The apex Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, yesterday urged the international community to intervene in the crisis between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria to stem the tide.
It also backed Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who warned of an imminent civil war if the herdsmen crisis rocking the South-west region is not properly handled.
It also accused the presidency of always being the first to defend the herdsmen any time they kill people.
Afenifere National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, while featuring on ‘The Morning Show,’ a programme of ARISE NEWS Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, said the intervention of members of the international community will help stem the crisis.
In a recent interview with BBC Pidgin, Soyinka had said: “We may enter a phase of serial skirmishes, which may get more and more violent and develop – I hate to use the word – may develop into a civil war, and a very untidy and messy one at that. That is my biggest fear.”
Reacting to Soyinka’s comments, the Afenifere spokesman said: “The Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, is (well) known. You cannot say that he is beating the drum of war or he is an alarmist. People are painting the reality that is on the ground. If what is happening in the South-west today, let’s say some Yoruba boys had gone to do one per cent of that in the North, there would have been a war in this country by now.
“So, when Professor Wole Soyinka is warning President Buhari now that if you don’t speak up now, what is going on will lead to civil war, he is not just talking in vain.”
Odumakin accused Buhari of maintaining ‘civil silence’ over the heinous crimes committed by renegade herders while the presidency continues to act as their mouthpiece.
“But the world and the international community should be interested in Nigeria at this moment and get Nigeria out of this mess.
“It is clear now that the possibility of internal solutions is getting limited, we don’t have an authority in leadership that can get us out of this mess. And the implication of war in Nigeria for the rest of the world is very serious.
“Therefore, they should get on their feet now and begin to get interested in Nigeria to get us out of this mess that we are in,” he said.
Odumakin accused the presidency of always being the first to defend herdsmen any time they kill people.
He also slammed some Northern leaders for only finding their voice when the victims of herdsmen attack rise up in resistance.
He said: “Because we don’t want a war situation, that is why we have been maintaining our calm. But (when) it gets to a point where people will say enough is enough; when the victims are beginning to rise to say we’ve had enough of this, the first person that we’ll hear that will be talking is Nasir el-Rufai who openly defended the killings of Southern Kaduna people by funding Fulani herdsmen.”
He berated some Northern leaders whom he accused of being silent on the killings going on in the South-west.
“We have not heard anything about sorry from any of them, now they are talking because the victims are saying we have had enough of it.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have a government that is governmental. Instead of the government defending the right to life of the people, you see that any time these herdsmen kill people, the first line of defence is the spokesmen of the presidency, they are the first to defend them,” he said.
Odumakin recalled that when the Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), gave a lawful order for herdsmen to vacate the forest reserves in the state, “It was Garba Shehu that first defended the rights of the herdsmen to the forest as if their animals are now human beings.”