The meeting which took place on Saturday at Obasanjo’s home in Abeokuta was a tough one where former President Olusegun Obasanjo hosted Fulani leaders, led by National Chairman of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN), Sale Bayari, to discuss the rising insecurity in the South-west and parts of the North-central, particularly, Kogi and Kwara states.
Recalling that former president Obasanjo had recently raised alarm on Fulanization agenda, warning President Muhammadu Buhari about a possible “Fulanisation” of the country. However, a statement obtained by THISDAY from the elder statesman’s spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi, said a wide range of agreements were reached during the parley after the stakeholders acknowledged the problem of “criminality and insecurity”. The statement said it was critical for all Nigerians to come together to start talking to one another with a view to finding practical solutions to the security challenges.
“One of the problems worrying the society is the problem of cover-ups and denials by both community and public institutional leadership that ought to expose these problems and deal with them,” the statement said.
“The Fulani have both good and bad people,” the communique noted, adding, “The action of bad Fulani should not be taken against all the Fulani.”
In concluding the meeting, Obasanjo and the Fulani leaders resolved that “there has to be a deliberate community effort” to address the problems. They agreed on establishing a joint community responsibility among the Yoruba and Fulani leaders at the community levels.
The communiqué also noted, “From all the evidence, those who perpetrate these crimes, there are both non-Fulani and Fulani. We should begin to do things differently and in a new way to bring them out for sanctions.
“It is important to call on leaders who failed to do what they are supposed to do. Fulani who know the criminals among them must expose and report them to the appropriate institutions. So must other ethnic groups.”
Other recommendations reached were that there should be cooperation among Yoruba and Fulani groups and criminals should be handed over to security agencies.
The communique further said, “Fulani leaders and other groups are urged to approach traditional institutions anytime they find something that is not right within their communities. They should refer concerns among themselves to the different levels of traditional leadership up to the paramount traditional rulers.
“Identified criminals within the community should be handed over to the appropriate agency to be dealt with. Key stakeholders should be informed to ensure that justice or sanctions are carried out against culprits and not swept under the carpet.”
The statement further said, “There are Fulani who are born in the South-west third, fourth or even fifth generation who see themselves as children of Oduduwa, and who have nowhere to go except Oduduwa land.
“There are other tribes who feel so in Yorubaland, and there are Yoruba who feel so in other geopolitical regions of Nigeria. So the idea of moving tribal groups en masse from one geopolitical region to another is impracticable and should not be talked about by leaders.”
Obasanjo and the Fulani leaders agreed that the various tribes should work “as one community through our various efforts and responsibilities to protect and safeguard” the interest of the community.
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The stakeholders at the meeting said criminal Fulani herdsmen and non-herdsmen must be identified, exposed and brought to book, to serve as a deterrent to others.
“There must be punishment for lawbreakers. The same must apply to other criminals from other ethnic groups,” they stated.
Subsequently, Obasanjo and the Fulani leaders agreed to meet within three months to review the progress of implementation of the recommendations.
Following his suspension from the party, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo has accused the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of trying to destroy the party in the South-East.