The Odua Peoples Congress, New Era, has described as unfortunate, the call by the Federal Government for the arrest of a Yoruba socio-cultural activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, a.k.a Sunday Igboho, on account of the eviction of Saliu Abdulkadri, the Seriki Fulani and his men from Igangan community.
Citing the incessant cases of kidnappings, raping, destruction of farmlands and killings of farmers in the Oke Ogun and Ibarapa axis of Oyo State over the years, the group said that it was suspicious and unjustifiable that the FG rose to arrest a man who demanded the exit of killer herders from Yoruba land while allowing the hoodlums to have their way.
The National Public Relations Officer, OPC, New Era, Akinpelu Adesina, said in a telephone interview on Saturday that, “I can say that all the self determination groups in the South-West are behind Sunday Igboho’s action.
“We were there yesterday (Friday) and we are in support of our fathers in the South-West. They should prepare to arrest all the Yoruba self determination groups in South-West before arresting him.
“Chief Sunday Adeyemo gave a quit notice to the killer herdsmen who infiltrated parts of the state and not the Fulani herdsmen who are doing their legitimate businesses. In this context, Igboho was referring to the kidnappers, those killing our farmers, raping our women and destroying farmlands. By this directive, Igboho is fighting the cause of our people who were at the receiving end of the evils being perpetrated by the herdsmen.
“That was why some Yoruba groups such as the New Era Odua Peoples Congress, the Reformed OPC, Agbekoya, the Odua Youths Liberation Agenda, the Odua Alliance and the Igangan Youth Consultative Forum were on hand to give him solidarity at Igangan on Friday.
“On our way to Igangan on Friday, we branched at the Area Police Command at Eruwa and the Area Commander himself joined us. On getting to the outskirts of Saki and Igangan, we met the Civil Defence personnel and the soldiers. We came down and explained to them that we were for peace. We explained to them that we were on a mission to tell the Seriki Fulani in Igangan to ask the killer herdsmen to vacate our land. We were allowed into the town and we spoke with the residents assuring them that things would take a normal shape henceforth.
“About 50 motorcyclists accompanied us from Eruwa. At Igbo Ora, the number surged to about 1,000, at Ayete, the number increased so much that we made up our minds to be cautious. We arrived at Igangan around 3pm. There was no violence in the community during our stay in Igangan. We left the town at 6:20pm exactly. Igboho’s vehicle led the convoy. On our way out of the town, we interacted with the army and there was no itch.
“In Igangan, Chief Igboho said he appealed to Seriki that he should point the way out to unscrupulous killer herders who may be infiltrating their ranks. He has been staying in our midst for long, his family has been with us, hence he should be of help to the community and not serve as a mole. We didn’t utter any inciting comment during the visit.”
Igboho had visited Igangan on Friday after the expiration of the one week ultimatum which he gave to killer herdsmen in Oyo State to quit.
On why he gave an ultimatum to the killer herdsmen, Igboho said in an interview, said, “The reason was the incessant attack on our people in Ibarapa and Oke Ogun areas of the state. Our people are no longer at ease in their own land. On the contrary, Yoruba people don’t engage in such atrocious things. You cannot see a Yoruba man going about killing people in Kano. In the North they can behead a Yoruba man for slapping an Hausa/Fulani not to talk of destroying their farmlands.
“You will recall the case of ‘Oko Oloyun’ who got killed during a visit to his country home. He was killed in Igbo Ora. Government said they would unravel facts behind his killing but till now, the matter has not been unravelled. That case would be a year this month. Another illustrious son, Dr Aborode, returned from overseas and cultivated a farmland in Igangan.
“He employed about 300 people working for him. His farm was plundered by cattle so he lodged a complaint with the Seriki Fulani. Few days after, killer herdsmen held Aborode down, they tied him up and butchered him. Nothing was done and no arrest was made.”