Activist and Senior Lawyer, Richard Akinola Speaks On Sunday Igboho’s Ultimatum To Fulani

I have just been able to distill a couple of materials, videos and write-ups on the recent activities of Yoruba activist called Sunday Igboho. Quite frankly, l must admit, l have not been following his activities, until late last night when l saw a video where he was addressing the people of Ibarapa, in Oyo state over his claims that Fulani herdsmen killed some Yoruba people and that he had given the fulanis quit notice from the community. The quit notice, expired yesterday.

I have just been able to distill a couple of materials, videos and write-ups on the recent activities of Yoruba activist called Sunday Igboho. Quite frankly, l must admit, l have not been following his activities, until late last night when l saw a video where he was addressing the people of Ibarapa, in Oyo state over his claims that Fulani herdsmen killed some Yoruba people and that he had given the fulanis quit notice from the community. The quit notice, expired yesterday.

From all l could distill, this boils down to the failure of the government or even, the government being complicit through its “body language“ in dealing with the menace of these herdsmen. Perception is most times, stronger than reality. The perception of a number of ethnic groups is that the government treats the herdsmen with kid gloves. This must have actuated Igboho’s angst, particularly against his claims of wanton killings of his natives by these people.

However, having said that, and with the benefit of hindsight, l don’t support his quit notice to the Seriki Fulani and his household, who have lived in that community for 45 years. I also decry the arson and destruction of their property by the Igboho people in attempt to enforce the quit notice, not being a government.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state must also share in this blame. You don’t go on air to issue threats to Igboho when you ought to have called him and the Seriki into a meeting, for both sides to ventilate their grievances.

Ethnic skirmishes, particularly in our clime, can spiral out of control with collateral damages in other parts of the country. Reason l blame the presidency in all these. The body language in Abuja is that it supports the Fulanis against other ethnic groups on this herdsmen matter and that has fueled so much anger. It’s response, through Garba Shehu on the Ondo forest issue, is a clear example.

As l had stated few days ago, we have been living peacefully together for ages and this tension wasn’t there. So, what has changed? These are issues we have to deal with.

Without prejudice to this, l still think Igboho needs to be reined in by Yoruba leaders. He may be well-intentioned but his tactic of giving quit notice (being a non-state actor) and destruction of the Fulani property, are wrong, brash, abrasive and counter-productive. I hope reason prevails.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.