Yoruba leaders decry South-West herders-farmers clashes as cases of terrorism
The Prominent Yoruba leaders, who gathered in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Wednesday to deliberate on how to stop the problem of criminal herdsmen and other forms of insecurity in the region, unveiled the South-West Security Stakeholders’ Group to complement government law enforcement units.
The group has been placed under the leadership of the Are Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams.
Among those present at the meeting with the theme: ‘Our destiny in our hands’, were the Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide; Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams; leader of Yoruba Koya, Chief Deji Osibogun; the Araba of Osogbo, Ifayemi Elebuibon; Agbekoya leaders and leaders of various groups.
Participants unanimously agreed that the frequent herdsmen attack against the people of the South-West was terrorism and not farmers-herders’ clash as being claimed in some quarters.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, was also part of the gathering held at the Mapo Hall, Ibadan.
The summit, which was organised by many socio-cultural groups, had Mr Sola Lawal as the chairman of its planning committee.
At the end of the meeting, a communiqué was read by Olajide.
It stated that the recent call by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd), on Nigerians to defend themselves against bandits jolted the citizens, because such could only happen in a situation of complete breakdown of law and order.
The communiqué read in part, “That the Yoruba nation is deeply worried by the unfolding anarchy, particularly as it affects the South-West region, almost rendered comatose by daily occurrence of kidnapping, arson, maiming, destruction of economic facilities and killings.
“The acts of criminality being tagged farmers-herders’ clash is a case of terrorism and a case of crime against humanity.
“Those who unleash attack on farmers, who kidnap fellow Nigerians, who kill and rape women are no bandits but terrorists. When injustice becomes the law, resistance will be a duty!
“That it is in the light of the foregoing that this gathering of Yoruba, having noted the challenges faced by security agencies and lately Amotekun, the new South-West security outfit, in making our land safe once again unveils the South-West Security Stakeholders’ Group under the leadership of Iba Gani Adams, the Are Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, as an outfit to complement official government law enforcement units.
“That this special internal South-West security group made up of all stakeholders in the security realm, including the OPC, Agbekoya, vigilante groups, hunters etc. has been charged by leaders of our nation here gathered to help ensure that our portion of Nigeria is safe again.
“That our forests are sacred, untouchable and irreversibly a no-go area to terrorists.
“That the Yoruba people will not cede one inch of our forests to anyone under any guise.”
The congress also agreed that Amotekun personnel should be allowed to bear reasonable arms.
It agreed that states in the region should pay special attention to agriculture to boost food security and wean the people from depending on food from outside the region.
Participants also agreed that Yoruba people should, as a matter of utmost urgency, retrace their steps to true and functional federalism as a panacea for tension and mistrust in the country if Nigeria was serious about remaining an indivisible whole.
The congress also agreed that the Odua anthem, which had been adopted by Osun and Ondo states, should be similarly adopted by the remaining states in the South-West.
Makinde had in his address said non-state actors would be incorporated in ensuring security in the state.
The governor called on traditional rulers and non-state actors to support the government in addressing the situation.
Makinde said, “What is on the ground now is beyond rhetoric. In the security architecture of Oyo State, non-state actors must be included.
“What we want to achieve is securing Yorubaland and Oyo State.”