Insecurity: Yoruba elders in Diaspora take case to UN


Yoruba elders in the Diaspora, under the aegis of the Yoruba Council of Elders in Europe and America (YCEEA), have petitioned the United Nations against the prevailing security situation in Nigeria, calling on the global body to prevent every attempt to foist Fulani dominance in Nigeria, warning it might lead to chaos and possible civil war.


In a letter to UN Secretary General, António Guterres by the group’s Coordinating Secretary, Elder Michael Olawale Shadare, the group alerted the world to the dangerous build-up to a possible genocide, owing to such grim occurrences as mindless killings and attempts by suspected Fulani herdsmen to acquire land forcefully with the support of the government in the southern part of the country. The YCEEA, which said available intelligence pointed to a genocide in the making on a scale never seen before, to be executed by armed militia positioned strategically around the country, urged the UN to urgently intervened and save Nigeria from implosion.


In the letter to the UN by the YCEEA, and copied to all Southwest Governors, traditional rulers and the Aare Ona Kakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, the Yoruba in Diaspora said if the UN Secretariat, the United Nations Assembly and United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect do not act now, the resultant crisis in Nigeria would destabilise the entire West African region on a scale never known before.


Highlighting some of the problems in the country, Shadare said: “Several cases of major assaults and onslaughts against Yoruba have been reported to the knowledge of Yoruba Council of Elders Europe and America, in which victims narrated their experiences and that of their families in the hands of Fulani herdsmen. A popular example is the case of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation in Nigeria, Chief Olu Falae, who suffered financial loss on his invaded farm, was kidnapped with ransome demanded, and his worker killed following repeated and incessant invasion of his farm by Fulani herdsmen.”


Painting the grim situation on hand, Shadare made reference to the call by a former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), in March 2018, on communities attacked by herdsmen in the country to rise up and defend themselves. Danjuma had said that it would be suicidal for people to continue to rely on the armed forces to defend them, asserting that government security forces were colluding with armed bandits to kill people, while also facilitating their movement.


Shadare alluded to yet another comment by a former Head of State, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in which he itemised an ongoing agenda of Fulanisation and Islamisation of Nigeria. Warning against the escalation of the crisis, Shadare noted that the actions of the Federal Government continue to fuel a situation where those attacking innocent citizens enjoy advantage of resources and logistics (land, money, radio frequency/communication equipment) from government.


According to him, the Fulani herdsmen “benefit from the inaction of authorities. No single person has been prosecuted despite the scale of the killings in the North-Central. Yet, they benefit from wrong rules designed by authorities, which makes innocent citizens additionally weak and vulnerable.” Shadare also frowned on the declaration of withdrawal of licenced firearms by Executive order of President Buhari, saying that most Nigerians saw it as the final call in the Fulani’s attempt to suppress and put into extinction millions of Yoruba and other Nigerians.


“Nigerians are facing imminent danger, which resulted from the actions and inactions of the government that has continued to create an atmosphere that equip and embolden bandits, while threatening, weakening and disarming innocent citizens,” he said in the statement. 


Worried by the rising spate of insecurity across the Southwest and simmering disagreements over perceived ideological differences among its leaders, Southwest Senators, under the auspices of Southwest Senators Caucus of the 9th Assembly, have resolved to convoke an all-Yoruba stakeholders meeting to discuss the various challenges besetting the region. learnt that the meeting would address critical security issues, such as the ongoing tension between the Southwest and the North over the activities of Fulani herdsmen and the socio-economic and political implications on Yorubaland, as well as the demand for restructuring. It is hoped that after the meeting, a bill would be presented to Parliament for deliberation.


Aside security issues, the planned meeting of Southwest Senators and leaders would also be used to kick-start the process of bringing all warring factions of Yoruba leaders together. Specifically, the Senators envisage that a lasting solution would be found to the lingering face-off between the factions of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, which are led by Pa Reuben Fasoranti on one hand, Pa Ayo Fasanmi on another and the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) led by Wale Oshun. 


The meeting would also be attended by such groups as the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF), Yoruba Ronu, Council of Traditional Rulers, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), and other notable Yoruba personalities across political party divides. 


The meeting would enable all sides to table their positions on diverse issues. It is most likely that after the planned meeting, the Senators will lead a select team of leaders from all the groups to meet President Muhammadu Buhari to present a common front and set of demands for the Yoruba nation.”