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Herdsmen Crisis: Hausa-Fulani not Yoruba’s Enemy, Makinde Says

Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde 

Oyo State governor Seyi Makinde has deflated calls for the immediate evacuation of Hausa-Fulani herders from the state’s forest reserves.

Reacting to reports of farmer-herder clashes in remote parts of the state, Mr. Makinde reckoned in a statewide broadcast Wednesday, that it was displeasing to single out an ethnic group for victimisation when the real enemy are a select group of individuals who perpetrate crime.

“We have a common enemy. That enemy is not the Hausa Fulani who is looking for pasture for his flock,” Mr. Makinde said.

“It is not the farmer who just wants to grow food to sell in the market or to feed his family. Our enemies are the hoodlums, cultists, armed robbers, kidnappers and bandits. These people live among us,” he added.

While admitting that relations between herdsmen and farmers in Oke-Ogun had waned following recent clashes, the governor, however, noted that issuing ultimatums aimed at ejecting foreign residents from the state was “not the way to further the Yoruba cause.”

Mr. Makinde admonished police authorities in the state to persevere in their efforts to quell tensions in Oke-Ogun and other troubled parts of the state, while reiterating his administration’s commitment to uphold the constitutional rights of every Nigerian to live in any part of the country without fear.

Mr. Makinde’s handling of ethnic unrest in Oyo is in sharp contrast to his Ondo State counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, who ordered immediate evacuation of herdsmen from the state’s forests Monday.

Mr. Akeredolu, who traced the recent killings and kidnappings in the state to the activities of herdsmen, barred the movement of cattle within Ondo’s cities and highways forthwith.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu had swiftly challenged Governor Akeredolu’s order, noting that the Ondo chief executive was bereft of constitutional powers to issue such ultimatums. 

Mr. Akeredolu, however, dismissed the presidency’s criticism, saying Mr. Buhari was emotionally attached to herdsmen to assume a fair and balanced position on the national conversation. Both politicians are of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which has yet to take a firm position on the herdsmen crisis.

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