Courage without clarity is a disaster and instead of addressing the insecurity issue in South West with wisdom, we should be careful not to bring more disaster upon the region.
On Friday, 22nd January 2021, the home of Seriki Fulani in Ibarapa area of Oyo State was attacked by a group of indigenous people in the area, led by one Sunday Igboho.
The attack followed a purported 7 days ultimatum given to Fulani to vacate the environment due to the increased insecurity and kidnapping by alleged Fulani herdsmen.
It should be recalled that kidnapping by alleged Fulani herdsmen and bandits has increased in recent time across the country.
The situation in South Western Nigeria is taking a troubling and an alarming shape, just like those of North Western states of Kaduna and Zamfara State.
In this past week, quit notice was given to Fulani by the indigenous people of Ibarapa.
Similarly, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu reportedly gave Fulani quit notice from Ondo State forest reserve aswell.
It is my view that, the repeated quit notice or outright ejection, being given to citizens of Nigeria within Nigeria in response to conflict or crisis will amount to courage without clarity and mismanagement of crisis. Such unfortunate proclamations or unlawful ejection, instead of addressing the insecurity situation, may aggravate it, not just in the South West, but across the length and breadth of the country.
The Attack on Seriki Fulani in Ibarapa, no matter the good intention, will do more harm than good to the people and government across the country should do everything they can to discourage such unhealthy practices.
Insecurity in the country affects everybody.
People being kidnapped and killed in Katsina State are Fulani. People being kidnapped and killed in Zamfara are Fulani. People being kidnapped and killed in Kaduna are Hausa and also Fulani.
Who will victims in those northern states hold accountable other than the government?
Available facts shows that, contrary to popular narrative, even the Fulani herders are also victims of the insecurity and it would amount to double catastrophe to create an atmosphere of chaos under the guise of seeking an end to the security situation in South West.
Although, based on our investigation, the Ondo State government didn’t give quit notice to Fulani herders in Ondo State as reported, the governor actually gave them order to quit a reserved forest, which has been taken over by them for years.
Ordinarily, occupying such reserved forest in itself is against the law and so, it would not be right to say they were given quit notice in Ondo, because they could live in any other part of the state outside the reserved forest they are currently occupying unlawfully.
In Oyo on the other hand, the situation has degenerated into house and car burning, which has reportedly claimed two lives and if not controlled, its effect will be counter productive to the peace we all seek.
Our advise to the federal government would be to be up and doing in its responsibility of securing the nation.
The continuous failure of federal government in handling the security situation can no longer be tolerated.
Government needs to be up and doing in its responsibility of securing the nation, to ensure citizens don’t need to resort to self help.
Government also need to make national security focus peacebuilding centric to ensure appropriate information about the situation is known by all stakeholders and jointly, we can device a lasting solution.