- Alaafin warns of looming anarchy over siege to Yorubaland
- Tinubu: Let’s rally to end criminality
- Balarabe Musa, Falana urge president to consider confab reports
Iyobosa Uwugiaren, Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo admitted yesterday that there are “significant” security concerns all over the country but assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to ending insecurity.
According to him, they have begun consultations with critical stakeholders to arrive at how to stem the tide of insecurity pervading Nigeria.
The consultations, he said, were being done on the instruction of Buhari, and they have met with some traditional rulers eager to contribute to the improvement of the nation’s security architecture.
“There are significant security concerns all over the country and on the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari,
‘’The president and I believe that consultations with traditional rulers are important in beefing up security across Nigeria.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to improving security in Nigeria. Our nation will be peaceful and prosperous,’’ Osinbajo stated yesterday on his twitter handle, @ProfOsinbajo.
He tweeted on the security situation, which has become a source of worry for many Nigerians following the spike in the wave of killings, kidnappings and banditry, just as the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, wrote the president and warned him that Nigeria risked descending into anarchy if kidnappers and bandits continued to lay siege to Yorubaland.
Also, national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, urged Nigerians to forget about their political affiliations and support government’s efforts to fight the criminality ravaging the country.
A former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and a human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, also called on Buhari to rethink his internal security strategy by considering some of the suggestions from conferences and panels set up by government in the last few years to tackle the worsening insecurity in the country.
The vice president said in his tweets that in line with the ongoing consultations, he had met with the Akarigbo of Remo Land, Oba Babatunde Ajayi; and the Awujale of Ijebu Land, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, in company with Ogun State Governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun and other federal and state government officials.
Alaafin Warns of Looming Anarchy over Siege to Yorubaland
Also yesterday, Oba Adeyemi, in a letter to Buhari, warned him of looming anarchy in the country if the siege to Yorubaland by herdsmen and kidnappers are not contained.
The monarch who catalogued recent cases of insecurity in Yorubaland, accused the president of not bringing the culprits to book.
He said the Yoruba were capable of resorting to self-help unless the security in the zone improved and people were guaranteed safety of their lives and property.
Oba Adeyemi in the letter titled, “Yoruba Question in Nigeria Conundrum”, said: “In recent time however, I am worried about the security situation in the country, especially in the South-west geo-political zone, nay the entire Yoruba speaking area of the country including Kwara, Kogi and Edo States.
” This has to do with the incessant and increasing menace of Fulani herdsmen that have laid siege to almost all the highways of Yoruba land. Whether in Owo, Akure, Ilesa/Ife-Ibadan road or Ibarapa zone and Ijebu area of Ogun State, the story is the same.
“I have held series of consultations with opinion moulders and eminent Yoruba leaders across board about the menace of these cattle herdsmen with such assault like raping of our women and in some occasions, in the presence of their husbands. That is apart from massive destruction of our agricultural lands; which ultimately points to imminent starvation.
“On top of it all is the menace of professional kidnappers usually in military uniforms. What is more worrisome about the kidnapping notoriety is what looks like impunity which these kidnappers enjoy their nefarious activities.”
He said after due consultations with Yoruba leaders and as the pre-colonial head of the Yoruba nation, people were worried by the audacity of the criminals in attacking people without restraint.
“Worse still is the confidence with which they demand ransoms and collect such illegal levies at designated spots without any arm of security being able to lay siege on them as it was the practice in the recent past.
“Now, we cannot even talk of parading suspects, when in actual sense, no major arrests have been made in this part of the country. Without arrests, we cannot talk of their facing the law. Unfortunately, and painfully indeed, in the face of the apparent helplessness of our security agencies, where do we go from here?
“It is at the wake of this manifest frustration of our people that our people have found it unavoidable, even though reluctantly to resort to alternative measures to safeguard their lives and property. Suffice to say that is most part of Yoruba land, their pre-colonial military structures have not been totally collapsed. Hence, such structures like Odua People’s Congress, Agbekoya and other vigilante groups.
“Having stated the above, and having established my premise as a stakeholder in your administration in the firm belief that we all believe in the Nigeria project, kindly permit me, Mr. President, to make the following points and submissions as the Alaafin of Oyo, the king and head of all Yoruba at home and in the diaspora and the chief custodian of Yoruba culture and values.”
According to him, the people of the South-West geo-political zone and extending to some parts of Kogi, Kwara and Edo State live in palpable fear because of new wave of insecurity of life and property they now witness daily.
“This new uncomplimentary development is not unrelated to the new wave of criminal activities usually associated with banditry, armed robbery and lately, kidnapping and rape of genuinely innocent and law abiding citizens.
“I remember when these nefarious activities were first noticed in Oyo/Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, I took proactive steps to stem the tide and to amicably normalise relations between farmers and herders. Our initiative succeeded because we were dealing with genuine farmers and herders who had a commitment to Nigeria and who were interested in promoting their economic activities in a peaceful, prosperous and united Nigeria.
“However, it is becoming obvious that the nature and character of banditry and kidnapping today are different from what they used to be. Today, it is not merely infraction in the course of doing business, but blatant and criminal violation of the constitutional right to life and liberty of innocent citizens of Yoruba land. A few publicly known instances will suffice.
“Certain individuals were kidnapped along Erio-Aromoko road, Ekiti State. They were tortured and exposed to danger in the forest for upward of two weeks. These victims included the Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikole Branch, Adeola Adebayo, whose decomposing body was eventually found after a ransom price of N4 million had been paid,” he stated
He listed other victims of the marauders to include two officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC), both Yoruba, who were picked up along Ilesa-Akure highway; Musibau Adetumbi, a legal practitioner based in Ibadan; Prof. Adegbehingbe, a surgeon at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Dr. Muslim Omoleke; Mr. Ayo Oladele, and Dayo Adewole, son of former Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who was kidnapped on his farm at Iroko, a village along Ibadan-Oyo road.
“As ugly as the picture above seems to be, the people of Yorubaland have remained generally peaceful and have resisted concerted efforts to push them into civil disobedience or adopting self-help mechanisms to protect themselves in their homeland. They have demonstrated confidence in you and in your ability to stem the tide of these criminal activities. Yoruba have been restrained from believing the newfound Islamisation or Fulanisation theory.
“I am therefore writing to you, as a concerned stakeholder in your administration, to alert you and demonstrate to you, the urgency of the need to quickly respond to these and other issues concerning Yoruba land. There is a general impression among opposition group that you are not known to take decisive and proactive steps in many matters of national interest and that you are not usually too disturbed about the gale of insecurity in Yoruba land.
“May I also share with you the outcome or product of my wide consultations in Yorubaland to let you know, beyond what official security reports will make available to you, that there is a growing feeling of frustration, disappointment and despondency among our people, which if not immediately addressed, could lead to other serious national catastrophes and security challenges,” Oba Adeyemi added.
He accused the police of allegedly foot-dragging in arresting the criminals.
He said: “There seems to be no doubt that the security apparatus of the country is both overstretched and rustic. The philosophy of policing the state, protecting life and property and ensuring the existence of atmosphere that is conducive to life and living in Nigeria is lost on the security personnel.
“In Yorubaland, we are scared and worried about the outrageous audacity and effrontery of these criminal elements in carrying out their activities and without any challenge by security operatives.
“As no major arrest of Fulani pseudo herdsmen has been made till date in Yoruba land, suspects cannot be paraded, let alone arraigned. Even some threatened a sitting traditional ruler and asked him to comply with certain directives, go about as if they are indeed above the law and beyond arrest.
“It is unheard of that the State could be seemingly helpless in the face of these criminal assaults on its integrity and capacity to carry out the most sacred of its mandate; preserving life and property.
“Mr President, let me assure you that the Yoruba people traditionally have what it takes to defend themselves and interests against all enemy attacks.
“What is of immediate concern is the possibility of these traditional self-help mechanisms of defence to conflict with legal and constitutional framework of the security organisations.
“This is indeed my greatest fear, because the situation is fast degenerating into what could trigger complete breakdown of law and order under a constitutional state arrangement.
“It is trite saying that a stitch in time saves nine. For me, and relying on ancient wisdom, the dilemma of a possible breakdown of state authority and power could still be managed and the slide to anarchy arrested.
“Insecurity is posing a direct threat and imminent danger to living in Nigeria. It is capable of de-robing the country in the comity of nations and passing it off as uncivilized and barbaric.”
Tinubu: Let’s Rally to End Criminality
The nation’s security situation also engaged the attention of Tinubu at the weekend as he urged Nigerians, irrespective of their political persuasions, to come together and end insecurity in the country.
Tinubu, at the commendation service and night of tributes for the late Mrs. Olufunke Olakunri, daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, said in Lagos that Nigerians should not allow the insecurity to divide them.
Olakunri was killed by suspected kidnappers along the Benin-Ore expressway while heading to Lagos from Akure, Ondo State capital.
Tinubu extolled the virtues of the deceased, saying she extended her goodwill to all when she lived.
“All who encountered Funke attests to her goodness, nobleness, decency. She meant no harm to no one, extended goodwill and empathy to all.
“In the spirit of Funke, let those who love peace, regardless of religion, tribe or political affiliation, come together so that we do all we can to put an end to such criminality in our society,” a report in THECABLE, an online newspaper, quoted him as saying.
Earlier, the national leader had urged Nigerians not to allow the death of the deceased to divide the nation.
He also said those blaming herdsmen for her death did not have evidence.
Balarabe Musa, Falana Urge President to Consider Confab Reports
However, in a statement yesterday and jointly signed by both Musa and Falana, they expressed concern that Nigeria is increasingly being defined by insecurity, while killings have become almost a daily affair in Nigeria.
They also decried terror attacks, banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery being perpetrated by criminals with reckless abandon.
“Amid the cacophony of ethnic and regional voices, it is imperative that pan-Nigerian voices should be heard louder than ever before to save Nigeria from disintegration.
“In practical terms, no part of Nigeria is immune to violent crimes, although the incidence might be relatively higher in one part than the other at this time. Tragic news of lives wasted issues from the north and south, east and west,” they added.
They said Nigeria must not be turned into a killing field, stressing that the way to take the wind out of the sails of merchants of hate was for the government to confront the worsening insecurity in Nigeria squarely and honestly.
“We are convinced that the urgency of the situation should compel the Buhari administration to rethink its internal security strategy by considering some of the patriotic suggestions from conferences and panels set up by government in the last few years.
“In our view, another conference, by whatever name, may not be coming up with anything new given that the Nigerian condition is akin to an emergency,” they said.