Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, says the strategy of issuing eviction notices used by popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, cannot work in solving the security challenges confronting the South-West state.
Adisa stated this on Thursday at a virtual town hall with the International Alliance for Justice and Peace, a Diaspora-based civil society organisation with interest in Nigeria.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Fulani Herdsmen’s Violent Rampage In Ibarapa: What Is The True Situation?’, the governor’s aide said the state was not in any form of competition with Igboho.
Akéde Ọ̀yọ́ had reported that Igboho issued a seven-day quit notice to herdsmen accused of kidnapping, rape, farmland destruction, amongst other crimes in the Ibarapa area of Oyo and enforced same.
He had also confronted herdsmen accused of terrorising farmers and residents in the Yewa area of Ogun State.
There have been reprisals as criminal elements have since attacked and killed some farmers and residents of the host communities.
Speaking on Thursday, Makinde’s aide stressed that the state has nothing against Igboho but his strategy was not something the state could explore because of the possible repercussions.
Adisa said, “The state is not in any competition with Sunday Igboho. The problem is about strategy, the strategy that he came up with cannot work in this environment because if you go shouting to people of other ethnic stocks to leave your community, the danger there is that your own people who are also in their different communities, the other people will unleash terror on them.
“Why do you want to expose your people who are innocent, who are not doing anything to tarnish their own image or their families’ and who are living peacefully in those communities?
“Look at what happened in Ondo for instance, the governor issued a directive and the Federal Government of Nigeria came out to start defending the people who entered the forest illegally. It is wrong.
“So, it is tact that is necessary to rid our communities of criminals,” he said.
The governor’s aide, who responded to some questions asked by The PUNCH, however, said the Oyo State Government would continue to deploy the resources and intelligence of non-state actors and state actors alike to rid the state of criminal elements.
“As to the use of non-state actors, in our own clime here, there is no state that can survive without non-state actors’ involvement in security. It is not possible because the police will not be enough no matter how small your community is, the federal police cannot be enough. So, you’ve got to link up with Vigilante Services of Nigeria, even some communities link up with OPC (Oodua Peoples Congress), some communities link up with traditional hunters and so on.
“In Oyo State for instance, this is not the first time we are witnesses some form of crisis but the first time it happened, nobody really heard about it other than an alarm that was raised by the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Aare Gani Adams, that some people are infiltrating Oyo forests and they are trying to attack the state.
“What the government did was to rely on non-state actors because there are hunters who go into those forests and filter whatever that is happening in those forests and they come back to tell their leaders that they have seen so and so movement around so and so forests. And the government put together a team of state actors and non-state actors just late last year and flushed out the forests. So, it is a continuous activity that we must continue to use non-state actors and we are using them,” Adisa stated.