A leader of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, says a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, is afraid to speak on the Fulani herdsmen crisis in parts of the South-West region because he does not want to offend the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Adebanjo spoke on Wednesday on a PUNCH Online interview programme, The Roundtable.
The Afenifere chieftain said Tinubu believes that Buhari will help him become the next president of the country.
He said, “Everybody knows who Tinubu is. Don’t bring me to that controversy. Tinubu does not represent us. All that is happening in Oyo now, what has he said? When they (gunmen) killed the Oba in Ekiti, what did he say?
“He didn’t say anything that will oppose Buhari because he is thinking Buhari will make him the president. So, he doesn’t want to say anything to offend him. Amongst all the governors he (Tinubu) sponsored, (Rotimi) Akeredolu has the courage to speak up.”
Of late, Fulani herdsmen have been accused of perpetrating crimes ranging from kidnappings, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands with their cattle in the South-West region especially in Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti and Ogun States.
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, recently issued a vacation order for herdsmen to leave the state’s forest reserves as part of measures to curb the spate of kidnapping and sundry crimes in the state.
A popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, had also asked herdsmen in Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo State to leave within seven days.
At the expiration of the ultimatum last week, he and his followers had stormed the Fulani settlement in Igangan to eject Seriki Fulani, Salihu Abdukadir, and herdsmen accused of perpetrating sundry crimes.
Commenting on Igboho’s activism on Wednesday, Adebanjo said the activist acted within constitutional provisions of self-help.
“What he did is constitutional –self-help. Igboho arose as a result of the negligence of the constituted authorities to protect the people. If the Federal Government had arrested the Fulani herdsmen, Igboho won’t rise up,” he said.
The nonagenarian further said that instead of Buhari to protect all Nigerians, he has taken to defending the Fulani herdsmen despite the many evidence that they are culpable of the heinous crimes perpetrated in the South-West zone.
He said, “I don’t buy the propaganda of the defence of the Federal Government that how do you know they are Fulani? That is escapist statement.
“For the past five years, we have been talking about the same thing. And when they are caught, they will say, they are not local Fulani. And you can’t explain how these foreign Fulani came to attack your people. You see the absolute negligence, dereliction of duty and incompetence in protecting lives and property as commander-in-chief?
“These Fulanis have been with us for a very long time. We are used to them – the Fulani herdsmen that used to carry sticks not AK-47. The question to ask now is that why is it now that Buhari is there that there are crimes. Buhari sees these people carry unlicensed arms openly and there are no arrests.
“If you are a competent defender of the Nigerian people, the Fulani herdsmen won’t be committing all forms of atrocities unabated.”