AREWA body the Northern Youths Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has warned northerners not to travel to the south of the country at the moment as the ongoing clashes between farmers and Fulani cattle herdsmen puts them at risk.
Over the last few weeks, tension has been high across the southwest geo-political zone after herdsmen killed diasporan farmer Dr Fatai Aborode in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State. His death lead to Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho issuing a seven day quit notice to the herdsmen to leave the area, after which they were forcefully evicted.
Following the success of the Ibarapa eviction, numerous communities across the southwest have solicited the help of Mr Adeyemo in removing the herdsmen within their midst. Fulani herdsmen are renown for carrying out very violent crimes across Nigeria, including kidnapping, armed robbery, rape and banditry.
Over the weekend, things escalated after northerners were attacked at Sasha market in Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State. This attack on Fulani’s working in the market led to a loss of lives and the destruction of property.
NYCN spokesman, Mock Kure, said: “The attention of the Northern Youths Council of Nigeria has been drawn to the ongoing carnage against northerners, particularly in Sasha Market of Akinyele Local Government, Oyo State, southwest Nigeria, wherein so many lives were either killed or injured, business premises and vehicles were burnt by Yoruba hoodlums. We wish to condemn such an attack in the strongest terms possible and call on security agents to arrest the perpetrators so as to serve as deterrent to would be hoodlums.”
He added that the hidden agenda to expel northerners in that segment of the country started with the call on all herdsmen by the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, to leave all state controlled forests reserves. According to NYCN, this led to the sudden emergence of one Sunday Igboho, a well known motor park tout as the enforcer-in-chief of the hidden but now open agenda in far away Oyo State.
Mr Kure added: “The eviction orders violate the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which guarantees freedom of movement to all citizens and rights to own movable and unmovable properties in any part of the country. We believe strongly that the inability of the government at all levels to tame the lawless wings of Sunday Igboho and his co-travellers has led to the emergence of his variants, hence, the renewed attacks on settled business people and many others that can’t speak Yoruba at Sasha Market.”
He noted that in his effort to defend the laws of the country, the inspector-general of police gave instruction to his subordinates in the region to arrest and bring the said Sunday to Abuja. However, Mr Kure noted that saying that the arm of the law has proven to be weak and helpless as the said wanted person has been going about dishing out fresh quit notices to law-abiding citizens and enforcing same in many states of the region.
Mr Kure called on the federal government to declare Sunday Igboho’s group a terrorist organisation as he is not different from Boko Haram. In addition, he also called on the Northern Governor’s Forum to begin to evacuate their brothers that are trapped in the southwest and other troubled spots in southern Nigeria, since the governments in those regions have proven to be helpless or are tacitly complicit in the ceaseless attacks.
NYCN observed that the northern youths continue to maintain maximum restraints despite the unjustifiable and unprovoked attacks on their people pending when government would exhaust all its cards. It enjoined the National Emergency Management Agency to mobilise resources to the market to ameliorate the sufferings of those who lost their means of livelihood to the carnage.
In addition, the NYCN urged the federal government to adequately compensate those who lost loved ones and property to the crisis. It urged Nigerians with conscience to condemn such attacks and other planned attacks, saying that together, good shall triumph over evil.