YORUBA elders want an immediate end to the activities of Fulani herdsmen in the South-West, following the abduction of Olu Falae, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, on his farm in Ilado, Akure, Ondo State, on September 21.
They made their position known in a communiqué at the end of an emergency summit of the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, held at the Parliament Building of the Oyo State secretariat complex, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State on Thursday, October 8.
The enraged elders emphasised that failure of the herdsmen to heed their warning could lead to dire consequences.
The communiqué read by Kunle Olajide, chairman of the planning committee, the YCE also called for the arrest and trial of Falae’s abductors.
Reiterating that the incessant invasion of farmlands by the herdsmen and subsequent killing of farmers were part of the flawed federal system, the Yoruba leaders restated the call for true federalism and restructuring of the nation to enable each region develop at its own pace.
The communiqué read in part: “Falae’s abduction was sequel to the running battles he has had with these Fulani herdsmen, who had invaded his farmland and destroyed his produce.
“The return of the herdsmen is a declaration of war on the Yoruba, Falae’s abduction is a continuation of attacks which these herdsmen have unleashed on our people over the years.
“We cannot afford to leave our people at the mercy of violence of these herdsmen who came to destroy their economic rights and kill them.
“We demand immediate end to lawless cattle grazing in Yorubaland and ask all those who want to engage in cattle business to do animal husbandry, to establish ranches, our people are no longer prepared to allow further encroachment on their farmlands.”
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State decried Falae’s abduction and appealed to the people not to take laws into their hands. But he warned that simplicity of the Yoruba nation should not be taken for granted.
“We are all Nigerians, regardless of tribe and differences. The fight is not between the North and the South but legality against illegality,” Ajimobi said.
Adeyinka Adebayo, a retired general and president of the YCE chief, said the Yoruba must close ranks to fight the menace. Adebayo said: “Our actions have continually pulled us back as a race, we need to close ranks and fight for our common good.”
Also at the meeting were Olaniwun Ajayi, Ayo Adebanjo, Idowu Sofola, all chieftains of Afenifere, a Yoruba cultural group; Frederick Fasehun, founder of Oodua Peoples Congress; Raji Rasaki, a retired general and a host of other prominent Yoruba leaders.
— Oct 19, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT