Alao Abiodun, The Nation
Ondo Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has stated many of the killer herders perpetrating criminal activities speak common language according to the debriefing from those kidnapped.
Akeredolu stated this on Monday night during an interview on Channels TV monitored by The Nation.
He said most of them were speaking “Fulfulde”.
Fulfulde language is Fula or Fulani.
The language is spoken by people in West Africa. It is widely spoken in Guinea, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Senegambia, Sudan, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Chad, Ghana, Liberia, Benin, Chad, Togo, Gabon, Congo and Cameroon either as a first or second language.
Fulfulde speakers are among the most culturally spread and diverse people in West Africa.
According to Checks by The Nation, there are nomadic and settled Fulfudes.
The settled Fulfuldes can mainly be found in cities and villages while the nomadic groups move about from place to place.
Akeredolu, when quizzed about the identity of these killer herdsmen said: “Essentially in Ondo state is our discovery of criminal herdsmen who were using our forest reserve to perpetrate crimes and we said look we cannot stay by and watch things happen this way. People were kidnapped. We’ve been debriefed by all of them, and we know people who took them.
“If you’re not licensed to be in the forest, then you’ll be taken to be doing illegal ventures, that’s where we stand.
“My duty does not include profiling those who come into the country, but all I know is that those perpetrating these crimes have a common language. Whether they are foreigners or from here, it is a matter of police to go after them and identify them.
“What we had from those who have been debriefed is that they spoke the language that was clear to them.
“Most of them were speaking Fulfulde and that is clear, this is a common language spoken across the length and breadth for particularly West Africa and some part of North Africa, so how did they come here
“One of our major problems is when we have issues of this nature, and we have Miyeti Allah, if they are not your members, there is no need to defend them.”
Akeredolu who is also the Chairman of the Southwest Governors Forum added: “What we expect from Mr. President is for him to come out and let Nigerians know that he does not support criminality.
“He once said if you find anybody with arms without a license, they should be arrested. Security agencies must be at work without rest… Everyone has said no to open grazing, then the law should follow.”
He carpeted Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed for saying herdsmen were carrying AK-47 for self-defence.
Akeredolu said Mohammed did not speak like a “statesman”.
He said: “Bala Mohammed has not spoken like a statesman, how can you come out to say people should come out and carry firearms (AK-47) when it is illegal, people are not licensed to carry guns?
“Bala Mohammed has only added more petrol to the fire. No governor should speak that way, so I should ask my people to carry guns? Statements like that must be condemned and I condemn it.”
On interventions of popular Islamic cleric Sheikh Gumi and Yoruba rights activitst Sunday Igboho, he said: “Sunday Igboho is a child of circumstance and we must look at the circumstances that led to his intervention.
“I do not support people taking law into their hands. I do not support illegality. Those circumstances might not be legal, but when you look at it is just based on circumstances.”