*says they are not criminals
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Oyo State chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association on Monday demanded immediate release of 46 Fulani vigilante members reportedly arrested by men of the Oyo State Joint Security Outfit, Operation Burst.
Addressing journalists in Ibadan, the state Chairman of Miyetti Allah, Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakar Jiji said the 46 vigilante members were arrested at Igangan by the security agencies on Saturday and are still in police net at the Eruwa Police Area command.
Alhaji Jiji declared that the arrested vigilante members were arrested while on their way to rescue a suspected kidnapped person whose case was just reported to the Fulani Community in the area.
“The 46 Vigilante members that were arrested have been useful for the state for many years. All the 46 Vigilantes are not criminals, they are the people arresting criminals. Even those criminals arrested by our men are with police as we speak. Thief is thief and not Fulani. Tribe is different from criminality. We are ready to work with Oyo state government to stop criminality in the state.” he said
According to the Miyetti Allah Chairman stressed that the Fulani vigilante members were earlier in the day schedule to join the Amotekun corps in combing some of the forests in Ibarapaland to flush out suspected criminals alleging that only for the Amotekun corps to carry out the raiding single handedly.
They invited us to a meeting in Ibadan where they told us that they needed our support to fight insecurity in Ibarapa area. We told them that we are going to give them 50 among our Vigilantes who are Fulanis. They have been doing the Vigilante job for a very long time, therefore they know how to arrest criminals. When the Amotekun were about to leave for the operation, we were still in Eruwa with some of our men who are Vigilantes when we heard they have attacked the village”, he said
He stated further, “when those of us who are leaders stood up and went to the village. When we got there,we saw that three people have already been killed. When I saw the incident, I approached the commandant of Amotekun to know his view on the incident. I asked the leader of Amotekun why they didn’t wait for us, but he didn’t answer me. We called our men who are waiting for us in Eruwa to leave the venue of our meeting that they should return to their homes because Amotekun have done another thing. Our plan was not to kill anybody.”
“In the evening of the same day (Saturday) one of the Vigilantes called us that two people were kidnapped in Igangan area of the state, we called the Vigilantes and told them that they should go and search for the criminals that kidnapped those children but they must inform police before going. While going, they were arrested in Igangan. They called us that Soldiers have arrested them. They told us that the commandant of the soldiers has left the for palace of Seriki Igangan.
“Retuning from the palace, the commandant just arrested them and took them to police station. Those who were going to fight criminals are the set of the people they are parading as criminals. Those people are not criminals but they are the people securing us. They are registered Vigilantes and they are working with police and other security agencies.”
According to Alhaji Jiji while insisting that the about 80 year old man and his two children were shot dead by the Amotekun corps at Okebi village on Saturday emphasized that herders in the state under his leadership are not in support crime and criminaliities in the state, saying, “I am not happy with the old man that was killed by Amotekun killed. The man is an old man. He was over 70 year when they killed him with his two children. I am not happy at what happened at all. He is an Alfa and he has been there for over 45years now before he was killed.”
“We are ready to fish out the criminals in our midst, we are not in support of criminals or crimes in any form. We are not in support of criminal elements. We have been cooperating with security agencies with our own vigilante to rid our areas of criminals and crimes”
Speaking further, the Miyetti Allah Chairman called on the Oyo state government to recruit and include some Fulani men particularly men of the Fulani vigilante group into Amotekun corps as in the Nigeria military and other Federal security agencies to aid its operations and as well as to resolve the language barriers while dealing with others especially the non Yoruba.
” I am appealing to state government to leave these people. They are not thief. They are the people who are securing us because we may need them in another time. Why we want them to include our members in Amotekun is because of language barrier. We appeal to Oyo state government to include other tribes in Amotekun for efficiency of their job.”