As tension continues to rise over fears of a possible large scale clash between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the Ibarapa zone of Oyo State, Southwest Nigeria, Seyi Makinde, Governor of the state has vowed to sanction those stoking ethnic violence.
He also said that those responsible for insecurity in the state were hoodlums and not the Fulani community.
Makinde, in a statewide broadcast on Wednesday, said the fragile peace between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in some parts of the state was on the verge of collapse after unauthorised individuals threatened to eject some residents from their home.
“I am calling on any individuals or groups planning to take any actions that would lead to the forcible removal of anyone from Oyo State to desist from taking such actions,” the governor warned.
“Any persons who fail to abide by this directive will face the full wrath of the law.”
The governor explained that while it was true there have been instances of security breach that raises concern, members of the Fulani or Hausa community in the state were not the enemies.
“We have a common enemy. That enemy is not the Hausa Fulani who is looking for pasture for his flock. It is not the farmer who just wants to grow food to sell in the market or to feed his family. Our enemies are the hoodlums, cultists, armed robbers, kidnappers and bandits,” he stressed.
He noted that while security personnel have been constitutionally empowered to arrest and prosecute criminal elements, residents were expected to help them by reporting any criminal activity around them.
Makinde also warned traditional rulers in the state against being part of any plan to disrupt the peaceful coexistence of residents noting that all Local Government and Local Council Development Area Chairpersons have been directed to work with them to prevent any breakdown of law and order.
“With our collective efforts, we can continue to keep the peace in Oyo State. Together, we can preserve the secure environment that has contributed to the growth of our economy,” he added.
The warning from Makinde to sanction those threatening ethnic violence in the state is coming four days after a controversial personality and resident of the state, Sunday Igboho, issued a seven-day quit notice to members of the Fulani community in the state.
Igboho and his men, who stormed the Fulani community at Igangan town last week Saturday in four Hilux vans, attacked and injured at least four people.
He alleged that the Fulanis in the town were responsible for the recent rise in cases of insecurity in the Ibarapa zone of the state.
“Alhaji, I am here to tell you that we are not pleased with the way your people are killing our people. I cannot continue to fold my arms when your people are killing my people. We hereby give you seven days to leave this place,” Igboho had told Saliu Abdulkadir, the Sarkin Fulani in the state, during the visit.
“What you have done in Yoruba land is enough, go back to your North. If you claim stubbornness and stay, you will have yourself to blame,” he added.
HumAngle gathered that the quit notice issued by Sunday Igboho has heightened fears among residents of the state over the last four days as they await what will transpire when the ultimatum lapses.
The governor’s stance is in contrast with that of Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, who has equally issued an ultimatum to herdsmen grazing in the state to vacate all the forests alleging that they were behind cases of kidnapping in the state.
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