Chief Ladi Rotimi-Williams (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday reacted to the position of Northern governors that Fulani herdsmen were not responsible for the widespread attacks on farmers and communities, insisting that the statement is capable of worsening the nation’s security crisis.
Borno State Governor Ibrahim Shettima, after a meeting of the Northern governors last week exonerated the Fulani herdsmen of complicity in the attacks on Nimbo and other communities.
Speaking on the issue, Rotimi-Williams, Ozekhome and Adegboruwa regretted that the governors, rather than seeking ways of calming frayed nerves, aggravated the injuries of the attacked communities by their statement.
“If Fulani herdsmen are not the ones responsible, is it Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio or Ijaw herdsmen? That is the question I would like to ask the governors. They should be able to tell us who is responsible. If this issue is not properly handled, it may get out of hand, because no group of people has the monopoly of violence. When you push a normally peace-loving people to the wall, then they will react. They (governors) are talking irresponsibly. Should any Nigerian be raped, plundered and murdered irrespective of whether they are Fulani or not? Every Nigerian should be able to live and do his farming on his own land. That is a very irresponsible statement to make and they know the truth and until we begin to speak the truth in this country, this country will never know progress,” he said.
For his part, Ozekhome said: “How can they (governors) say that? The Northern governors have to tell us which other components of Nigeria rear cattle. As far as I’m concerned, it is an irresponsible statement that is capable of further inflaming bruised nerves. Instead of making reconciliatory statements, I don’t know why some Nigerians are working hard for the dismemberment of Nigeria.”
Adegboruwa, however, said: “I generally believe that the people of the North have not been the cause of the violence in Nigeria. In the case of Boko Haram, we did not see sufficient concerted effort to nip it in the bud. It has now spread to another form of Boko Haram in the name of Fulani herdsmen. It will be insulting our collective intelligence for anybody to try to turn the hard facts and evidence. It is enough that our people are suffering attacks, but it will be adding insult to pretend that it doesn’t exist. What we deserve in this country now is the sympathy of everybody, especially the Northern governors.
“Such statement will give a suggestion that these Fulani attacks are being sponsored; that the high and mighty are aware of the attacks. And that is quite unfortunate. I will demand that the president use the same energy he uses to fight corruption to rein in these herdsmen.”
As far as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the statement only goes to show that the northern governors are behind the herdsmen.