A pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Yoruba Koya Leadership and Training Foundation, has raised the alarm over alleged taking over of states in the South West region by some people suspected to be herdsmen.
The group made this known via a statement sent to the current and governors-elect in the region on Monday.
There are six states that make up the South West region. They are Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and Lagos.
Yoruba Koya Leadership and Training Foundation in the statement sent to the Governors and Governors-elect, urged the chief executive officers in the states to be vigilant, stating that the entire region has been surrounded by criminals from within and outside the shores of Nigeria who pretend to be herdsmen.
The group called on the governors to rise above partisan interest and take actions aimed towards safeguarding their people against internal and external aggressions, stressing that posterity and history would never forgive any of them who, for the sake of party politics, stare helplessly while their land is annexed.
In the statement signed by Otunba Deji Osibogun (Convener) and Senator Tokunbo Ogunbanjo (Trustee), the group urged the governors to as a matter of urgency, call for an emergency meeting and invite relevant stakeholders to take a common position on how Yoruba Nation will be protected against attacks.
The group said, “We say with all sense of responsibility and without any fear or intimidation devoid of sensationalism that the entire Yoruba Land has been encircled by external criminals masquerading as Herdsmen. Empirical intelligence available to us has it that these criminals who are mainly from Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto and some West African Countries, are being dropped daily in Yoruba Land by Heavy Duty Trucks.
“Presently, these criminals are in multitude living inside forest in Oke-Ogun axis of Oyo State; Ido/Osi, Ikole, Oye, Irepodun/Ifelodun, Ijero and Efon-Alaaye areas of Ekiti State; Obafemi Owode, Remo and Ayetoro-Imeko in Ogun State; Ife/Ijesha in Osun state and Akoko-Owo-Akure land in Ondo state, pretending to be Herdsmen who rear cows during the day but investigations conducted by our intelligence team have it that these criminals are responsible for 80% of the recent reported cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in Yoruba Land.
“Recently, some Farmers in Imeko, Ogun West Senatorial District of Ogun State were attacked by these hoodlums and even killed a Police DCO and an Inspector who dare challenged them.
“Deyoruwa, a village in Isara-Remo, Ogun State was completely exterminated by these criminals because the villagers resisted them. School, Church and 25 buildings were totally burnt down without resistance despite that a police post is less than 2 kilometres to the village.
“A Canadian, Jurgis Morris was kidnapped recently at this same Deyoruwa Junction, along Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Isara-remo, Ogun State in April. The victim claimed to have paid N2.5million to regain his freedom from the Herdsmen who railroaded him and his wife into the bush and later released his wife, a Nigerian to go look for money to secure his release.
“On May 5th, an orthopaedic Surgeon from Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile/Ife identified as Professor Adeyinka Adegbehingbe, was kidnapped while on his way to Ile-Ife in the company of his wife, Victoria. Also, an Ibadan-based senior lawyer, Musibau Adetunmbi was on April 16th 2019, kidnapped at Iwaraja junction, Osun State while on his way to attend a court session in Akure.
“Our on the spot assessment reports have it that at least, five people who are mostly farmers are kidnapped daily in Oke Ogun area of Oyo State. We were also informed that Herdsmen are already threatening to crown an Emir at Iseyin, Igbeti and Otu in Oke-Ogun.
“The Baale of Apese, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, Chief Razak Olaseinde Adamson was on April 28, 2019 kidnapped within his community. Also, a Director in Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Rasaki Musibau was on April 7th 2019 kidnapped along Itokin-Epe road.
“The Chairman, Ikosi-Ejinrin Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), Mr. Ajijedidun Samson Adebisi and the Vice-Chairman, Lekki LCDA (name with-held) were both unlucky as they were kidnapped along this deadly Itokin-Epe road in the month of March, an indication that the commercial nerves of Nigeria has been enclosed.”
“Consequently, we call on all Governors in Yoruba Land, including the incoming ones, to as a matter of urgency, set machinery in motion to ensure that these criminals are flushed out from all forest in South West through formulation of policies that will protect and safeguard their people from attacks.
“To start with, we suggest that all heavy duty trucks and trailers coming into Yoruba Land are thoroughly searched at border towns before they are allowed in. All herdsmen in Yoruba Land must be duly registered, wear jacket/uniform and their thumbprint taken. Additional intelligence made available to us has it that these criminals are now penetrating into Lagos State under the guise of riding commercial motorcycle whereas, they are digging for information to be delivered to their partners in crime.
“We, therefore, suggest that a law is enacted to ensure that all Okada riders operating in Lagos State be registered at designated centres across the state with their Bank Verification Numbers and thumb-printing taken. Jacket with registration number must be issued to them after meeting all requirements and payment of registration fees done. Thus, anyone riding commercial motorcycles in Lagos state without uniform will be taken as a criminal who must be arrested and charged into court in accordance with edit law.”