*says some journalists are heating up ethnic tension in the state
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde on Wednesday warned against any individual or group handing down unauthorised ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen to leave any part of the state as a result of the increasing spate of insecurity in the Ibarapa area of the state
Handing down the warning in a statewide broadcast, the governor also lashed out at some journalists who according to him, are allowing themselves to be used as tools to stoke ethnic tensions in Oyo State
Engineer Makinde in the broadcast disclosed that he will “not hesitate to take appropriate action against any individuals who try to disrupt the peace of the state, as his administration will continue to take all necessary steps to protect residents from harassment, thuggery and banditry.
“Let me state that we shall not sit back and watch anyone make any law-abiding resident of Oyo State feel unsafe in their homes, farms, or business places. We are aware of some people circulating flyers and giving people ultimatums to leave their land. This is totally unacceptable and will not be condoned.” he said
Governor Makinde added, “we cannot overlook the fact that there have indeed been instances that cause concern. The fragile peace between the herdsmen and farmers in Oke Ogun is being threatened. Individuals who are not authorised are going around chasing people from their homes and causing mayhem. This assault on residents of Oyo State is not the way to further the Yoruba cause”.
According to the governor, “the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which I swore to defend and protect, guarantees freedom of movement in Section 41(1), such that citizens are free to reside in any part of the country without fear.”, saying, “we are determined to preserve that right in Oyo State.Therefore, I am calling on any individuals or groups planning to take any actions that would lead to the forcible removal of anyone from Oyo State to desist from taking such actions”.
Governor Makinde vowed that “any persons who fail to abide by this directive will face the full wrath of the law.”, r
Directing all the Local Government and Local Council Development Area Chairpersons in the state ” to work with the traditional rulers and the officers of the security agencies to ensure that peace is maintained in all parts of the state”, he cautioned traditional rulers in the state against been part of the illegal act.
“Let me also use this medium to speak to our traditional rulers. They must not be part of any plans to disrupt the peaceful coexistence of residents of Oyo State. I must reiterate that we will not hesitate to take appropriate action against any individuals who try to disrupt the peace in Oyo State. Our administration is taking all necessary steps to protect the good people of Oyo State from harassment, thuggery and banditry. We believe we have the situation under control.”
Engineer Makinde maintained that “it is time for us to come together and put the interests of our state first”, saying, “we have a common enemy. That enemy is not the Hausa Fulani who is looking for pasture for his flock. It is not the farmer who just wants to grow food to sell in the market or to feed his family. Our enemies are the hoodlums, cultists, armed robbers, kidnappers and bandits.”
“We have constitutionally empowered people who will arrest and prosecute these criminals. Our job, as active citizens, is to help them where we can to identify these enemies. Report any criminals and criminal activities you are privy to and let the authorities take action. If you see something, say something. With our collective efforts, we can continue to keep the peace in Oyo State. Together, we can preserve the secure environment that has contributed to the growth of our economy.”
On the alleged roles of some journalists, the governor said some journalists have allowed themselves to be used as tools to stoke ethnic tensions in the state, saying some stories in the media are targeted at exaggerating the security situation in Oyo state.
“The past few weeks’ events have made it imperative that I address issues that have to do with the internal security of our dear state. Barely a week ago, I had cause to call out members of the press who were allowing themselves to be used to stoke ethnic tensions among the good people of Oyo State. There have been stories in the press targeted at exaggerating the security situation in the state.”