Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has warned that the Yoruba will not tolerate the setting up of any armed vigilante group by members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in any state in the South West.
At a press briefing in Lagos, yesterday, leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said the activities of armed herdsmen would have been effectively dealt with if governors had control of the security agencies in their states.
He demanded the exit of the Fulani vigilante group from the South West or risk facing confrontation.
Adebanjo said this after the former national secretary of Labour Party (LP) and General Secretary of ‘Forward Buhari’, Kayode Ajulo revealed few days ago that some armed members of the MACBAN set up a vigilante group in Ondo State, mounting checkpoints along the highways. Ajulo said he was traveling to Ondo State with armed policemen recently, when he saw armed herdsmen with their cattle and when he confronted them, they claimed they were doing it with the permission of the Police.
Adebanjo said: “The activities of Fulani herdsmen/bandits/kidnappers and other miscreants would have been effectively dealt with if the governors as Chief Security officers of their states had control of the security agencies. The unhelpful unitary structure in our country keeps taking its toll on our people. We are miffed that those who will not allow our elected governors have police are now setting up Fulani bandit -vigilantes on our soil in addition to the Fulani militias terrorising our land. We demand their immediate exit from Yoruba land and if they refused to leave in reasonable time, we will not stop our people from confronting them.
“The past few years have been troubling for our country as we have witnessed mass killings of people in the country, most of which have been linked to Fulani herdsmen/militia and the Nigerian state has not been able to dispel the allegations by unraveling the brains behind the killings and applying the law against them. Our Yoruba region has also witnessed serial attacks from the Fulani herdsmen/militia in forms of rape of our women, kidnap of our people for ransom and killings of innocent people. The most perplexing question surrounding the killings is how cattle herdsmen end up with sophisticated weapons like the AK-47 as has been noted in different communities across Nigeria.
“The specter of a fully-armed Fulani herdsman is new as we used to see only herdsmen carrying sticks in our communities. That there has been no attempt to disarm these armed herdsmen with sophisticated but illegal weapons in the last few years have been quite worrisome as it raises serious concerns about official indifference to the murderous activities of these elements .Instead the government has only attempted to withdraw duly registered ammunitions. Apart from not bringing them to book, this administration has taken so many steps which betray the encouragement being given to these troublers of Nigeria.”