The Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, on Monday raised fresh concerns over the activities of herdsmen across Nigeria, saying their actions were deliberate and calculated towards achieving an expansionist agenda.
The assertions were contained in a communiqué issued at the close of the group’s monthly meeting held at the country home of the leader of the group, Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure, Ondo State.
The communiqué read by Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, stated that the “wanton killings” going on across the country are due largely to the activities of Fulani herdsmen.
The group reviewed the spate of killings and said the herdsmen were in possession of unlicensed sophisticated weapons in Nigeria today without fear of any consequence as they seem to have official backing, promotion and defence.
“The killings targeted at non-Fulani groups across the country are willful and deliberate in pursuit of expansionist and conquest agenda,” the communique said.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had during the second session of the Synod of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State, last week, said the issues of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen in the country, had gone beyond lack of education and employment for youth.
”It is now West African Fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change,” he said.
Mr Obasanjo had since received flaks from the federal government over the “Fulanisation” comments.
Afenifere is, however, accusing the federal government of complicity, saying its failure to ensure the arrest and prosecution of the herdsmen involved strengthened the perception.
“And most, unfortunately, the government in place has betrayed perceived complicity as we are not aware of any member of the group on trial for these monumental crimes even when Miyetti Allah has owned up to some of them,” said Afenifere.
“Instead, the regime has treated them with kid gloves, making excuses for their crimes with our Information Ministry and Presidential media office being made to look like Boko Haram and Miyetti Allah media centre as they issue statements to defend these groups even when they are not defending themselves with the presidency equating Miyetti Allah with Afenifere and Ohanaeze in order to confer legitimacy on them.
“And of late is the insensitive and impunity -inspired decision of the FG to open a Fulani Radio for the herdsmen in violation of the federal character spirit of our constitution
Those who have studied events in Liberia, Somalia, Rwanda and Sudan would not miss the fact that this was how events started until full-scale civil wars broke out.”
The group noted that the federal government should “immediately readdress its priorities regarding the issues and begin the process of running an inclusive country in order to avert impending destructive events.”
Afenifere urged the federal government to redefine law and order so that no citizen would take the life of another and not fear for consequences.
“We equally call on the international community not to stand aloof as Nigeria drives to the edge of the precipice,” the communique noted.
“There is a big burden for the global community if things get out of hand in Nigeria.
“The situation has become much more frightening with the claim by a recently kidnapped don at OAU, Ile-Ife, that he noticed that one of the policemen who stopped him at a checkpoint shortly before he was abducted made a call,” the communique further read.
“He said the policeman is of the same ethnic stock with the Fulani herdsmen who kidnapped him thereafter. We want the police authorities to properly investigate this as it sends a worrying signal.
“Meeting advised our people to activate their traditional and communal self-defence system in the face of these existential threats.”
Afenifere also used the medium to commend Mr Obasanjo for his statements on the alleged Fulanisation attempt.
“We commend his boldness in speaking the truth no matter how inconvenient it may be, which is the hallmark of a statesman,” the group said.
“We also acknowledge the forthrightness of the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, Gen David Jemibewon, Col David Bamigboye, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan Niger Delta Forum(PANDEF), Middle Belt Forum and all other patriots who have backed Obasanjo’s statement.
“Afenifere states unequivocally that its only those who don’t wish Nigeria well and agents of destruction that would dismiss all these patriots as raising a false flag.”