South West Governors, Afenifere Blast Sharia Council Over Ranching
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THE Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria, yesterday, called on the South-West governors to provide ranches for herdsmen before banning open grazing, to avoid further crisis, warning that outright banning of open grazing, without an alternative for herdsmen, was an invitation to greater disaster.

But the remarks by the Sharia Council, however, generated angry reactions from the Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, and the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, who described the request as too pedestrian and insulting.

This came on a day the Sarkin Fulani of Igangan in Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo State, Alhaji Salihu Abdul Kadir, lashed out on Oyo State police command for failing to arrest Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, for destroying his properties last Friday.

Also disturbed by the security challenges in the state, Ogun State House of Assembly, has passed a resolution calling on the state government to step up plans towards take-off of Amotekun in order to strengthen the security network in the state.

On his part, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has said that Mr. Igboho does not have the right to issue an eviction notice to herders in Oyo State.

Addressing a press conference at Osun state Correspondents’ chapel in Osogbo, Vice President of the group, Sheikh Abdur’rasheed Hadiyatullahi, said criminality would continue to thrive once a particular tribe was profiled for such crime, rather than using the instrumentality of the law to combat such crime.

He said: “We believe the outcome of the Miyetti Allah group and South-West governors ‘ meeting banning open grazing is part of the solution but it is not the solution yet, we believed banning open grazing without an alternative will be a greater disaster. The herdsmen can begin to wander aimlessly, so we advise that governors across the nation should establish ranches for them and set rules and regulations that must not be breached .

Looking critically at this crisis, contrary to the tribal and religious interpretation or label given to it, from our investigation, we discover ed it is pure criminality that causes the perennial wrangling between the two tribes.

“To a find way out of the herdsmen versus host community crisis, we call for dialogue and wider consultation. The Igangan incident must be condemned by all lovers of peace. But at the same time, we cannot close our eyes to the pain and suffering of farmers and indigenes of the area, who criminals see as soft targets for kidnapping, armed robbery, etc. It is, however, crystal clear that it is not a religious matter, though some have been misled into labeling it as Hausa-Fulani affair. Our focus must be the criminals, not any tribe, as rightly stated by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.

While we do not endorse violence, we opine that people whose farms have been destroyed have the right to express indignation. In the same manner, those whose relations or friends have fallen victims to criminal activities like kidnapping and armed robbery, are justified to speak up. The only difference here is that no single tribe should be held responsible for all the crimes.

“This is because criminals abound in all faiths and tribes everywhere in the world, not only in Nigeria. We should, therefore, address crime and criminals. We should target kidnappers and armed robbers, not any particular ethnic group. Those who make the mistake of profiling people of certain tribes will end up hurting decent elements within that tribe and this is against the law of natural justice.

Truth is bitter, but the earlier we say it, the better. Herdsmen have no right to destroy crops. This is where people have genuine grievances against herdsmen.

“To douse tension immediately, we want the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, devise a mechanism whereby town hall meetings between herdsmen and the host community will hold and differences sorted out. We also suggest that cattle ranch should be created. This, in our humble opinion, will go a long way in resolving the crisis. Because if the ranch is created, this will prevent the herdsmen from roaming around the city and invading people’s farm and destroying their crops.”

Reacting to the call for provision of ranches, South West governors, through Ondo State government, said they would not respond to the remarks, saying the issues raised were “too pedestrian.”

Information and Orientation Commissioner, Mr. Donald Ojogo, said: “In view of the steps taken so far in the direction of mutual cooperation, peaceful coexistence, cordiality and all that is required to eschew violence, it will be too pedestrian on the part of Ondo State Government or South West governors to react to everything.”

But in a swift reaction, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, described the request as insulting.

Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “This is insulting from these internal colonizers who are behaving as if they have conquered the rest of us. Are they giving the cows to us free and not selling them? Why should it be the business of South-West governors to give ranches to private business?”

Meanwhile, Sarkin Fulani of Igangan, Alhaji Saliu AbdulKadir, a native of Ilorin , in Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State, yesterday accused the Police of deceiving him.

Abdul Kadir, who addressed a press conference in Ilorin, urged the Federal Government to intervene in the destruction of his properties, including 11 exotic cars, 207 cows, buildings and other properties, totaling N500million, destroyed by Mr. Sunday Adeyemo.

His words: “A few days to the time of the destruction, after Sunday Igboho had given me an ultimatum, the police came to my place and told me that I shouldn’t worry because Sunday Igboho will not carry out his threat or do anything to me. It is on this strength that I relaxed because I believe d the police.

“If I knew that Sunday Igboho would come and attack us the way he did, I would have left with all my family members and properties in peace and they would have met empty houses to destroy.

My family and I have been living in Igangan for over 50 years without any challenges from anybody, either in Igangan or any other places.”

The Fulani leader, however, urged the Federal Government to probe the burning of his house, vehicles and killing of seven of his men in Igangan by alleged agents of Sunday Igboho.

Abdul Kadir said: “There was no case of farm destruction reported to me that I did not send people to go and investigate. If it is discovered that it’s true, I ordered the Fulani to pay money to the farmers; like the Agoro family in Igangan and many more. I have a record where I keep issues affecting the farmers.

On the issue of killing of one Dr. Aborode, I don’t know anything about it. Where Dr. Aborode was killed is very far from my village. It’s about two hours drive to my village.

“Finally, I want the Federal Government to investigate this matter and anyone found guilty should face the law. My houses, vehicles , my children and some visitors were burnt and seven of my people were killed. The corpses of two are yet to be found and some of my animals were carted away.


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