From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Former Minister of Aviation Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has taken a swipe at the Senate President, Dr Ahmed Lawan over his recent statement that the South-West Governors were responsible for the recent killings in the Shasha area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
He said the proactive steps taken by the South-West Governors and Oyo State Governor Mr Seyi Makinde, in particular, helped at preventing the crisis from being worse than what it was.
In a statement released on Saturday night, the former Minister said: ‘I was in Ibadan when the Shasha killings started and I went on a tour of the affected area.
‘Let me assure you that many people were killed on both sides of the ethnic divide and had it not been for the efforts of the Governor of Oyo State and the tacit support and encouragement he got from the other South-West Governors in terms of appealing to the people of Ibadan to show restraint, what happened in Oyo would have been a hundred times worse and far many more northerners would have been killed.
‘The level of hate and resentment against Fulani herdsmen in the South-West is frightful and unprecedented today and the Governors are having a hard time trying to calm people down and reign them is even though. They may not want to admit it publicly.
‘The decisive actions of the South-West Governors over the last few months actually saved lives and their words and utterances actually reflected the will of the people.
‘If for example, Governor Akeredolu had not banned herdsmen from the forests of Ondo State, after some time the local population would have gone there themselves to throw them out violently.
‘The truth is that all the South-West states are sitting on a keg of gunpowder over this herdsmen issue and the local population are mobilising against them in a very frightening way.
‘Northern leaders should thank the SW Governors for keeping a lid on the whole thing and restraining our people rather than blame them for trying to keep the peace in the face of the most extreme provocation from the terrorists.
‘Quite apart from that I need to ask this question. Why does the Senate President not complain about the violence that northerners are inflicting on Middle Belters and Southerners in the North itself?
‘Again why does he not complain about the barbaric attacks and killing of our people in the South-West and other parts of the South and Middle Belt by killer Fulani herdsmen who are carrying arms, raping our women, occupying our land and terrorising out people?
‘How come he does not complain about that? Is Northern blood more precious than Southern blood? It appears that he is only concerned about retaliatory attacks by the local Yoruba population who have been brutalised and traumatised by the terrorists.
‘He has not complained about what those terrorists are doing to our people and he has exhibited no empathy with the victims simply because they are Southerners.
‘The only way the resentment against northerners will vanish in that zone is when the killer herdsmen and terrorists stop the killings. Outside of that all the self-serving and sanctimonious admonitions and lectures in the world from Northern leaders, who are clearly partial in this matter, to our leaders in the South-West will change nothing.
‘If we want peace let us be honest and let us join hands, stand shoulder to shoulder and fight against the killers together. Blaming South-West Governors and leaders for the failures of the federal government to provide law and order and protect our people from terrorists and savages will not help in this matter. As a matter of fact, it will only make things worse,’ he added.