The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, says it is not surprising that presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, is silent over last weekend’s attack by gunmen at Igangan, in the Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State.
Media Aide to Adams, Kehinde Aderemi, stated this on Wednesday in an interview with newsmen
According to him, Shehu would have been the first to issue a statement condemning such a heinous act if Northerners were victims of such an attack.
It was earlier reported that no fewer than 17 indigenes of Igangan were reportedly shot dead when the hoodlum invaded the town on motorcycles around 11pm on Saturday and started killing and destroying property, which continued until around 3am on Sunday.
The palace of the Asigangan of Igangan, Oba Lasisis Adeoye, was also razed by the gunmen, but the monarch escaped because he did not sleep in the palace.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Ngozi Onadeko, had condemned the attack and urged residents to remain calm and trust the police while promising that those behind the attack would be apprehended.
Reacting to the silence of the Presidency on the attack which has been widely condemned, Aderemi said, “It is very clear that the Federal Government is not even ready to issue any statement regarding the attack. The Federal Government would be the first to condemn such an attack if it had happened in the North or affected Northerners but Garba Shehu as he is, we know where he is coming from, so, we are not expecting any miracle from him. As Aare said in a previous statement, those that perpetrated the act are beating the drum of war in the country.”
“Those killed in Igangan town have their families and friends, there is blood flowing in their veins and in a moment their lives were cut short by killer herdsmen and bandits in their home,” Adams had alleged.
Last weekend attack has been described as a reprisal by killer herders in reaction to their eviction from Ibarapaland following an ultimatum given to them by Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo also known as Sunday Igboho.
Igboho and his supporters had stormed the rustic town in January 2021 and issued an eviction notice to suspected criminal herders residing in Igangan.
The natives subsequently burnt the houses, cars, palace and palace of one Seriki Salihu Abdukadir, who was said to be the leader of the herdsmen in the town. The villagers had accused Abdukadir of complicity in the serial kidnapping, rape, and killings of farmers in the area but the Seriki, who has since moved to Kwara State, denied the allegations.
Also, earlier in the year, some members of the Oodua Peoples Congress had arrested one alleged notorious Fulani warlord in the Ayete area, close to Igangan, also in Ibarapaland. Wakili was subsequently handed over to the Nigeria Police Force but the Oyo State Police Command accused the OPC operatives of arson and murder during their arrest of Wakili and his cohorts. The suspects have remained in police custody while the matter is in court.
When contacted by our correspondent, the two sons of Seriki, Ibrahim and Umoru, denied knowing anything about the recent attack in Igangan but the Convener, Igangan Development Advocates, Oladiran Oladokun, believed otherwise.
The South-West Governors Forum last weekend vowed to defend the region against any attack by rampaging marauders. Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, condemned the Igangan attack, describing it as “horrendous, callous and highly provocative.”
“While we will encourage the security agencies to get to the root of this latest act of provocation, we have directed the commanders of the South West Security Network, Amotekun, to convoke a joint security meeting of all commanders in the South-West with a view to commencing joint operations in the region immediately.
“We must reiterate the fact that certain elements are bent on causing friction among the people of this country with the sole aim of achieving a pernicious end. They will stop at nothing until their set goal is realised. It is, therefore, incumbent on all lovers of peace and freedom to rise against this current regression into savagery,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
The overwhelming insecurity in the region had forced the six governors of the South-West to inaugurate the security outfit to tackle peculiar security threats in the region. The Amotekun Corps had also got the constitutional backing of the six state assemblies in the region.
Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti states have since kick-started the operations of the security outfit endorsed by the governments of the six South-West states last year.
However, the supposed effectiveness of the security outfit has been hampered by the fact that the personnel have not been licensed to bear arms.
It was earlier reported that Senator Kola Balogun representing Oyo South Senatorial District in the 9th Assembly – which covered Ibarapaland – appealed to the Federal Government to allow the Amotekun personnel to bear arms.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, who also vowed that the Igangan attack of last weekend won’t recur, said he won’t hesitate to arm Amotekun corps in the state with sophisticated weapons like AK-47 if the Federal Government gives approval to the security outfit to bear such arms.
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, had also said it was suicidal for the operatives of Amotekun to carry on without bearing arms because the criminal elements they were to confront use sophisticated weapons, arguing that if a private citizen could apply for a licence to bear arms for self-defence, the Amotekun Corps were also entitled to the same benefit.