Compensate Fulani herders attacked in Oyo immediately, MURIC tells Makinde, Buhari

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The Muslim Right Concerns (MURIC) has called on Seyi Makinde, Oyo State governor and President Muhammadu Buhari to compensate Fulani herders attacked by angry mob on Friday.

The religious body made the demand in a Sunday statement signed by its director, Ishaq Akintola.

Mr Akintola also advised that the crisis which erupted in Ibarapa, Oyo State between a Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, and Fulani herdsmen be properly handled.

Calamity struck when supporters of the Yoruba activist invaded the Fulani settlement in Ibarapa and attacked herders after the expiration of Igboho’s vacation order to herdsmen in the area.

Properties worth millions of naira were lost after the irate youths set houses, vehicles and other valuables ablaze. Weighing in MURIC is advising that those attacked be immediately compensated by the government to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

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It also advised against demonizing an ethnic group over the criminal activities of few elements within its fold.

“The Igangan incident must be condemned by all lovers of peace. But at the same time, we cannot close our eyes to the pain and suffering of farmers and indigenes of the area whom criminals see as soft targets for kidnapping, armed robbery, etc. It is however crystal clear that it is not a religious matter, though some have been misled into labeling it an Hausa-Fulani affair. Our focus must be the criminals, not any tribe,” MURIC said.

“While we do not endorse violence, we opine that people whose farms have been destroyed have the right to express indignation. In the same manner, those whose relations or friends have fallen victims to criminal activities like kidnapping and armed robbery are justified to speak up. The only difference here is that no single tribe should be held responsible for all the crimes.

“This is because criminals abound in all faiths and tribes everywhere in the world, not only in Nigeria. We should therefore address crime and criminals. We should target kidnappers and armed robbers, not any particular ethnicity. Those who make the mistake of profiling people of certain tribes will end up hurting decent elements within that tribe and this is against the law of natural justice.

“With particular reference to the Oyo and Ondo State incidents and the quit notices, MURIC reminds people of the South West that the crisis cuts across ethnicities. The same herdsmen are involved in several states. Benue, Kaduna, Adamawa, Taraba, Enugu, Onitsha, PortHarcourt, etc, are facing the same problem of herdsmen versus farmers. In essence, the phenomenon is general and not targeted at the Yoruba per se.

“Almost all the northern states face the herdsmen versus farmers conflict, banditry and kidnapping. People of the South West must consider the fate of thousands of their kinsmen from Ogbomosho, Offa, Iwo, Ibadan, etc who have resided in the North for more than a hundred years before insisting on a general expulsion of Northerners.

“Truth is bitter, but the earlier we say it the better. Herdsmen have no right to destroy crops. This is where people have genuine grievances against herdsmen. But indigenes should not label all herdsmen as kidnappers because there are law abiding citizens among them. Yet the most disturbing thing is that many of the criminals are foreigners. Our suggestion is that it is these criminals and foreigners that the security agencies (including Amotekun) should go after.

Instead of applying the big stick, MURIC advises the Federal Government to consult widely with elders from all the states of the federation concerning the issue of herdsmen versus farmers with a view to finding a comprehensive solution. FG should also seek advice from other African countries where the same crisis has been on the front burner at one time or the other since this conflict is not restricted to Nigeria alone. It is national, continental and universal in dimension.

“To douse tension immediately, both FG and the Oyo State government should undertake to speedily and adequately compensate victims of the latest conflict in Igangan, Oyo State. FG in particular should take greater responsibility because it is the nationwide lacuna in security matters that has been responsible for the breakdown in law and order.

“Instead of issuing threats and counter-threats, we appeal to the various ethnicities in the country to understand the nature of the conflict. Herders and farmers crisis is not a Nigerian problem alone, it is universal. Nigeria needs to seek an enduring panacea to its own peculiar problems instead of aggravating the conflict. We must learn from the war in Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, etc and the attendant humanitarian disasters. This is still avoidable in Nigeria,” it added.

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