Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and traditional rulers in the state will visit Igangan, Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state today to deliberate on how to restore peace to Ibarapaland.
The Punch reports that the meeting was organised primarily to ensure that peace returned to the area.
The Deputy Chairman, Oyo State Council of Obas, Oba Francis Alao, said a team of the state government would represent the governor while a team from the office of the IGP would stand in for Adamu, noting that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Ngozi Onadeko, would be present at the meeting.
Violence had erupted in Igangan, Ibarapa, on Friday when a popular Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, alongside his followers, stormed the Fulani settlement in the ancient town to eject Seriki Fulani, Salihu Abdukadir, and herdsmen accused of perpetrating crimes ranging from kidnappings, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands with their cattle.
The monarch said “I am going there tomorrow (today) to hold a meeting with all the traditional rulers in Ibarapaland. The Commissioner of Police in Oyo State too will be there. A team from the Inspector-General of Police Office is also going to be there. The state government (representatives) will also be there.
“All we want to do is to ensure there is peace in the area for everybody to coexist peacefully. I am going in my position as the Deputy Chairman, Oyo State Obas Council; I am going on that premise and we have told all traditional rulers from the three local government areas in Ibarapaland to be there as well.
“There is an ongoing reconciliatory effort at Tede, Ago Are and Ago Amodu in Atisbo Local Government Area. I am coordinating that and everybody should sue for peace. Everybody should eschew violence and embrace peace while the security agents will do their investigation.”
The Asigangan of Igangan, Oba Lasisi Adeoye, also confirmed to our correspondent in Ibadan that he and traditional rulers from Ibarapaland would be part of the meeting,
He said, “All the Obas in Ibarapa will hold a meeting here in Igangan tomorrow (today) and the Olugbon will be here for the meeting.”
Sources said the government delegation would visit the troubled spots to assess the extent of damage.
“The delegation will also engage the youth to calm frayed nerves and ensure that peace is restored to the troubled areas,” a source said
It is not clear as of press time who will lead the government team, but sources said Makinde had constituted a high-powered delegation among his senior officials to embark on the trip.
Sources added that a full report on the Ibarapa situation would be made public by the government and the police after the assessment tous had earlier reported that on the heels of invasion of Ibarapaland by Igboho and his loyalists, the IG, Adamu, had reportedly ordered the state police commissioner, Ngozi Onadeko, to arrest Igboho.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, was quoted as revealing the arrest order in a report on the BBC Hausa Service current affairs programme, Ra’ayi Riga, on Friday.
“He just got off the telephone with the Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police, who confirmed to him that he had ordered the arrest of Igboho, who is to be brought to Abuja,” Shehu was quoted in the report.
It added, “Igboho is among topics that have generated public discuss on social media in Nigeria on Friday since he visited Igangan in Ibarapa Local Government (of Oyo State) where he insisted that all Fulani residents in Oyo State must leave as long as kidnapping continues.
“Last week, Igboho visited the Fulani community in Igangan where he gave them a seven day ultimatum to leave the state after accusing the Fulani in the area of murder and kidnapping, among other crimes. But during his return to the area this time round, he explained what he meant.
“Mallam Garba Shehu said the government was having a hard time punishing (such) offenders because of the activities of human rights organisations. Garba Shehu said the order given by the Inspector-General of Police for now is that Igboho should be arrested and brought to Abuja to be taken to court to face prosecution.”
However, the arrest order could not be confirmed as of the time of filing this report as the Police Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, could not be reached.
Also, the Police Public Relations Officer in the Oyo State, Olugbenga Fadeyi, had yet to reply to calls and text messages to his mobile phone.
But the Odua Peoples Congress, New Era, described the arrest order as an unfortunate directive by the Federal Government.
Citing the incessant cases of kidnapping, rape, destruction of farmlands and killings of farmers in the Oke Ogun and Ibarapa areas over the years, the group said it was suspicious and unjustifiable that the government moved to arrest a man who demanded the exit of killer herders from Yorubaland, while allowing the hoodlums to have their way.
The National Public Relations Officer, OPC, New Era, Akinpelu Adesina, said in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Saturday that “all the self-determination groups in the South-West are behind Sunday Igboho’s action. 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 notice to quit 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 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.”
Adesina explained that on their way to Igangan, they had stopped over at the Area Police Command at Eruwa and the Area Commander joined them to visit the neighbourhood.
He added, “On getting to the outskirts of Saki and Igangan, we met the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps personnel and 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 spoke to 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. Igboho’s vehicle led the convoy. On our way out of the town, we interacted with the army.
“In Igangan, Chief Igboho appealed to Seriki to 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.”
Reacting to the quit notice on Friday, Governor Seyi Makinde, had ordered the arrest of those fomenting trouble under the guise of protecting the interest of the people, saying, “People stoking ethnic tension are criminals and once you get them, they should be arrested and treated like common criminals.”