Chairman of the Western Nigeria Security Network, Amotekun in Oyo State, Gen. Kunle Togun, retd, yesterday raised the alarm that a large number of fully armed Fulani herders, who are non-Nigerians, have started trooping into the state through Saki East, Saki West and Atisbo Local Government Areas.
The development, however, elicited angry reactions from the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE; pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere; the Agbekoya Farmers’ Association, who called on security agencies to address the situation.
The alarm came on a day the state governor, Seyi Makinde, said some foreigners, without proper documentation, are contributing to the rising wave of insecurity in the state and warned traditional rulers to stop allocating lands to foreigners without documentation.
Togun raised the alarm in a message he sent to the Yoruba World Assembly, YWA, organizers of the first Yoruba traditional security summit held at the old House of Chiefs, Parliament Buildings, Secretariat in Ibadan.
The Amotekun chairman, who was invited as chief guest of honour at the event, had forwarded the message to the Chairman, Governing Council and Secretary-General of YWA, Chief Taye Ayorinde and Dr. Victor Taiwo respectively, to explain the reason for his inability to attend the programme.
Vanguard, however, gathered that gunshots rent the air in the three council areas where the suspected foreign criminals were trying to gain entry into the country.
Togun, in the terse message, said: “I am still in Saki area. The Fulani herdsmen are trooping in, in large numbers to Saki East and Saki West as well as Atisbo Local Government areas of the expansive Opara Forest reserve.
“Our boys are highly inexperienced. I am employing the services of seasoned native hunters who are assisting our boys.
“A lot of success has been achieved so far. Evidence abounds that they are not Nigerians. Amulets, charms, poisoned arrows and daggers already seized from them are about six bags as of now.”
He further disclosed that “some community chiefs and traditional rulers are among those inviting them.”
Togun noted that a meeting had been scheduled for January 14, 2021, but had to be rescheduled for Tuesday.
“Two traditional chiefs who are among those inviting herdsmen into Oyo State are to report to Amotekun for investigations,” he said.
At the security summit, prominent leaders in the zone vowed not to use guns but would employ ‘stronger traditional means’ to combat the invaders.
Speaking on the worsening security situation in the state, Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Security, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said: “We have a lot on our hands. As a Nigerian, you can live anywhere but not as a criminal.
“If their cows are like their children, they should also not forget that the crops planted by farmers on their farms too are just like their own children. If I don’t disturb your cows, why should you destroy my crops?”
He lamented that there are many saboteurs among the Yoruba, especially traditional rulers, who trade the safety of the lives of their subjects for cattle.
His words: “Out of 10 cows that a Fulani herder is grazing, eight of them will belong to our people. Some of them are big men. When these criminals are arrested by police, these people will be begging for their release so that the cattle that herders graze for them will not suffer.
“There are so many hungry community leaders. Just because they have an event, they ask for a cow from these herders and give them a large expanse of land. When the herders see the land is okay, they will refuse to vacate it.
“These traditional rulers give out the lands without informing members of their families.”
Meanwhile, Governor Makinde, who warned traditional rulers against allocating land to any foreigner without proper documentation in their domains, said such would not be tolerated.
Makinde, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, stated that his administration will ensure that foreigners in the state are properly documented very soon.
The statement read: “The governor equally warned traditional rulers and village heads against allocating lands to undocumented foreigners, stating that some undocumented individuals had been contributing to insecurity in the state.
“So, we are going to provide some documentation for them. Those who work in the mining site will be documented and a task force is being set up to do this.”
Makinde also said okada riders would be registered to be able to monitor them but threatened that their operations will be regulated if their leaders failed to get them registered.
“But if they would not register their people, we will be left with no choice than to just regulate the hours in which they operate. So, I am hopeful that they will co-operate with us by getting their people registered.”
Speaking on the relationship between the Police and Amotekun, the governor also said the state had observed that the relationship between the police and Amotekun is not cordial but said that this would be addressed to make the two work better.
He said: “Amotekun is not operating in a vacuum. They are a creation of the law of the state. The Nigerian Police is a creation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Normally, we have inter and intra-agency friction where possible, but we will get everybody together and seek alignment towards the same end basically.”
Meanwhile angry reactions greeted the Fulani incursion into the Saki area of the state.
While reacting to the alarm raised by the Amotekun chairman in Oyo State, Afenifere said Nigeria is in a season of Fulani dominion.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin said: “There is no doubt that they (Fulani) are not up to any good, especially coming after the insult by Miyetti Allah that they want to be part of Amotekun. We can only pray that God will take us through this evil season of Fulani dominion.”
Also expressing surprise, the Agbekoya Farmers’ Association called on the security agencies to arrest and detain them, adding that those without genuine mission should be sent back to their states.
Agbekoya’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Rotimi Bandele, said: “The Agbekoya national executives and Iwarefa-in council will be discussing this issue of influx of Fulani into Yorubaland, especially in Oke-Ogun axis of Oyo State, at our security meeting because of the alarm raised by the chairman of Amotekun in Oyo State.
“The position of Agbekoya is that they should be arrested and interrogated and those who do not have any genuine mission in the state should be detained or sent back to their states.
Speaking on the porosity of Nigeria’s borders, the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, through its Secretary-General, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said the situation called for concern.
The YCE scribe said: “We have a serious situation at hand. We have a governor who is the Chief Executive Officer who is in charge of these local government areas. One of the most important things we voted the CEO for is the protection of lives and property.
“We have a serious situation like this and the Executive and National Assembly are sitting comfortably in Abuja. Bona fide Nigerians are unable to live free in their own country.”
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