The Deputy Chairman, Yoruba Unity Forum, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu, has asked the people of the South-West to defend themselves with anything at their disposal to stop the incessant attacks by the Fulani herdsmen in the region.
Ladigbolu said this in an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Ile-Ife, Osun State, after his condolence visit to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, at the monarch’s palace over the communal clash between Yoruba and Hausa in the town.
The retired cleric explained that self defence had become imperative since the government had abdicated its responsibilities to the citizens who were being oppressed and terrorised every day by the rampaging herdsmen.
While berating the silence of the Federal Government on the atrocities being committed by Fulani herdsmen, Ladigbolu argued that governors in the South-West were not doing enough to defend their people or to stop the herdsmen daily attacks.
Ladigbolu said, “I am not sure the South-West governors are doing enough and indeed, my own fears is that could this be a rehearsal of the ground design to invade Yorubaland using decoys? That is my personal fears.
“But all we can do at the moment is to ask our people to be vigilant and to defend themselves and protect their lives and property. That is about what we can do for now until we are sure that we have a government that will be fair to all and that will be just to all and that will not be partisan in dealing with issues that affect our communities.”
Speaking on the police investigation into the March 8 clash in Ile-Ife, Ladigbolu said the group was happy that the Osun State Government had set up a panel of inquiry to probe the matter.
Ladigbolu added that he believed that the panel would do a thorough job and come out with a report which would explain the issues surrounding the deadly clash.
He said governments and traditional rulers should call meetings of various ethnic nationalities in their domains to ensure constant dialogue so that the people would know the idiosyncrasies and peculiar things about one another.
The YUF leader had earlier, while addressing the Ooni, stated that vigilance was one of the lessons God wanted Yoruba people to learn from the clash against the Hausa people at the Sabo area of Ile-Ife.
Another leader of the YUF, Senator Femi Okurounmu, said despite the current problems confronting Nigeria, the nation would still be at peace and enjoy development later.
The Ooni called on Yoruba leaders to unite and work more for the development of the race.
He advised Yoruba people against allowing politics to divide them, saying they should unite irrespective of their political affiliations.
The Ooni noted that Yoruba people were unique in the whole world because of their religious tolerance, adding that Christians, Muslims and adherents of other religions coexisted without any fight in Yorubaland.
The Ogiyan of Ejigbo, Oba Omowonuola Oyesosin, also said Yoruba people needed unity more than before.
He said other ethnic groups were envious of the Yoruba race, which could inform the attacks against them.