Yoruba leaders, yesterday, dismissed claims by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore that South-West governors were shielding Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, from arrest by the Department of State Service, DSS.
They described the allegation as divisive and satanic, saying the DSS should go after marauding herdsmen and their sponsors and not Ighoho.
This came as the South West governors said they would not dignify the herders’ group with a response.
The Department of State Services, DSS, had raided Igboho’s Ibadan residence in Oyo State on July 1, detained 13 of his followers and killed two of the activist’s associates in a gun battle.
S-West govs hiding Igboho—Miyetti Allah
Spokesman of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Saleh Alhassan, in an interview, said the DSS should have raided Igboho’s house earlier than it did, just as it advised the activist to turn himself in.
Alhassan said: “It is in his (Igboho) own best interest if he submits himself peacefully so that he can face justice. Why is he running? Is he not a revolutionary?
“He should submit himself before they get him because as it is now, he has been declared wanted, he should present himself to the nearest police station.”
Alleging that the South-West governors are hiding Igboho, he said: “All his (Igboho’s) actions are political; he is being used. His godfathers in the South-West should bring him out.
“The security agencies are speaking the language he understands, they will get him. I know the governors are hiding him but they (security agents) will get him.
“The (Nigerian) State has declared him wanted. He is not more than the state. The governors keeping him should produce him.
“He declared a republic; that was a rebellion. How can you be threatening the sovereignty of the (Nigerian) State and you still have the guts to be walking around and organising rallies?”
Meanwhile, angry reactions trailed Miyetti Allah Hore’s allegations yesterday, as the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE; the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere and leader of the Ilana Omo Oodua, Professor Banji Akintoye, said the herders’ group deserve no attention from serious-minded people.
They deserve no attention from serious-minded people —Afenifere
When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Comrade Jare Ajayi, said expletives from a spokesman of an organisation like Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Saleh Alhassan, ordinarily deserved no attention from serious-minded people.
He said the Miyetti Allah’s scribe’s position was not out of arrogance but the fact that the man in question hardly spoke sense whenever he spoke on national issues, especially issues that had any link with herdsmen.
He said: “But, we like to say the following to set the record straight so that Alhassan and his ilk would not take it that his assertion was correct.
‘There was no record that the man (Igboho) was invited but refused to honour the invitation. There was no record that he was violent in the way he goes about his agitation.
“There is no justification whatsoever, therefore, for the DSS to invade his house in the dead of the night the way they did. There was no search warrant or any civility in their approach.
“It is known that any human-run institution can make mistakes. When such occurs, remedial steps are taken in civilized climes as exemplified by the way the policeman in America was made to face justice for suffocating Floyd unlawfully.
“But what do we normally have here? When security agencies conduct inhuman actions, including extra-judicial killings, such actions are said to have been carried out by ‘unknown gunmen’.
“With that type of official cover, unscrupulous security officers engage in actions for which they ought to be reprimanded. They do this with impunity, knowing full well that they would get away with it.”
The spokesman said that it was to put an end to this type of impunity that Afenifere is insisting on restructuring.
He added that bandits among the herders and kidnappers were those security agencies ought to pursue vigorously.
“Unfortunately, they tend to expend energies on those who are carrying out peaceful rallies in the open.
“This is part of what makes democratising the police service very imperative,” he said.
Miyetti Allah handful of ill-informed people—YCE
Also reacting, Secretary-General of the YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said: “How do you give much recognition to Miyetti Allah? I feel uncomfortable when you journalists are talking about Miyetti Allah, they are just a group of people who sit in a place and churn out utter rubbish. I don’t even want to react to whatever they say but since you have asked, I will oblige you.
“Miyetti Allah is a handful of ill-informed people, who pretend to be speaking for people they don’t know and against people they don’t understand. The allegation of shielding Igboho is very elementary.
“I have repeatedly said that Igboho is my son and for me, he has to keep himself away from this administration that does not recognize and acknowledge freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom to express an opinion.
“The Federal Government which has refused to take action against bandits who are North, who are criminals, kidnapping and murdering people in tens and hundreds, has not used the same force, the same viciousness used in addressing and addressed Sunday Igboho to apprehend those criminals there.
“For me, our governors in South-West are too busy doing the jobs they are elected to do. We don’t want any group of ill-formed people to insult them. We voted them into office because we have found them worthy of holding that office. I would not want our governors to respond to them.
“Miyetti Allah should turn their guns to their governors in the north and presidency for accommodating banditry and unknown gunmen this far.”
DSS should go after killer herders, backers—Akintoye
On his part, leader of Ilana Omo Oodua, Professor Banji Akintoye, urged the DSS to go after marauding herdsmen and their sponsors and not Igboho.
Akintoye, who spoke through his Communications Manager, Maxwell Adeleye, said: “Miyetti Allah is operating in another world entirely. They are acting like they are above the law because the Federal Government made them look untouchable. They have abused governors, threatened state governments, and laid claim to killings of thousands across the South and Middle Belt of Nigeria.
“Their members have raped and maimed scores of people without being made to account for their crimes against humanity.
“Now, they have taken their crass aberration to the peace-loving Yoruba Nation because our elected representatives now have chosen to speak and stand in support of their people.
“Now, I have bad news for Miyyeti Allah: This is the beginning of the end of their reign of terror and hooliganism in the South-West. Wherever they may be or hiding, they shall be crushed through the instrumentalities of law to be enacted by our governors.
“Their claim that our governors are shielding Ighoho from DSS arrest is divisive and satanic. The DSS should be pursuing the murderous members of Miyetti Allah, not Ighoho, who has not committed any offence known to Nigeria and international laws. He is not a criminal.”
We won’t dignify herdsmen group with response — Govs
But the South West Governors’ Forum said it will not dignify the herders’ group with a response.
When contacted, Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Donald Ojogo, who spoke on behalf of chairman of South West Governors Forum and governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, said: “If what that group says is worthy and publishable to the extent that the reaction of Southwest governors are sought, the governors will rather keep quiet. Let whoever attaches importance to such publish what the group says.”