There was grave concern on Monday after a legal practitioner, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, posted pictures on the internet about some suspected Fulani herdsmen mounting roadblock in Ondo State.
The photos apart, Mr. Ajulo also texted, “They (herdsmen) are already mounting highways with guns openly doing ‘security work’ and they have direct phone lines with the neighboring police stations confirming they are legitimate.”
“A few days ago I condemned the mounting of roadblocks in the South-East by these Fulani Vigilante. Unknown to me, they are already in the South-West. They even showed me their identity cards.”
However, the state government say it is not aware of the development, saying in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Donald Ojogo, that it had sent for the arrest of the unauthorised group or persons claiming to be Fulani vigilante in the state.
The statement read, “The Ondo State Government observes with concern trending pictures of an identity card carrying men identified as Fulani vigilante in the Akoko area of the state. Various claims have been as regards the activities, duties as well as supposed mandate of these men in question.
“It is pertinent to recall that at the height of the incessant kidnap cases, the Ondo State Government took some far-reaching drastic measures which included a marching order to the law-abiding Hausa/Fulani leadership in the area to fish out criminal elements among them who took advantage of the rosy relationship between the indigenes and their law-abiding guests.
“As a measure to curb and possibly, stamp out cases of kidnap in the area, the Hausa Fulani leadership was directed to select a handful of trusted men amongst them who could serve as tour guides in the thick forest as security agencies prepared to comb the forests. This measure yielded results.”
“It is important to note however, that while Government appreciates the efforts of those who volunteered to provide information and served as tour guides to the security agencies in the ongoing operations in the area, it will not tolerate any unathourised move by any group to take an undue advantage of the current state of insecurity in the country.
“Succinctly, government, having been unaware of any such identity card carrying persons in the name of a vigilante group, has directed security agencies to get to the root of the matter and apprehend any such person or group of persons operating in that manner.”
Meanwhile, the Publicity Secretary of the Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin,condmned the development in a phone chat with the Punch, noting that it is not good for Yorubaland.
He said, “We have seen the pictures, It is a big affront on Yoruba nation, that the Fulani vigilante has now been set up throughout the Yorubaland, carrying arms, mounting checkpoints when our own elected governors would not be allowed to set up state police.”
“We now have bandits, terrorists, carrying guns on our streets, even mounting roadblocks. This is a monumental tragedy for our nation. This means Buhari administration does not mean well for the unity of this country.”