Haleem Olatunji, The CableNG
Afenifere, Yoruba sociopolitical group, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s government of prioritising Fulani interests above those of other ethnic groups.
The president, who hails from Daura in Katsina state, is a Fulani man.
Reacting to the comment of Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, on the order for herders to vacate the forest reserves in Ondo state, Yinka Odumakin, national publicity secretary of Afenifere, said the group is not surprised by the statement from the presidency.
On Monday, Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo, gave herders a seven-day ultimatum to leave forests in the state over rising criminality.
But in a swift response, Shehu said the governor can not order herders out of Ondo, adding that the action could set off a chain of events “which the makers of our constitution foresaw and tried to guard against”.
Responding, Afenifere said the development shows Buhari’s preference for promoting Fulani interests.
The association said the swift response by the presidency is a sign that the incumbent “government has a serious problem with heating the rest of us when the issue involves its anointed Fulanis”.
“The intervention by what we mistakenly call the Federal Government of Nigeria on behalf of marauding Fulanis in Ondo State against the lawful government in that state did not come to Afenifere as a surprise as it is in line with the non-pretence by this regime that it represents only Fulani interests against those of Yoruba, Igbo, Junkun, Ijaw and other tribes in Nigeria,” Odumakin said in a statement.
“That the Federal Government and its minion, Garba Shehu, could only hear Ondo State when Governor Akeredolu was very loud and clear about herders to vacate forest reserves in the state is symptomatic that this government has a serious problem with heating the rest of us when the issue involves its anointed Fulanis.
“The Fulani criminals have caused untold hardships in Ondo State and other Yoruba towns and cities in recent time and only an irresponsible government that wants to behave like our Federal Government will continue to fold its arms.
“Are Ondo forest reserves under Ondo State Government or the Federal Government and Miyetti Allah? We agree with the Ondo State Government that the insensibility of Garba Shehu violates the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
Afenifere urged Yoruba people to stand with the governor, asking other south-west governors to emulate Akeredolu in order to “free our land from the Fulani who have surrounded us with the shield of the Federal Government”.
“What has this government done to assure our people that it can protect our lives with the open murders of Mrs Funke Olakunri, the Olufon of Ifon and the Deputy Registrar of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, among many others? The lives of our people and other non-Fulani communities are daily being taken by local and foreign Fulani bandits without any sign that these lives matter to the government with its desire to shield the Fulanis from the laws,” the statement read.
“Nobody would ever have believed that it would get to this irresponsible stage that the Federal Government will one come to this barbaric level Garba Shehu has taken it and the peak of their direct salvos. Let them declare open war on behalf of the Fulani and our ancestors will all wake up in their graves.”