’Yinka ADETUNJI & Enoch OYEDIBU
In order not to be caught napping in view of the prevailing insecurity situation in the country due to the Fulani herdsmen’s unabated attacks on farmers and other citizens, Ogbomoso Parapo, the apex socio-cultural organization in the zone, in conjunctions with some of its affiliates, had come up with strategies to combat the problem in communities in the area.
Rising from a pan-Ogbomoso security summit held yesterday at Ogbomoso Recreation Club, the stakeholders issued a communiqué in which it was stated that the existing traditional security apparatuses would be energized in order to beef up security in the zone.
The communiqué read by Ambassador Akin Oyateru, a retired diplomat, points out: “The meeting was in general agreement that hunters’ groups and other traditional security system currently in place in all the local government areas in Ogbomoso be incentively reorganized to complement existing security structure with a view to securing the local communities against marauding herdsmen.”
Fulani herdsmen described as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index, have become a menace in the country, having been associated with farmlands’ destructions, kidnapping for ransom, barbaric killings, maiming, raping etc, with the Federal Government appearing to have sympathy for these criminals, emboldening them to further perpetrate the dastardly acts.
The situation had degenerated so much that some sections of the Yoruba populace are now calling for secession from Nigeria aside calls for the Biafra country.
The Ogbomoso security summit was attended by many dignitaries including Justice Afolabi Adeniran (retd), president, Ogbomoso Parapo Worldwide; General Oladayo Popoola (retd), leader of Ogbomoso Community Foundation; Dr Saka Balogun, a community leader; Chief Sunday Dare, Minister for Youth and Sports Development; Barrister Olusegun Adekunle, a retired federal Permanent Secretary; Ambassador Layi Oyedele, a retired career diplomat; Oba Francis Olusola Alao, Olugbon of Orile-Igbon; among others.
The event, which was a robust discourse, had as theme, “Sustainable development is predicated on security,” with Professor Alex Gboyega, a former Head of Political Science Department, University of Ibadan, delivering the keynote address, which he strategically titled, “What is this?”
The programme also featured a paper presentation by Dr Jide Ladipo on the topic, “Our forests and natural resources base in the present state of insecurity and climate in Ogbomosoland,” just as the conveners inaugurated a committee, “Ogbomoso Vocational and Development Council,” headed by Ambassador Akin Oyateru, which is aimed at promoting skills acquisition among youths in the zone so as to make them productive thereby reducing rate of unemployment and predilection for aberrant behaviours.
Many speakers like Justice Adeniran, Sunday Dare, Olusegun Adekunle, Layi Oyedele, Barrister Dapo Atanda, Oba Francis Alao and some others made valuable contributions to the discussions. They drew attention to several other issues affecting the zone including youth restiveness, drug abuse and other anti-social behaviours like internet frauds and cultism in schools.
The communiqué also signed by Ambassador Akin Oyateru, traced the role played by Ogbomoso in stopping the Fulani jihadists from overrunning Yoruba country in the 19th century stressing that the trend of producing men of valour has continued in the contemporary time.
Names such as Admiral Akinwale Wey, Col. Shittu Alao, Brigadier Benjamin Adekunle (Black Scorpion), Navy Commodore Adegboyega Akano, Col. Ibrahim Taiwo, Major General Oladayo Popoola, Air Commodore Layi Atanda and Col. Daniel Akintonde were mentioned as modern soldiers from Ogbomoso who played significant roles in the evolution of the Nigerian nation.
The communiqué went ahead to single out Oriire local government in the five local governments constituting Ogbomoso zone as hotbed of Fulani herdsmen’s invasions however alleging some traditional rulers it did not name of complicity.
“It was noted over a period of time the challenges of herders/farmers clashes in Oriire local government area had taken a new dimension resulting in destruction of farmlands, injuries to farmers and in some cases loss of lives, owing to influx of Fulani herdsmen from Oke-Ogun and Ilorin.
“The situation is further compounded by the duplicitous role of traditional rulers and local government officials who patently side with herders against the local community. It was also noted that unresolved chieftaincy disputes in Tewure, Aaje and Saamo stoked tension in those areas which have invariably provoked general insecurity.”
In this regard it was revealed that the attention of the Onikoyi of Ikoyi-Ile, Oba abdulyekeen Ayinla Oladipupo IV, who is the chairman, traditional council in Oriire local government, “had been drawn to the various issues promoting insecurity in Oriire local government area, with a request that they be addressed appropriately to douse tension.”
It was also stated that the Oyo state government had been charged to promote actions that would restore sanity in the area such as speedy resolution of chieftaincy disputes, enforcement of the state’s anti-grazing law, sensitization programmes among other measures.
Expatiating on the measure highlighted to tackle the herdsmen’s menace, Ambassador Oyateru, in a chat with ogbomosoinsoghtonline.com, said the body was committed to securing Ogbomosoland from herdsmen’s invasions, saying it would approach the matter with utmost urgency and importance with the aim of complementing government’s security agencies.
He informed, “The focus is on reorganization of the traditional security structure which comprises groups such as local hunters’ groups, the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Vigilante Groups, Agbekoya Farmers’ Associations and so on. The essence is to re-orientate them in such basics as community surveillance, reporting channels, monitoring of movements and developing local protective mechanisms as the first line of defence against incursions to their farms, forests and settlements.
“They could equally serve as channels of vital communication to the community on taking appropriate precautionary measures to safeguard life and property. In all these, their role is complementary to the existing official security architecture and it is expected that a proper working relationship through understanding and mutual trust will be established as government alone cannot provide the blanket security cover required.
“The issue of incentives is to assist them with essential tools and equipment for logistics, communication, mobility and in some cases little stipends in discharging their duties effectively.
“Very soon we should be reaching out to these various groups through their local focal points for smooth coordination. It is pertinent to underscore that security predicates sustainable development; without peace there can be no development.”
Full communiqué to be published soon…