CONTROVERSY has continued to trail the visit of a Yoruba rights activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho to Ogun State on Monday.
The acclaimed freedom fighter said his visit was to liberate residents of the state, especially, those living in the Yewa axis of the state from the shackles of the Fulani herdsmen.
It is no longer news that Fulani herdsmen had afflicted pains on the residents of Yewaland, which ranges from the destruction of farmlands, killing and maiming of farmers and raping of women and kidnapping.
Interestingly, some Nigerians still cannot fathom how a less armed Sunday Igboho seems able to overcome killer herdsmen, who are armed with assault weapons.
But the arrival of Sunday Igboho to Yewaland was greeted with wild jubilation by indigenes and residents of the area when he took his crusade against criminal Fulani herdsmen to Yewa axis, where he vowed to flush out killer-herders in the troubled areas in the state.
Igboho, who had a brief stopover in Abeokuta, the state capital, said any Fulani herdsman who engages in kidnapping would be flushed out of the state.
He also disclosed that he was invited by the Ogun State government to intervene in the security situation of the state.
He said: “I observe there is injustice from the herdsmen because they know the power that they have is in the Federal Government. So, they behave as if Yoruba people are nobody. They kill our people, they kidnap our people, and they rape our women.
“I am on my way to Yewa North and South local government areas of Ogun State to meet relevant stakeholders and to warn the kidnappers parading themselves as herdsmen.”
“I am going to Yewa because that is where the Fulani are wreaking havoc.
“Let us thank the governor of the state. His love for the people of Ogun State allowed us to visit the state. If not for his love for the people of Ogun state, he would not have allowed us to come to the state.”
Igboho welcome to Ogun state—Govt official
Before the arrival of Sunday Igboho, the Special Adviser on Public Communications to Ogun Governor, Remmy Hazzan had said that Sunday Igboho, is welcome in the state.
Hazzan said: “Anybody who is hoping to help us with the security situation is welcome. Not only Sunday Igboho, whoever has what it takes to help us get security right is welcome in Ogun State”
He, however, stressed that Igboho “would be welcome for consultation” only and not for any form of violence or confrontation.
Ogun govt denies invitation claim
But the Ogun State government, last Monday, denied that it had enlisted the help of Mr. Igboho to combat crimes in the state.
The government, in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Abdulwaheed Odusile, stated that Hazzan’s virtual interview, with a reporter, was quoted out of context and twisted to achieve sensational effects.
The statement reads: “In the interview, Mr. Hazzan had said that the state government, in its usual inclusive approach to governance, would continue to work with all the stakeholders, both within and outside the state, to ensure the security of
lives and properties. Sadly, however, this statement was disingenuously twisted to mean that the State had invited Mr. Adeyemo to help curb insecurity. This is regrettable and totally misleading.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Ogun State government will continue to deploy all constitutionally sanctioned means to fight crimes and criminals in the state, including working with institutions that the constitution and other statutes have saddled with the responsibility of protection of lives and properties.
“At all times, the government will ensure that all security agencies and indeed all stakeholders operate within the ambit of the law and will neither welcome nor endorse any initiative that amounts to self-help or is outside the contemplation of the constitution, which is the grundnorm binding on all governments and persons in the country.”
The state government said it would continue to attract and welcome all those with legitimate reasons to live, work and even play in the state, saying that it is home to all Nigerians and foreigners alike.
It also added that the State will not be conducive for any group or individual that undermines the peace, security and social well being of the State as the government has directed the security agencies to be unrelenting in apprehending and bringing to justice any perpetrator of crimes and criminalities in the state.
Igboho storms Yewa North
The activist commended Governor Dapo Abiodun, who he said spoke up against the “gruesome killing of his people by killer herdsmen.”
Addressing residents of Oja-Odan in Yewa North local government area of Ogun State, Igboho said: “We are in Oja-Odan to chase away killer herdsmen terrorising you people, destroying your farmlands, raping your women, killing our people and kidnapping us.
“They have been killing, kidnapping and raping our people in Yoruba land; and the governor of Ogun State said he will no longer tolerate the killing of his people by killer herdsmen. He said he was elected to protect the people.
“I’m here to rescue my people from killer herdsmen. Enough is enough. This is Yoruba land. This is the Yoruba nation. By the grace of God, we are moving to Egua to chase all the Fulani away. We don’t want them in our land again.”
We’re in support of Igboho’s visit—Monarch, farmer
Confirming the visit of Sunday Igboho to Iselu in Yewa North local government area of the state, the Eselu of Iseluland, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi, said the visit of the right activist exposed the ineffectiveness of the Federal Government in fighting insecurity.
Oba Akinyemi said: “The coming of Sunday Igboho to Ogun State showed that the government has failed the people. This activist has taken over the functions of various security agencies in the country.
“The action of Sunday Igboho shows that there is no longer fundamental human rights in the country. There are no checks and balances in the country again. Rule of law has been killed.
“Sunday Igboho came into Oja-Odan with over 500 of his supporters, with whom he chased away the Fulani herdsmen in around the community.”
A farmer, Mr. Ogunyemi Oluyomi also expressed joy with the coming of the right activist.
His coming to our community will bring great relief because the herders had caused serious havoc to us.
Don’t set S-West on fire, NANS tells Igboho
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigeria, NANS, in Ogun State, has urged Igboho to review his strategy, urging him to explore dialogue and consultation with relevant stakeholders in the South-West to find lasting solutions to the activities of killer-herdsmen in the region.
The students’ body, who made the call while addressing newsmen in Abeokuta, said the call became imperative to avoid a major crisis in the country.
The Chairman of NANS/Ogun Joint Campus Committee, JCC, Kehinde Simeon called on the state government to consider the registration of all herdsmen within the borders of Ogun state, ban open grazing and fast track the inauguration of the Amotekun Corps to further combat insecurity around our campuses.
Igboho had on Monday stormed troubled areas in Yewaland, Ogun State, in continuation of his anti-killer herdsmen battle in Yorubaland.
Kehinde said: “We understand Igboho, but it is our view that he should meet with Yoruba leaders like Afenifere and other stakeholders. This has become important so as not to set the entire South-West region on fire and cause anarchy.
“We observe that Igboho’s strategy, if not reviewed, may lead to ethnic or tribal war. We, therefore, urge him to liaise with the appropriate authorities to avoid a major disaster.”