National President General of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Abdullahi Bodejo has called on the federal government to arrest Yoruba leaders promoting Operation Amotekun, the Southwest regional security network.
In an interview with VINCENT KALU, the leader of the Fulani socio-cultural association emphasized that the aim of setting up the security outfit was to ban Fulani herdsmen from Yorubaland.
The Southwest has set up a regional security outfit, Operation Amotekun, what is your view on that?
I read it on the internet. However, it would have been a good development, if the national security agencies – the Army, the Police, the DSS, the Civil Defence, etc, were not living up to expectations. Will Amotekun have more security intelligence than these national security orgnisations? The answer is no. Anything security should be left with those security organisations, so, I don’t know the reason for this one from the Southwest, except that it has sinister motive.
Look at how the vigilantes are causing troubles all over; there is what is called interest in setting up this type of thing. Look at Zamfara where the vigilantes and the Fulani are having issues.
The Attorney General said the WNSN is an illegal outfit, are you in support of that?
They should not only ban it, but should arrest the leaders of this group. Like I said earlier, nobody or group has more security intelligence than the Police. The Army is doing enough; the DSS is also doing enough, likewise the Civil Defence.
They are just doing all these things in order to stop the Fulani from coming into their area; it is just a hidden agenda to prevent the Fulani herdsmen from grazing in their God-given areas.
If you say you set up Amotekun to protect your region, what about the Northern Nigeria, what about the Southeast and the South-South and other places that don’t have that kind of thing. Nigeria is one; everything is one, unless they want to divide the country.
I know some of their leaders have good hearts, but others have evil hearts, and those are the ones coming up with this agenda that the Fulani can’t do this and the Fulani can’t do that; all these things are happening because of Fulani; they are just against the Fulani.
I support 100 percent the federal government banning it; and the leaders should be arrested. It is a deliberate plot against the Fulani. How many Fulani have been involved in crime and criminal activities in the area? Go and check, those people they have been parading as criminals are not Fulani; if they see a Fulani with his cattle inside the bush, they will be calling the Commissioner of Police, DPO, Area Commander and other personalities that they have caught a Fulani committing one crime or the other. The moment this is done, the herdsman is scared and he would be made to sell all his cows to free himself from that wicked accusation, that is why you see some of these people are jumping from here to here supporting illegalities and they have their aim.
The headquarters of Amotekun is in Oyo State, where your organization has dragged the state government to court over the anti-grazing law. What do you say to this?
We are following the anti-grazing law in Oyo very carefully, and we are sending our lawyers, but not much progress is being made in the court.
I had a meeting recently with some Fulani from Oyo who came to visit me, they told me how pressure was being mounted on them; and that the environment was being made so harsh and uncomfortable for them. I told them to be law abiding while carrying out their businesses. There, they don’t have fathers or mothers, so the only solution is to approach the court where we can have justice as we are in Nigeria.
I tell you, whether the headquarters of Amotekun is in Oyo or any of the states in the Southwest, as a governor, you are the chief security officer of that state, and in that state, you have the police, the army, the DSS, civil defence, why can’t you use these security agencies that are very well organized, well accepted to tackle any security issue in your state, instead of bringing a different thing to create confusion. I don’t think that the Nigeria Police will support this kind of illegalities.
Some people are suggesting that the reason for Amotekun was to send a warning signal to the core North that is working to produce the next president after Buhari in 2023. What is your take on this?
We are in a democracy, everybody has freedom of speech. If Nigerians decide that a Northerner would succeed Buhari, no any group can stop it. I’m just saying my mind not as a leader of an organisation. Even these people who have set up this group with hidden agenda to protect themselves, cannot stop any person from any part of this country from being president no matter how they plan it.
Which part of this country do you think should produce the president in 2023?
From what I’m seeing, 2023 is going to be very interesting, but it is still very far one to say, it should be this or that person. Those who were elected last year are just settling down; they are just less than a year in office. In the next two years or so, the pictures will begin to get clearer.
With Amotekun in the Southwest, do you think RUGA, grazing reserve or grazing route is still possible in the region?
Thank God that it is not only Fulani that are rearing cows now, Yoruba and other tribes are now rearing cattle, but I still insist that RUGA should be created for the Fulani to protect them because they cannot leave Nigeria; they cannot stop their business, as they will continue to do their businesses. The state governors should carve out specific places for the Fulani to continue their businesses; they don’t have any place to go.
With this security outfit coming up in the Southwest, don’t you think the South East, South-South and the Middle Belt will follow suit?
Nigeria is one, and Fulani are everywhere in the country – South West, South East, South-South and other places, and they are contributing to the revenue base of the states, as about 99.9 per cent of cows consumed in the country are from individual Fulani cattle owners. If they are contributing to the revenue of states from the cattle markets, then these people that are banning them don’t want their states to generate enough revenue.
If other regions come up with their own security organisation, do you support the federal government to ban them as well?
I support the federal government to ban any of such organisation and also arrest all these people coming up with this small small laws. For any other tribe that wants to come up with its own security organisation to protect its own people, it is not good for the country. Let Nigeria continue to use the already established security agencies. With this, Nigeria will continue to be very peaceful.