Magnus Eze, Enugu, Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure, Seye Ojo, Ibadan, Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti and Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Yoruba and Igbo leaders have raised the alarm over the nefarious activities of suspected Fulani herders in the South West, South-South and South East geo-political zones.
Yoruba elders, members of the Ohanaeze, clerics and others in separate reactions, said the entire southern Nigeria has been turned into a killing field by herders, who they claimed have not only laid siege, but were terrorising and killing with impunity.
The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), in a statement, said until decisive actions were taken against the herdsmen killing Nigerians in the name of protecting their cows, the problem will persist and the country will remain worse for it.
But the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) asked the Igbo to rise up and defend themselves.
Nwodo, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, Chief Emeka Attamah indicated that the town unions were already mandated to do so.
He described the attitude of the President Muhammadu Buhari government as sinister, especially in the face of its recent order revoking firearms licences while at the same time securing frequency licence for a dedicated AM radio service for the Fulani.
Ohanaeze leader said former president Olusegun Obasanjo was apt in his recent alarm of a well-orchestrated agenda to Islamise Nigeria.
The YCE president, Col. Ade Agbede (retd) said a situation which makes the herdsmen appear untouchable and have laxity to behave as they liked posed grave danger to peaceful coexistence among the various ethnic groups in the country.
“The Federal Government should resolve to rein in the herdsmen and the bandits so as not to pave way for a situation whereby everybody will resort to self-defence which will ultimately lead to anarchy and descent to Hobbesian state of nature where life is short, brutish and nasty.”
Agbede called on Yoruba nation to be awake and brace-up towards halting the trend, adding that security issue should occupy the front burner in all the states that make up the Yoruba region henceforth.
Daily Sun learnt that herders issue was in the front burner when the ADF held a joint council meeting with town unions from the Southeast states in Enugu at the weekend.
A communiqués by its President, Prof. Uzodinma Nwala and National Secretary, Prof. Nath Aniekwu urged the town union Presidents General to take the issue of ‘home land security’ seriously.
Meanwhile, Bishop of Ibadan Diocese of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev’d Joseph Akinfenwa, warned the Federal Government that if proactive steps were not taken to rein in bandits, sacking and killing farmers will soon become a national epidemic.
In his sermon during the thanksgiving service at the Cathedral of St James, Oke-Bola, Ibadan, for outgoing Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Akinfenwa noted that the Federal Government that has evolved policies to diversify the country’s economy from crude oil to agriculture has failed to tame bandits that are killing, maiming, terrorising, and sacking farmers from their farms and villages.
“Now, the bandits are killing people all over the country, how will agriculture grow? Who will now stay in the rural areas and brace the dangers of farming in those places,” he said.
Akinfenwa warned that if the Federal Government continued to manifest laclustre attitude to the menace of armed bandits killing villagers and farmers, destroying farmlands, “the problem will soon become 100 per cent national epidemic.”
To check the menace, National Vice Chairman (South West) of the PDP, Dr. Eddy Olafeso appealed to President Buhari, security chiefs and governors of the six South West to take measure to rein in attackers.
Also reacting, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa urged the Federal Government to come up with a national policy on grazing to restrict herdsmen to approved grazing sites.
Okowa who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu also employed the Federal Government to come up with legislation with the overall objective of separating true herders from criminals, adding that the people of Delta State are receptive and willing to live in peace with anybody from any part of the country.
Similarly, traditional rulers in Ekiti State have advised Governor Kayode Fayemi and residents to go spiritual to tackle the recurring incident of abduction in the state.
The monarch under the aegis of the Majority Obas of Ekiti Land (MOBEL), gave the advice during a meeting with the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi.
A statement, yesterday, by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, quoted Egbeyemi as saying that government was doing everything possible in collaboration with security agencies to stop kidnapping in the state.
Egbeyemi urged residents to be security conscious and report suspicious movements and activities of strange faces in their vicinity to government and security agencies.
But MOBEL Chairman, Oba Ayorinde Oyedeji, said unorthodox methods can be used to compliment the efforts of security agencies to combat kidnapping and other violent crimes.