Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) has lamented the seemingly free rein of killer herdsmen in Nigeria, especially in the South West, saying until decisive actions are 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.
The YCE President, Col. Ade Agbede (retd), gave the warning in a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan on Sunday.
According to him, “a situation which makes the herdsmen appear untouchable and have laxity to behave as they like is embarrassingly worrisome and poses 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 as an entity within the larger Nigeria 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.
“Perhaps, the most challenging issue confronting the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is that of insecurity and it is not hidden. But, one is constrained to observe that the situation is degenerating and when such a situation arises, it needs drastic solution.
“As Yoruba elders and leaders in our own rights, we owe it a duty to speak up. There are said to be 1,123 cells belonging to armed Fulani herdsmen located across Yoruba nation. The cells are said to be well organized and they are said to appear to network with one another as they may not be known except that there have been increase in their organisational skills.
“We are not oblivious of the great task of the military in nearly all parts of the North and some parts of the South against the insurgents and the bandits. This has made the military very stretched, thereby needing the understanding and cooperation of Nigerians to render a helping effort if only in intelligence gathering to forestall what appears like a planned invasion of Yoruba nation.
“This is part of the reasons why we are now calling on our people to be on guard and forge a common front to ensure the security of lives and property in our region. A released victim from herdsmen captivity said it unequivocally that Yoruba nation is under siege as he recounted how about ten armed men dressed in army uniform (camouflage) kidnapped him.
“To free our nation from this perceived siege, the struggle calls for collectivity and so, there should be inter-community collaborations among our people. We all have to wake up from our slumber and flush out all strange and potentially dangerous people hiding in our forests.”