Pro-south socio-cultural organisations, Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo have warned their counterpart in the north, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) that their support for the establishment of the controversial Fulani herdsmen settlements popularly called Ruga across Nigeria is capable of setting the country on fire. They also warned that the endorsement by the Northern elite group for Miyetti Allah’s proposal to set up vigilante groups in parts of the country is capable of destabilising the polity.
Reacting to the latest position of the ACF in an interview with the group’s scribe, Anthony Sani, Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said “these people are baying for a war. They want to set Nigeria on fire, ablaze. Let us warn them loud and clear, the coalition that fought the civil war between 1967 and 1970 has collapsed forever. They should not think that they can go and fight anybody now and win. We know history even in 1967; we know where victory came in that war. They should be careful the way they are going. They should let us live in peace and harmony on the basis of true federalism, but if they think that they can lord it over the rest of the country because they hold temporary power for four years, they are playing with fire.
“There was a country called Soviet Union; there was a country called Czechoslovakia and there was a country called Yugoslavia; those countries are no more on the world map today, so, they should not let that be the fate of Nigeria the way they are going; they should be very careful. They are looking for something else, which is not in the interest of the country. To say that they want Ruga settlements implemented all over the country is a declaration of war on the rest of us.
Odumakin further said that, “the federal government through its body language, policy, action has turned sectional and that is why nothing is happening to these people making this hate speech. What did Nnamdi Kanu do that they charged him for treason? But the government is keeping quiet when a group is issuing threat against a section of the country because they are protesting against cows destroying their farm crops. Today, unfortunately, the federal government is losing its authority by allowing a group to issue threats against citizens; we are on the road to Kigali.
“This is just about conquest, domination, land grabbing, and forceful take over of territory; go back to history, the entire Hausa land today, Berom and Ilorin, they never have emirs, there is no town in Hausa land today that the Fulani built, but go everywhere; go to Zamfara, they have emirs everywhere. How did they do it? They used religion then to take over the territory, now they want to use cattle to take over the rest of the territory of Nigeria.”
In the vein, the Ohanaeze through its national publicity secretary, Uche Opaga- Achi, said the positions of both ACF and the youth coalition, show the level of impunity they demonstrate or operate. “Nigeria is already on fire, and what was remaining is disintegration, which the action of these people is leading to. They are mongering for war; the country is on fire, there is distress everywhere. It is turning to criminality and absurdity that people will stay in the comfort of their homes and dictate what happens in another zone.
“What is the concept of rule of law and human rights; what is the concept of self determination; what is the concept of government protecting lives and property of people under its watch? They have the backing of the federal government and that is the more reason they can just wake up in the morning and begin to say things that are capable of disintegrating the country and nobody cares and they get out of it and lie freely on their beds, while the statement they have made is enforcing, heating the embers of disunity in the country.
“Our argument is this, the land in the north is by far much more larger than the one in the east or in south. Why is it that it is in the east and south that they are making emphasis of enforcing Ruga? Our argument is that you have the Sambisa forest that can contain all the cows in Africa and the insurgents are coming in through that axis. Let them go and develop the forest and bring all the cows in Africa and put there. They will be free from all forms of destruction, distraction or problems here and there; there will be no farmers there to clash with.
“In the alternative, the Sahara desert is wasting; you have oil in the south and you piped it to the north and you use it the way you want. So, the same way, you can also pipe water to the Sahara desert, as Governor Nyesom Wike suggested that they can pipe water to the desert, and Governor Dave Umahi also said that they can buy the grasses from the south. So, you can use the money you have and pipe water to develop the Sahara desert, water it and grass it.
“The cows will have a field day; the herders will have nobody to clash with. How come that you want to stifle the people with the little land they have here. You see brothers and sisters fighting over land because the land is too small; there are so many land cases in the court, which tells you that land is not even here, and you want to bring in Fulani from all parts of Africa to come and flood here in order to continue with you Islamisation and Fulanisation agenda. Is there anything hidden about this thing; it is an open secret.
“The support of the coalition group on herdsmen being part of security in states, is as laughable and as it is provocative and even insulting. How can southerners go to north and constitute vigilante? What is the job of the police, what is the job of the local vigilante there, are you saying that they are incompetent? They are doing their jobs. See how Boko Haram is killing our soldiers because the government provides money for arms and ammunition, but the people at the helm of affairs allegedly pocket the money.
“People are calling that Ruga should be implemented when the federal government has made a statement suspending it. Is that not a counter action, which is an offence and more so, criminal when you are making statements or comments capable of tearing the country into pieces, and yet, nobody is going for them; herdsmen are killing and raping people, and nobody is arresting them.
“They have a field day. It is the IPOB whose members were not armed was declared a terrorist group, but the terrorists that are busy killing people, damaging farms are walking freely without challenge. So, why will the northern youth not make inflammatory statement when they knew that nobody would question them and they have the backing of their elders.”