New Telegraph


…says president who should tackle insecurity has agenda to Fulanise nation

Elder statesman and a chieftain of a Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has taken President Muhammadu Buhari to task, saying that he has not lived up to expectation. Adebanjo, who spoke in a telephone interview with OLADIPUPO AWOJOBI is not comfortable with the perceived silence of the Federal Government in the face of the atrocities being committed by Fulani herdsmen. He also stated that the report of the 2014 Constitutional Conference should be revisited. Excerpts…

Do you think restructuring of Nigeria will put an end to constant attacks by Fulani herdsmen?

We know the solution, but the people who can bring about the solution haven’t got the power. President Muhammadu Buhari should stop being the president of Fulanis. Have Buhari and northern elders been able to do anything about their people that we are accusing of killing other people and committing atrocities? We have not asked the Fulanis to go, we have not asked Alhaji Aliko Dangote or some other northerners to go, we are specific about the Fulanis that are committing havoc and the havocs are clear: they are raping, killing and destroying our farms. They would not talk about that at all, they just said: “they are killing our people.

“The Federal Government that has the power forbids members of “Amotekun” corps from carrying arms, yet they don’t arrest Fulani herdsmen that carry AK47. When people get to the extreme, they will say they don’t want to be in Nigeria, this is the greatest injustice. You remember that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State went to President Buhari to complain about Fulani herdsmen that reportedly killed about 300 people in the state and burnt the whole place. Nobody was arrested, and what did the president say, he said “go and make friends with the people.”

Make friends with those who are killing their people, and he is the only one that can handle the matter. Did you hear the president say: “why are you doing this?” Is that not an approval by body language and the people that are speaking are crying.

You say they should leave it to the authority; if the authority had acted nobody would complain. We are talking of Sunday Igboho, look at the instances that he showcased. They killed their people, they raped and did so many things, they reported the matter to the police and the police did not do anything. Neither the Federal Government nor the state government did anything. They did not make any arrest not to talk of prosecution and the people reacted.

We are no fools. Governor Seyi Makinde was saying that they were asking for state police. They are talking about “Amotekun” corps whereas the operatives of the corps cannot carry arms and you want them to attack those who are carrying arms. These people are just taking us for fools.

Can the Yorubas get to Kano or Sokoto State to say they have a reserved area to go and plant cocoa? These people they are asking to go have been living with them for centuries and we know them as drug couriers and they have AK47. They carry arms without having licenses and they don’t even hide them. These are the arms they are using to wreak all sorts of havoc.

By the time we do restructuring the state police would have power to protect their people. Our Governors have no power to control the police, which is why I call them lame duck Governors and they have not refuted it. You gave them “Amotekun” in form of state police, what is the position now?

When we talk of restructuring forget about where the presidency would go, let us agree to stay together first. We will settle these things at the constitutional conference. They said we should obey the constitution that we are complaining about. Where have they accused the Igbos of wreaking havoc in the north? They know that they are adding to their economy. Where have they accused them of raping their women? We are pointing to the havoc the northerners are doing and they are not talking about that.

So, how do we get out of this mess?

We should go into restructuring and let us be autonomous so that we can take care of our security, economy, local governments. All these things we are complaining of are contained in our awkward and fraudulent constitution. What is the basis of the local governments that we have created? They created more local governments in the north than in the south and they say that the money we are contributing should be distributed based on the number of local governments in the country. The north has more local governments and they take a large chunk of the money, yet they contribute the least to the economy. That is why I say the constitution is fraudulent. We say federal republic, are we federal? This is the constitution created by the military. I continue to say that President Muhammadu Buhari does not have any plan to keep this country together; he has a private plan to Fulanise this country. I am repeating it. He should refute it, if he doesn’t want to Fulanise Nigeria. People are saying that these people wreaking havoc in our area; you did not do anything and you have the power to stop them. He didn’t take any action, they have not made any arrests not to talk of prosecution, the people now react and you say why did they react? What an injustice.

Do we need another National Constitutional Conference or we should go back to the 2014 National Constitutional Conference?

If President Buhari is not narrowminded, the 2014 Constitutional Conference has done the job. I have said it before, take out what is wrong, the one that is okay, let us put it there and move forward. If you don’t accept it, set up your own and let us agree. What we are saying is that this constitution we are operating is not our own. It was imposed by one section of the country, which is where they are able to exercise all these power. According to this constitution, we have the most powerful president in the whole world. I am repeating it and I have challenged the Federal Government to refute it and they have not. I don’t hate President Buhari, I have campaigned for him, my group, Afenifere campaigned for him in 2007, when he promised to do restructuring, they have not refuted that. Why does he want to be deceiving us? Like I said, Buhari has a private agenda to Fulanise Nigeria, if he does not, then let him restructure now.

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