Following the seven-day ultimatum issued by Yoruba cultural activist, Sunday Igboho, asking Fulanis to leave Yoruba land, the Seriki Fulani, Oyo State, Saliu Abdul-Kadri, has sent a Save our Soul (SOS) message to the Oyo State government.
Abdul-Kadri rendered this SOS when a delegation of the state government led by Executive Assistant to Governor Seyi Makinde on Security, Mr Sunday Odukoya, visited Igangan for an assessment visit.
Igboho had last week stormed the Igangan residence of the Seriki Fulani noting that the Yorubas could no more bear being killed in their land by Fulanis.
Violence had trailed the visit with no fewer than three persons injured, one person declared missing while about nine huts were razed.
Addressing the state government’s delegation which visited, the Seriki Fulani said they were taken aback at the threat and invasion of their residence by the Igboho men.
Abdul-Kadri fingered foreign entrants into Ibarapa from Zamfara, Kebbi and other nationalities as being behind the kidnappings, killings, criminalities and not those Fulanis resident in Yoruba land.
He said that it was inconceivable that those of them who were born, grew up, married, built houses, set up businesses in Yoruba land will be the ones attacking and killing Yorubas.
Abdul-Kadri said that the Fulanis abhorred criminality, such that he had personally arrested criminals, both Yoruba and Fulani, and handed them over to the police.
Recounting what transpired when Igboho visited, he said, “On Friday evening, I suddenly saw several Hilux vans and other vehicles. As they alighted, they were asking where the Seriki is. Then one of them said he’s Igboho, that he believes I must have been hearing about him. He then said he’s here to give us seven days ultimatum to leave Ibarapa and entire Yoruba land. He asked if I’m aware how Fulani was killing and kidnapping people.
“I was about to tell him that we arrested some Yorubas who were kidnappers, in Igangan and Tapa and they have been handed over to the police. Suddenly they began shooting sporadically and hit four of us followed by setting up our huts in flames.
“He then brought out a gun, put it in his mouth swearing by Ogun’s name that he must not meet us here at the expiration of the ultimatum. Then they left.
We want the government to save us. “We may be regarded as visitors regardless of the number of years spent here but I grew up here, I married here; I have children over 45 years old. I have built houses here in Igangan.
“This place is our source of livelihood; we want the government to save us. We have supported governments over the years. The government should help put our mind at rest.
“A lot is happening to Fulani in Ibarapa, Oke-Ogun, Ogbomoso. We arrest people suspected to be killers, kidnappers and hand them over to the police. Many of those we arrest are from Zamfara, Kebbi. What attracts those foreigners is a mining spot in Igangan. They steal our cows too.”
Responding to the plea of the Seriki Fulani, Executive Assistant to Governor Seyi Makinde, on Security Sunday Odukoya said the government has commenced an investigation into the matter, assuring that those found culpable would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
He said the government is not asking the law-abiding residents irrespective of their tribe or creed to leave any part of the state but only criminal elements.
He allayed the fear of the Fulanis on the ultimatum for them to leave the state, urging them to remain law-abiding, peaceful and shun any reprisal attack.
Odukoya assured of government’s commitment to the security of residents across the state urging them to support the government by exposing criminal elements in their midst.
He advocated for peaceful co-existence between the Yorubas and the Fulanis in the state.