Rafiu Kolawole Abdulrasaq, a security expert and PA on Security to former Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, former, Chairman FIRMA Lagos and later SURE-P under President Goodluck Jonathan amongst others.
Speaking with Gboyega Alaka on the ongoing battle against Fulani herdsmen being championed by Sunday Adeyemo popularly known as Sunday Igboho, the danger of ethnic profiling, how he once orchestrated Igboho’s arrest back in 2010 and why he is not fit to carry the light for the Yoruba.
You have quite a reputation working with politicians, especially in the area of security. Tell us about it.
My name is Abdulrasaq Rafiu Kolawole aka OTO (for Authority). I attended St Paul’s Primary School and Archbishop Aggey Memorial Secondary School, both in Idi -Oro Mushin; I later attended Olabisi Onabanjo University. I also passed through Dubai Police College. I am a security expert. I was former head of bodyguard to former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola; former head of bodyguard to Governor Kayode Fayemi, former Chairman task-force under former Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State and former PA Security to former Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola. Before then, I was also once chairman, FIRMA under former President Obasanjo, Chairman task-force on Sure-P under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
You seem to have a particular interest in the ongoing Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho onslaught against the rampaging killer Fulani herdsmen. Tell us about it
I am here today because of what is currently going on in Oyo State. This guy called Sunday Igboho as far as I am concerned has been trying to create tension – unfortunately, many people do not know who he really is. Throughout the world, Yoruba are known and regarded as intelligent and accommodating people and we would not and should not allow someone to spoil our name, image and integrity under the pretext of fighting Fulani herdsmen – because the implication of what he is doing is such that the Yoruba people would not be able to handle. Again, the whole world looks at the Yoruba as the livewire of Nigeria, so why should a person like Igboho be our representative or mouthpiece? Yoruba are not hooligans!
What exactly do know about Sunday Adeyemo aka Igboho?
Igboho is a man on the streets and capable of all manners of atrocities. You can quote me on that. I am also on the streets. I have been on the streets since 1976. You can ask about me in Yaba. So we know ourselves. There are some people who would be involved criminal activities in a community but would assisting people; that assistance is to cover up their tracks so that people would not know who they really are. Sometimes in 2010, specifically around December leading to the first Iwude Day in Osun State, I personally, as Special Assistant on Security to former Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, orchestrated the arrest of Igboho after I got a reliable intelligence that he had been induced to eliminate some prominent politicians. I petitioned the IG of Police, Onovo and they referred the matter to Osogbo Command, while they got him arrested. Their plan was to wear fake uniform and commit the dastard act on the first Iwude Day of that 2010.
You had to go to Abuja?
Yes. My principal, Aregbesola objected to use of force or confrontation. He said we should do everything legal to foil their plan. That was why I ran to the IG’s office in Abuja and wrote a petition, which I signed myself. The police said they would get him arrested. They actually invited him but due to the people that he was working for that I would not want to mention here for obvious reasons, the case was buried. Besides, those people may have repented but I cannot say the same of Igboho himself.
Are you saying Igboho was a political thug?
Yes, he was a political thug. He was being used by the PDP. I know because even I am a former member of the PDP. I was Chairman SURE-P under Obasanjo – it was called FERMA then and later chairman SURE-P Federal Task-Force under Jonathan. We know ourselves very well and I can tell you that he has tentacles everywhere, including Lagos. I know them and I know their mission. So how can such a person be representing the Yoruba race? It is his likes that went to burnt TVC and other infrastructure during the EndSARS protests – all these people who come from far flung places and live in the market. Why should anybody be living in the market? Area boys carrying guns! During Obasanjo’s time, the police and the military invaded the places and took all of them to Panti. I’m a Lagosian; you can never see any true-born Lagosian who will be so mad as to go and sit-out at Lekki Toll plaza and engage in such vandalism.
These are weighty allegations, what if Igboho takes you to court?
He dare not. I told you I wrote a petition to the police and got him arrested. Why didn’t he take me to court then? Everything I say here, I can substantiate but that will be to the police or DSS, not to you people. Anything security has to be covert. If anyone doubts me, let the police investigate him from his youthful day. They should monitor his call logs.
But this is the same man who said he met Asiwaju personally and that the man even gave him a gift of N2million…
That’s a lie, don’t mind him. The truth is that Asiwaju is such a responsible person and everybody wants to attach themselves to him.
How about the part Senator Babafemi Ojodu wrote about him?
Of that, I do not know, because I was not present there. I will only say what I am sure of.
Well, you may have your reservations about him and indeed, he may have his past, but by taking up this cause against the killer Fulani herdsmen, people are beginning to accept Igboho as fighting a good cause.
Are you saying he is not doing the right thing?
He is not doing the right thing. If truly he wants to help his people, what he should do is contact the security personnel, and tell them ‘such and such is happening in my home town and I have tried my best to resolve it without much success; I have also gone to their Seriki and nothing positive is happening; I need you people to step in. We are ready to support you. We know where these people are….’ And then work in conjunction with the security officers, so that whatever you do is legal. We don’t want Nigeria to become another Palestine. In Palestine, there is no law. If somebody slaps me, I’d go home and bring all my people to come and beat you up and all your people, including your mother. We don’t want Nigeria to degenerate into that kind of society.
What are the police there for? What are the DSS there for?
But people have come out to say that the police have not done anything after several reports and petitions about the evils being perpetrated by these people, even siding with them in some cases.
That does not justify anything. Listen, in the 1970s, we had Babatunde Folounsho, the best armed robber of the year; we had Oyenusi; we had Mighty Joe – all Yoruba.
Would that mean that all Yoruba are armed robbers? In Babangida’s time, there was Anini, Osunbo, Iyamu, the police inspector. They were the ones terrorising the whole of Benin and by extension, Nigeria.
Would that mean that all Benin people were armed robbers? Go and check Google; you would see all the crimes being perpetrated and serial killers. The young boy killing women in Ibadan; is he a Fulani man? Why didn’t they go and kill his whole family? I am not saying all is well or that there is no problem in our communities concerning these Fulani herdsmen; physically, I have not seen or experienced any of their violence and as a Muslim, I don’t say what I don’t know, but the issue is that if truly this thing is happening, you have to investigate and fish out who and who are involved, not indict a whole ethnic group. What is presently unfolding can lead to religious war or ethnic war. Already, some Muslims are seeing it as ‘They are killing Muslims.’ Even Yoruba Muslims. You may have noticed that they are not talking. Because the Quran says you Muslims are all brothers. Allah says he has bind you with one rope; but if any one of you is a criminal, you can identify that criminal and remove him from your community or eliminate him, but according to the law of the land. And you have to be sure of what you are doing; not guessing.
Fulani people have been living in our communities long before they even gave birth to my own grandparents and we never had any problem with them. The Hausa community is here in Mile 12; we don’t have any problem with them. Let everybody live in peace. Nigerians will go to America and be hoping to get an American passport in five years. Some even aim at political appointments. But here, you don’t want to see your fellow Nigerians. I lived in Dubai for four years; we know what some of our Nigerian brothers did there, robbing banks, committing ATM fraud, killing; I joined the Dubai police briefly and investigated them for the Dubai police, but would that mean that all Nigerians are criminals?
You saw what happened during EndSARS protests, when some people killed policemen and roasted and ate them before camera.
Are those human beings? Those are ritualists; they only need blood; they are the likes going about with Igboho.
Some people may say that you have been paid to rundown Igboho, whom they perceive as fighting a necessary fight.
God will punish that person that paid me. How can somebody pay me to rundown somebody? I have my own family and children and I will die one day. I am 57 years old. Do I want my children to grow up and face all these problems, which they don’t know anything about? All the people at the centre of this whole trouble know how to escape when the trouble finally erupts in our faces. You know, once you’re a criminal, you always know the paths through which to escape. Look, all this juju that they are flaunting is a bloody lie. When it is your time to die, you will surely die. All I am saying is that if Igboho has any issue, he should liaise with the police; not make a PDP/APC politics out of it. Igboho clearly has another mission.
Are you saying this whole battle is politically motivated?
Yes, but tactically. He is a PDP guy, so he may be fighting for the PDP.
How about the allegation that the soldiers and the police are aiding and abetting these criminal herdsmen?
That’s what they have been saying but can you swear to it? There are so many cases that they’d say Fulani herdsmen but after investigating and arrests are made, you find that the people behind them are not Fulani men. The godogodo that has killed over one hundred policemen, is he a Fulani man? Is Evans a Fulani herdsman? Criminals now use Fulani herdsmen as cover-up. So until we start doing proper investigation, we may be endangering our society.
The governors in whose domains these violence are being perpetrated are also saying they don’t control the police…
That does not matter. I’m not in charge of security in my immediate community right now but I still use my discretion to discharge certain things. The governors hold meetings with the security agents nearly every week; you can call them to order. Tell them such and such is going on; exchange intelligence gathered and ideas on how to combat the issues. Personally, from your security vote, you can give them money and I can tell you that they would do it using their discretion. A governor can even write a petition as an ordinary citizen intimating them on what is happening and what you want them to do – not hide under the guise that you do not control the police. Ordinary individual that has money controls the police, how much more a governor. But if there is no report and the police just come there, people can say they came there illegally. We are not saying we do not have some bad people in the police but is it every police that is bad?
What advice do you have for the Southwest governors; don’t forget that Igboho also visited Ogun state, purportedly on the invitation of the governor?
No, the governor did not invite him. He said it publicly that he did not invite him. That’s why I said everything is politics. It’s just like this EndSARS madness. When they started their clamour, the government cooperated; the IG cooperated and said there would be no more SARS; but because they had another motive, another devilish agenda, they refused to stop. I was ready to face them, who will die will die but some people said we should let them be. You saw them burning everything. Is that how to right a wrong? Okay, they said some people stole money and went to buy houses in Dubai; can they go and burn the houses in Dubai? Asiwaju that they are all targeting is a Lagosian, he has the right to do business and own properties. If you have cogent evidence against him, write a petition to the EFCC or go to the station and make a report. This is a man who has done a lot to develop Lagos. Ikosi ordinarily is a local area; but by bringing TVC, a television of such a huge standard to the community, he has elevated its value. So how can anyone decide to burn such an edifice on the pretext of anger? They went to the palace of the most paramount monarch in Lagos and vandalised and desecrated it. Only bastard would do that. Can we go to Ibadan or Edo or Owerri and destroy their monarch’s palace? This is all about hatred for one man. You claim he is not a Lagosian; a man born in Lagos state, who has spent well over 50 years in Lagos State.
There are also allegations that ransoms to free kidnapped people were paid to the Seriki…
Can you swear to that? Have you investigated it? When you want to condemn somebody, you have to bring serious allegations against him. It’s just like what we’re saying about Asiwaju. He’s not a Lagosian, he’s a thief… Meanwhile, 70 percent of these people accusing him are people who came from outside Lagos. His mother, Abibatu Mogaji, never said he was not her son, so what is the problem of those who are investigating their relationship? It’s a private affair. Asiwaju is not the only person who has money in Lagos. Koro has money, Atiku has money, Dangote has money; are you saying we must not have a rich man in Lagos State? I am an indigene of Epe. I am proud of what Asiwaju has achieved for Lagos State.
Shall we then say that this interview is aimed at dousing the ethnic tension being fanned by Sunday Igboho and his boys?
Let me tell you, if we allow this Igboho issue to persist, come 2023, APC will not have access to other states. Those who are hailing and joining him do not understand that this.
But Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, who is PDP, has condemned him and even called for his arrest…
All that is charade. We who are versed in their ways know this trick.
Call it what you like, but some people who know Igboho’s background may see this battle as a way of him legitimising and reintegrating himself into the good books of his people.
That may be true but that only happens when there is a scarcity of intelligent people or when the right people refuse to speak up. Any country where criminals become heroes will never have peace. Ask yourself, where are they getting the guns from? Who is sponsoring them? Which work is Igboho doing? Mark my words, if he is not tamed, he will get out of hand.
Finally, what is your position about Fulani herdsmen carrying guns?
No, no, I cannot support that. We are in a modern day. Fulani should go and buy land, fence it and ranch their cattle. That’s what they do everywhere – Dubai, America. Anybody whop wants to buy could always come there. That’s what we should be clamoring for. The present system is even dangerous; you see cattle colliding with vehicles on the way and causing deaths. When they enter a farm, they eat everything or destroy everything. Meanwhile the farmer has spent a lot of time, energy and money on the farm.