Insecurity in South-West: OPC issues warning, backs Akeredolu, Igboho

Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) on Sunday threw its support for the Ondo State governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), pledging to assist him in enforcing the deadline issued to herdsmen to vacate forest reserves in the state, just as it cautioned the presidency and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) against playing politics and ethnicity with the worrisome state of security in the South-West.

Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, Deputy President to the late OPC founder, Dr Frederick Fasehun, made this in a statement following an emergency meeting of leaders of the group at the Century Hotel, Okota, Lagos.

This was just as Afolabi popularly called Askari affirmed that no southerner would dare go to the North and carry out killing, kidnapping and banditry that Fulani criminals had unleashed on Southern communities and highways.

The group leader, who frowned at the threat of reprisal by ACF, said it would have been better for the northern apex body to tell “its prodigal sons to halt their criminality,” warning that ACF should know that nobody had a monopoly of violence.

Afolabi, however, assured that millions of law-abiding Fulani men and women living in the South-West had absolutely no cause for alarm, but said that those criminals hiding under the cloak of being herdsmen to perpetrate evil against the law-abiding citizens should know their time was up, adding: “Henceforth, it will be fire for fire.”

“ACF is threatening reprisals instead of telling its prodigal sons to halt their criminality. ACF should know that nobody has a monopoly over violence.

“Although the millions of law-abiding Fulani men and women living in our midst have absolutely no cause for alarm, those Fulani criminals hiding under the cloak of being herdsmen to perpetrate evil against law-abiding citizens should know their time is up. Henceforth, it will be fire for fire,” he warned.

Afolabi, while throwing support for the Ondo governor, Akeredolu, for ordering the herdsmen to leave the state forests for open areas by Monday, said OPC was fully prepared to help enforce the quit notice at the expiration of the deadline, warning that anybody found in the jungle would be regarded as a kidnapper and bandits and would be appropriately dealt with.

“We are fully prepared to help enforce Governor Akeredolu’s quit notice in Ondo State at the expiration of the deadline. Anybody found in the jungle will be regarded as a kidnapper and bandit and will be appropriately dealt with,” he warned.

“We Yoruba shall rise up to defend our land from foreign marauders who daily rape our women, kill our farmers and kidnap Nigerian citizens. Enough is enough,” he added.

Speaking further, OPC described the manhunt launched by the police for the Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Igboho, as misguided and provocative.

The group while saying that the government must guarantee the life of Igboho rather than declare him an outlaw argued that what the security agencies should do instead was to turn their attention against criminal elements engaging in kidnappings and killings in the southern part of the country.

“The government must guarantee the life of Sunday Igboho. Rather than declare Sunday Adeyemo an outlaw, the Federal Government’s security agencies should turn their attention against criminal elements engaging in kidnappings and killings in the south,” the group said.

Urging all Yoruba to speak with one voice against the rising insecurity in their land, OPC said the race currently faced an existential threat to its survival as foreign criminals had turned highways, forests and farms into danger zones while the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government turned a blind eye.

“We cannot fold our arms and wait to be wiped out of our Fatherland by foreign elements. The Yoruba are peace-loving people with a great reputation for extending hospitality to visitors in order to produce mutually-beneficial advantages.

“But what we see today are invaders, murderers and parasites committed to snuffing the life out of their hosts. We can no longer tolerate them and we must reclaim not only our land but our peace from these children of Satan,” OPC said.

On the country’s security architecture, OPC said this had always raised suspicion, pointing out that the government’s apathy to the rising menace in the South showed that authorities felt nothing about the daily murder and plundering of the citizens.

“Time has come for all Nigerians, especially the National Assembly, to compel the president to alter the security architecture to conform to the Federal Character Principle of the Nigerian Constitution he swore to uphold. What obtains now is lopsided in favour of a section of the country and this is dangerous,” OPC said.

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