AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI BY THE ALAAFIN OF OYO, OBA LAMIDI OLAYIWOLA ADEYEMI III
*Yoruba Question in Nigeria Conundrum*
I have never been timid or shy of my total support for the success of your administration to deliver the country to the Promised Land.
My confidence had always been based on Your Excellency’s ability, fitness and competence in leading the country to the Promised Land, where Law and Order prevail, individual liberty is guaranteed, economic well-being of the citizens is assured.
That my confidence in Your Excellency remains unshaken to date. In recent time however, I am worried about the security situation in the country, especially in the South West geo-political zone, nay the entire Yoruba-speaking area of the country including Kwara, Kogi and Edo states.
This has to do with the incessant and increasing menace of Fulani herdsmen that have laid siege in almost all the highways of Yoruba land. Whether in Owo, Akure, Ilesa/Ife-Ibadan road or Ibarapa zone and Ijebu area of Ogun state, the story is the same.
I have held series of consultations with opinion moulders and eminent Yoruba leaders across board about the menace of these cattle herdsmen with such assault like raping of our women and in some occasions, in the presence of their husbands. That is apart from massive destruction of our agricultural lands; which ultimately points to imminent starvation.
On top of it all is the menace of professional kidnappers usually in military uniforms. What is more worrisome about the kidnapping notoriety is what looks like impunity which these kidnappers enjoy their nefarious activities.
After due consultations with Yoruba leaders and as the pre-colonial head of the Yoruba nation, we are worried by the audacity of these lawless people in effecting their illegal acts in broad daylight on our usually bushy highways without any arm of security being able to do anything.
Worse still is the confidence with which they demand ransoms and collect such illegal levies atthem designated spots without any arm of security being able to lay siege on them as it was the practice in the recent past.
Now, we cannot even talk of parading suspects, when in actual sense, no major arrests have been made in this part of the country. Without arrests, we cannot talk of their facing of the law.
Unfortunately, and painfully indeed, in the face of the apparent helplessness of our security agencies, where do we go from here?
It is at the wake of this manifest frustration of our people that our people have found it unavoidable, even though reluctantly to resort to alternative measures to safeguard their lives and property.
Suffice to say that is most part of Yoruba land, their pre-colonial military structures have not been totally collapsed. Hence, such structures like Odua People’s Congress, Agbekoya and other vigilance groups.
Having stated the above, and having established my premise as a stakeholder in your administration in the firm belief that we all believe in the Nigeria project, kindly permit me, Mr President, to make the following points and submissions as the Alaafin of Oyo, the King and Head of all Yoruba at home and in the diaspora and the Chief Custodian of Yoruba culture and values.
The people of Yorubaland in the traditional six State of the South-West geo-political zone and extending to some parts of Kogi, Kwara and Edo State live in palpable fear because of new wave of insecurity of life and property they now witness on a daily basis and which is alien to them. This new uncomplimentary development is not unrelated to the new wave of criminal activities usually associated with banditry, armed robbery and lately, kidnapping and rape of genuinely innocent and law abiding citizens.
I remember when these nefarious activities were first noticed in Oyo/Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, I took proactive steps to stem the tide and to amicably normalize relations between farmers and herders. Our initiative succeeded because we were dealing with genuine farmers and herders who had a commitment to Nigeria and who were interested in promoting their economic activities in a peaceful, prosperous and united Nigeria.
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