security situation in the region, stating that threats of attack on the southwest can fuel further crisis in Ibarapa,Oyo and Ondo and will certainly affect the entire nation.
He said: ”The apex organisation in the North and the herders association should watch their statements or face the wrath of the Yoruba nation.
“By their inciting statements, the north are beating war drums. But we will resist any attempt by the north to turn our region to war zones and no amount of threat will stop us from securing our region from killer herdsmen.
“From my findings, what is playing out in the last three days,(especially in the social media) is evidence that there are some enemies and political elements, both within and outside our region, who are now using the bravery of Sunday Igboho as a coordinated attempt to soil my name and, also, put my efforts in the past 28 years in the struggle to test.”
Adams, however, warned the North to stay away from any attempt to cause mayhem in the southwest, hence, the situation could degenerate into further chaos that might affect the entire nation.”
Ondo quit notice, Oyo attack worrisome – AYCF
Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), yesterday, described the quit notice order by the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and subsequent attack and destruction of property in Oyo State as worrisome and disturbing.
The group, which spoke through its President, Shettima Yerima, said: ”Let it be known that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees every Nigerian’s right to live in any part of the country and freely engage in any legitimate business of his or her choice. The governor of Ondo State being a learned person is expected to know better.
“AYCF will not support any group that engages in any form of criminality, and such people should not be identified by their religion, tribe or ethnicity, but should be treated as a criminal.”
Don’t cause another civil war, Bishop Onuoha warns
Worried by the actions and unguarded utterances by some highly placed individuals and ordinary Nigerians, coupled with the poor handling of criminal elements in the country, the Co-Chair, Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, Bishop Sunday Ndukwo Onuoha, has warned against invitation of another civil war.
The President, Vision Africa International, who was speaking on the sidelines of security challenges in the country, called on Nigerians, irrespective of political, religious and ethnic divide, to be careful in drawing lines of argument, stressing that Nigeria is yet to recover from the Civil War even after 51 years.
The Global Peace Award Winner, 2013, warned that unguarded utterances have potentials of tearing the country apart within a twinkle of an eye, if the targets react in like manner, stating that war ravaged countries of the world have never told good stories regarding its effects on their economy.
Bishop Onuoha charged the Federal Government to fish out criminal elements destroying farmlands, raping women and kidnapping people in different parts of the country, adding that the vices do not, in anyway, represent the traditional cattle farmers known by Nigerians.