Say region currently under herdsmen’s siege
Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Ahead of the South West Security Summit scheduled to hold on Tuesday in Ibadan, the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) yesterday tasked six governors in the region to address the recurring cases of kidnapping, forceful occupation of farmland by Fulani herdsmen and armed invasion that posed threat to lives and properties.
YCE, otherwise known as Igbimo Agba, lamented that the South-west had been under siege, which according to him, required the collective effort of the governors work together irrespective of their political affiliation “to guarantee the security of the people in the region.”
The Secretary General of the council, Dr. Kunle Olajide expressed the council’s concern in an interview with THISDAY yesterday, asking the South-west governors “to prioritise the security of the region and its people.”
The forum through the DAWN Commission is organizing the security summit under a theme, Focus on Western Nigeria, with Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu as Convener and his Oyo counterpart, Mr. Seyi Makinde as host.
At the session with THISDAY, Olajide lamented that the security situation in the region “is becoming alarming and prevalent on a daily basis. We are waiting expectantly for the governors to tell us of what they intend to do to assure them that lives and properties are protected.”
He, therefore, said the security summit “is a welcome development. The security situation in the South-west region has become a source of grave concern to every stakeholder. Kidnapping has become a daily occurrence with the recent abduction of the son of former Minister of Health with ransom paid.
“We are thus expecting all governors to use the forum to tell the people on their plans to rid the zone of the invaders. Also, as a major stakeholder in the region, we expect the governors, as the Chief Security Officers, to assure the people that they are up to the task of protecting their lives and properties,” he said.
He lamented that the security situation had put the region under serious economic crisis with the people afraid of moving freely to engage in their daily business, saying the summit should be an avenue for the victims of armed invaders of kidnappers to share their experiences so that others could learn from them.
He added that the summit should be an opportunity for all people and stakeholders across the region “to learn from those who one way or the others have been victims of the security challenge as they share their experience.”
Olajide, who said he would attend the summit as a stakeholder, however lamented that it was sad that the YCE was not formally invited for the summit.
In the recent time, the security situation in the South-west had become a source of grave concern with the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, among others, disclosing the plan to send criminally minded Fulani herdsmen out of the region.
Only last week, Ogunwusi vowed that the traditional rulers across the region with the support of all stakeholders “are ready to send back all criminally minded Fulani herdsmen that are terrorising the people of South-west.”
Likewise, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland and leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Chief Gani Adams accused President Muhammadu Buhari of not doing enough to curtail the activities of the marauding Fulani herdsmen in the region.
Adams warned that the people and leaders of South-west would not continue “to watch while the killer Fulani herdsmen are invading farmlands across the region; killing farmers and forcefully taking over their farmlands; kidnapping people in different parts of the regions and raping women on their farmlands.