Many innocent people have been attacked, kidnapped or killed on highways in southwestern Nigeria in the last two months or three. The media is inundated with gory tales told by victims and eyewitnesses. Some have uploaded videotapes on social media. And all of them have been united in identifying the marauders as Fulani herdsmen, masked or not, who emerged from forests and shot sporadically with AK 47 rifles. Last Friday, they killed a high-profile woman, the daughter of Afenifere leader Reuben Fasoranti.
It is hoped that the murder of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, 58, on the Benin-Ore highway while she was returning to Lagos after visiting her father in Akure would help to jolt the Nigerian security authorities not just in the southwest axis but across the nation’s highways. We sympathise with Pa Fasoranti who, at age 94, will be burying his beloved daughter.
As Akure, home of the Fasorantis, has turned a beehive following the horde of the high and mighty visiting to condole with the Yoruba leader, we have listened to all manner of comments on the identity of Mrs Olakunrin’s killers. One nauseating comment has come from APC politician Bola Tinubu who, in an attempt to exonerate the Fulani criminals and echo Aso Rock because of his 2023 ambition, pointedly asked news reporters, “Is Evans a herdsman?”
Why, we ask, did Tinubu cleverly avoid mentioning the name of any Yoruba criminal as an example of a non-Fulani kidnapper? Yet, every day, there are reports of kidnappers, ritual killers and drug barons bearing Yoruba names. Certainly, he didn’t want to offend the Fulani whose votes he intends to seek, but what investigations did he conduct before arriving at his conclusion? Tinubu was indirectly pointing to Igbo criminals as those who operated from forests in Yoruba land. He stated: “I am extremely concerned about security but I don’t want stigma . I can go through the history of kidnapping and we know how it started, where it all started; there are a lot of copycats; how many years ago have we faced insecurity in this country and cases of kidnapping?”
Some loonies on social media seem to have agreed with Tinubu that criminals from other tribes disguised as Fulani herdsmen. One of them using the Facebook name “Adebayo Grandson” has been pouring invectives on the Igbo, the same way he and others did during the February 2019 polls. Egged on by the contents of bullion vans stationed in Lagos, these hoodlums destroyed ballots cast in areas dominated by Ndigbo in Lagos.
Contrary to the uninformed opinions of politicians like Tinubu, all evidence points to Fulani herdsmen as the killers of Mrs Olakunrin. Her brother Kehinde Fasoranti reported that policemen told him that suspected herdsmen carried out the attack. “We need to get the story straight. The way they operated, according to what the police said, is the way herdsmen operate,” he said. “Six people were in front shooting at them. The driver put the car in reverse but, unknown to him, some men were in the bush and started shooting from the side and at the back. The story that these are just bandits is a lie. If you want records, request the report I made at the Ore police station. They categorically said the attackers were herdsmen.”
Did Tinubu read that? Did he counter another victim Olu Falae’s account two years ago? Has he interviewed other victims who were kidnapped on highways in Yoruba land? Is Tinubu saying that all the Yoruba leaders now blaming the attack on Fulani herdsmen are liars and mischief makers?
Until recently, nobody in the south had issues with ordinary herdsmen who carried sticks while tending their cattle. Those ones are Nigerians and cannot even handle an AK 47. It is suspected that the “herdsmen” who now rob, kidnap or simply assassinate people are not Nigerians but Fulani invaders from Mali, Libya, Niger, Chad and other African countries. And their target is often to wipe out indigenes and take over their lands. They have been doing this successfully in parts of the northeast, northwest and north-central Nigeria. Containing them now has become difficult because they have entered through Nigeria’s porous borders and are protected by their kith and kin in the country.
The security situation in Nigeria has become an emergency. Everybody and every institution should work harder to eliminate criminals before they plunge the country into another civil war. It is even more tragic that some federal government officials apply
With: The Oracle Today