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Insecurity: Yoruba elders in diaspora take case to UN

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[FILE] Hausa-Fulani boy stands while his cattle is grazing near some farms. (Photo by Luis TATO / AFP)


• Warn Fulani Domination May Trigger Genocide
• Southwest Senators, Leaders To Meet Over Region’s Challenges
• Meeting To Address Cracks, Forge Common Front For Yoruba

Yoruba elders in the Diaspora, under the aegis of the Yoruba Council of Elders in Europe and America, have petitioned the United Nations (UN) against the prevailing security situation in Nigeria, calling on the international body to prevent every attempt to foist Fulani dominance in the country, a situation they say may lead to crisis.

In the letter to the UN Secretary General, Mr. António Guterres by the Coordinating Secretary of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Elder Michael Olawale Shadare, the group alerted the world to the dangerous build-up to a possible genocide, owing to such grim occurrences as mindless killings and attempts by suspected Fulani herdsmen to acquire land forcefully with the support of the government in the southern part of the country.

The YCEEA, which said available intelligence pointed at a genocide about to happen on a scale never known before, and to be executed by armed people positioned strategically around the country with logistics back up, urged the UN Secretariat to make urgent and decisive intervention.

In a related development, disturbed by the rising spate of insecurity across the Southwest and simmering disagreements over perceived ideological differences among its leaders, Southwest Senators, under the auspices of Southwest Senators Caucus of the 9th Assembly, are making arrangement to convoke an all-Yoruba leaders and stakeholders meeting to discuss the various challenges besetting the region.

A National Assembly source told The Guardian that the meeting would address critical security issues, such as the ongoing tension between the Southwest and the North over armed alleged Fulani herdsmen activities, economic and political issues affecting Yorubaland, and the controversial demand for restructuring.

It is hoped that after the high-powered gathering, a bill would be raised and presented before the National Assembly for deliberation.IN the letter to the UN by the YCEEA, and copied to all Southwest Governors, traditional rulers and the Aare Ona Kakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, the Yoruba in Diaspora said if the UN Secretariat, the United Nations Assembly and United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect do not act now, the resultant crisis in Nigeria would destabilise the entire West African region on a scale never known before.

Highlighting some of the problems in the country, Shadare said: “Several cases of major assaults and onslaughts against Yoruba have been reported to the knowledge of Yoruba Council of Elders Europe and America, in which victims narrated their experiences and that of their families in the hands of Fulani herdsmen. A popular example is the case of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation in Nigeria, Chief Olu Falae, who suffered financial loss on his invaded farm, was kidnapped with ransome demanded, and his worker killed following repeated and incessant invasion of his farm by Fulani herdsmen.”

Painting the grim situation on hand, Shadare made reference to the call by a former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), in March 2018, on communities attacked by herdsmen in the country to rise up and defend themselves. Danjuma had said that it would be suicidal for people to continue to rely on the armed forces to defend them, asserting that government security forces were colluding with armed bandits to kill people, while also facilitating their movement.

Shadare alluded to yet another comment by a former Head of State, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in which he itemised an ongoing agenda of Fulanisation and Islamisation of Nigeria. Warning against the escalation of the crisis, Shadare noted that the actions of the Federal Government continue to fuel a situation where those attacking innocent citizens enjoy advantage of resources and logistics (land, money, radio frequency/communication equipment) from government.

According to him, the Fulani herdsmen “benefit from the inaction of authorities. No single person has been prosecuted despite the scale of the killings in the North-Central. Yet, they benefit from wrong rules designed by authorities, which makes innocent citizens additionally weak and vulnerable.” Shadare also frowned on the declaration of withdrawal of licenced firearms by Executive order of President Buhari, saying that most Nigerians saw it as the final call in the Fulani’s attempt to suppress and put into extinction millions of Yoruba and other Nigerians.

“Nigerians are facing imminent danger, which resulted from the actions and inactions of the government that has continued to create an atmosphere that equip and embolden bandits, while threatening, weakening and disarming innocent citizens,” he said in the statement. On the other hand, The Guardian gathered that aside from security issues, the planned meeting of Southwest Senators and leaders would also be used to kick-start the process of bringing all warring factions of Yoruba leaders together.

Specifically, the Senators envisage that a lasting solution would be found to the lingering face-off between the factions of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, which are led by Pa Reuben Fasoranti on one hand, Pa Ayo Fasanmi on another hand and the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) led by Mr. Wale Oshun.

The meeting would also be attended by such groups as the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF), Yoruba Ronu, Council of Traditional Rulers, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), and other notable Yoruba personalities across political party divides. 

The source said: “Senators from the Southwest, irrespective of their political parties, seem to be uncomfortable with the sharp division among leaders of the region, especially the Pa Fasoranti’s faction, which feels excluded from the affairs of the region by the Fasanmi group, being allegedly financed and sponsored by the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu and few stakeholders currently in control of the political structure. 

“The meeting would enable all sides to table their positions on diverse issues. It is most likely that after the planned meeting, the Senators will lead a select team of leaders from all the groups to meet President Muhammadu Buhari to present a common front and set of demands for the Yoruba nation.”

While findings by The Guardian revealed that the Fasoranti faction of Afenifere would meet today in Lagos for deliberations, especially as to the workability of the planned meeting, deputy senate leader, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, who represents Ondo North senatorial district, said the noble idea would be thoroughly deliberated upon by his Southwest colleagues.

The spokesman of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin and Mr. Kayode Aderemi, the media aide to Aare Onakankanfo of Yoruba Land, Otunba Gani Adams, however, respectively said they were disposed to the meeting’s agenda if it was in the interest of the Yoruba nation. Aderemi said that whatever the Senators propose in form of dialogue that would bring solutions to the challenges confronting the region was welcome. 
 
The National Secretary of YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide declared the initiative as a wise one that would go a long way in addressing some critical problems confronting not only the Southwest but the entire nation.  
 

 


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