Jimi Agbaje, a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday said youths who gave an ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen to vacate Yorubaland must have acted out frustration after the government repeatedly failed to listen to their cries and save them from incessant attacks from bandits while the perpetrators were also not prosecuted.
Violence had erupted in Igangan, Ibarapa, on Friday when a popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, alongside his followers, stormed the Fulani settlement in the ancient town to eject Seriki Fulani, Salihu Abdukadir, and herdsmen accused of perpetrating crimes ranging from kidnappings, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands with their cattle.
Speaking in a chat with Daily Independent, Agbaje said it is time for the federal government to take decisive action by arresting and prosecuting any killer herdsmen or bandits found breaking the laws both in the North and the South.
He however cautioned all the parties involved to address the issue with caution and avoid statements that can further aggravate the already tense situation.
He said “I think what has been missing in particular in the farmers, herdsmen clashes is the fact that there has not been diligent prosecution. And because of our faultlines in this country, it has exacerbated the situation and made it even worse. We haven’t seen diligent arrest and prosecution of both the bandits in the north and the herdsmen in the south”.
“The moment government decides that enough is enough, go after these bandits, arrest and prosecute them, then we will know that we are going in the right direction. That is not happening at the moment. The youths are working from the point of frustration, nobody feels safe anywhere in the country”.
“However, I do not subscribe to addressing the issue in an uneven manner. In other words, the way you treat them here is the way you must treat them in the north. That is the reality and people must see it to be so”.
“We should also call on all sides to douse the tension because things like this can lead to a direction that no one can imagine. We should not fan the embers of the situation but must do everything to calm it down”.
In the 21st century, we don’t want to see cattle on our roads and expressway. But there has to be a measure of fair play. That is very important.
“We cannot have a situation where herdsmen will go to farms, not just in the South but in the North and their cattle will eat up all the produce on the farms. It is no longer acceptable. You must find a way to run your cattle the same way we must have a way to run our farms. The only way we can do that is to everybody in their own chamber”.