…says everybody is beating drum of war
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi on Thursday expressed grave concerns over the current security challenges in the Southwest geo-political zone even as he declared that the region does not want to experience another war.
He said the current insecurity witnessed across the country has sparked off the beating of drum of war insisting however that the Yorubas want to live in peace with their neighbours.
“Everybody is beating the drum of war, we don’t want war, who can stand war? We want something better for our youths. We should better use them for something good other than shouting war and anarchy. We don’t want that”, the Ooni, said after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
His visit to the presidency was in connection with the killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunri, daughter of the Afenifere leader, Pa Rueben Fasoranti by suspected Fulani herdsmen along Kajola-Ore road, recently which prompted mixed reactions from Nigerians, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, amongst others.
Though the meeting held behind closed doors, the Ooni spoke with State House correspondents shortly after he met the President.
The revered monarch said that his visit was on the instance of all traditional rulers in the Southwest, adding that they were equally equipped with ideas on how to improve security situation in the country.
He said, “How to improve security. I came to speak on behalf of other traditional rulers. The issue at hand in the Southwest is real. The issue of insecurity, we that live in the remote and rural areas of the South western part of the country, most of the bushes are occupied by strange people and we decided to work with the government to fish them out.
“Everybody is beating the drum of war, we don’t want war, who can stand war, we want something better for our youths. We should better use them for something good other than shouting war and anarchy. We don’t want that.
“We told the President that and he is on the same page with us. Politicians should be careful not to take things out of proportion.
“We should make sure things are right. Mr. President has actually given good directives to security chiefs especially the Inspector General of Police, IGP, they will visit each and every traditional ruler’s palace that are very sensitive in South west with immediate effect, he is going to give that directives.
“We need to work very closely with the youths and every other security agencies in the country, we will put them to good use now, it is very important to us to put them to use and work with the locals, it is very important so that we can separate the corn from the chaff”.
The Ooni also took a swipe on political leaders, accusing them of over hyping security situation in the country.
According to him, the Yoruba nation abhors any form of attrition or anarchy.
“We shouldn’t keep over hyping it by saying what is next is war, no. We know what Mr. President has been saying about South western part of the country for a long time, the peace and peaceful co-existence in the South west, we still want to keep that, we don’t want any war to happen, we don’t want any attrition, we don’t want any anarchy. So that is the reason why I came to discuss with him,” he told State House correspondents.
He said that President Buhari promised to give a true version of the RUGA policy at the appropriate time, noting that according to the President, the public misconstrued the true intentions of the proposed settlements.
“One other thing the President assured me of, before I left, which I will go and give back to much more experienced traditional rulers in the South West and our leaders across board is that he has assured that he will say his own side of the story about RUGA.
“He wants to let the world and Nigerians in particular know the true side of the story because it’s being read out of context. So we should give him that opportunity to speak on his behalf as the number one citizen of the country.
“What is important for me is the youthful exuberance nature of our youths in Nigeria for them not to take laws into their hands, go into all those places and start to kill and maim, we don’t want that, the drum of war is resonating too much and we are very worried,” he stated.
When asked by reporters to explain what he meant recently that the South Westerners should defend themselves, he said, “I mentioned to you that it is real, that we have wrong people in our midst, so when we have wrong people in our midst how are we not going to defend ourselves, that is why I came here, that in terms of defending ourselves, we need more federal government apparatus to defend ourselves because we don’t want to be defenceless.
“It is very important. It is about the mission of defending ourselves that I am here, we need reinforcement from federal government and I just mentioned to you that the President has said he will give directives to the IGP to go and see every nooks and crannies of our traditional institutions in South West and that would probably extend across the entire country because he mentioned to me that he worked in North East and North Central discussing and working with the traditional institutions.
“So for us to defend ourselves is for me to come here to meet Mr. President for us to have reinforcement. We understand our territory more than anybody. We understand our territory very well. What is important is that everybody in the South West right now, we are all on the same page. We don’t want war and we want to work with government to defend our land”.
Asked to comment on alleged stigmatization of the Fulanis across the country, he said, “Well it is not about stigmatization, it is about separating the corn from the chaff. A lot of them are mixed up with the good ones.
“We are not saying all Fulanis are bad, it’s not only about the Fulanis, it’s not only about them, it’s about the bad miscreants that are even hiding under the name of Fulanis. We want to try as much as possible to work with the government right now. They have all the security apparatus, they are meant to defend us, that is what we are looking out for now. We have to stand up and meet with Mr. President and he has given us a listening ear and you will see a lot of result going forward”.