Trouble Brews Between Yoruba And Hausa Community In South West Over Falae’s Kidnap By Fulani Herdsmen
Trouble no doubt is brewing between the Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani community in South West Nigeria over the alleged kidnap of prominent Yoruba leader, Chief Olu Falae by Fulani herdsmen from his farm in the suburb of Akure, the Ondo state capital on Monday.
The family of the abducted National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has categorically blamed Fulani herdsmen for the abduction. Falae was abducted at his farm in Ilado in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo state by hoodlums suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
This is even as the kidnappers have reduced the ransom placed on Falae from N100 million to N90 million. The Personal Assistant to Chief Falae, Mr Moshood Raji who spoke on behalf of the family yesterday alleged that the Fulani herdsmen were behind the kidnap of his principal, noting that there had been incessant face off between the herdsmen and the Afenifere Chieftain over the frequent invasion of his farm by cattle.
According to him “the Fulani herdsmen always brought their cattle to chief’s farm and they often invaded the farm. This has caused a lot of problem between them and Chief. Some weeks ago we arrested some of them and they were detained at the state Police Command headquarters.”
He added that “it got to a time that the Secretary of Fulani community told Chief to erect fence around his big farm so that his men would not be entering it with their cattle. He also threatened that his men will deal with Chief if anything happens to any of them.”
Raji also disclosed that the kidnappers have reduced the ransom earlier placed on the elder statesman from N100cmillion to N90 million, saying one of the kidnappers communicated with the family on the development.
It was however learnt that negotiation was still on between the family and the abductors, even as the where about of the 77 year old politician remains unknown. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mike Ogbodu, who visited the family, today assured that the Police would ensure safe return of Falae, saying over 50 police officers had been deployed to the point of his kidnap.
Meanwhile, the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Yoruba Unity Forum has described the kidnap of Falae by suspected Fulani herdsmen as a declaration of war on the Yoruba nation. The YUF warned that the entire Yoruba nation was poised to confront Falae’s kidnappers and fight back, unless his abductors set him free within the next 24 hours.
The Vice Chairman of the YUF, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu gave this warning while speaking with newsmen shortly after condoling with the Awolowo family in Ikenne. Ladigbolu who condemned the abduction of the former minister of finance, said a man of Falae’s status did not deserve such a maltreatment.
He stated that the Yoruba people would handle the issue of the kidnapping of one their leaders with all the seriousness the matter deserved. According to the YUF leader, “Concerning the reported kidnapping of Chief Olu Falae, a member of the forum, we want to register our very strong sadness over this development in Nigeria. Much as the fact that kidnapping generally is disturbing especially to any right thinking person, most particularly unhappy that a leader of our country, among who was once upon a secretary to the government of this country, a man who had served as a minister in Nigeria, a leader of a national political party, a presidential candidate in Nigeria, someone who is known throughout the world as a man of peace, can be handled this way by people who were alleged to be Fulani herdsmen.
“Fulani herdsmen of all people to come to Ondo State, in a private property and to kidnap the owner. This is a war. A son of the soil, a prominent chief, is most disturbing.
“We the people of Yoruna nation will not take kindly to this kind of situation; that is why we’re calling upon the Federal Government, Ondo State government, all security agencies to do something immediately to secure the release of Chief Olu Falae.
“That must be done. I hate to say within the next 24hours because whoever that are responsible for this, may not get away scot free because the entire Yoruba nation is now ready to face them, fight them and to conquer them and to see the release of our leader Chief Olu Falae.
“He must return home to his family because he is a king in his community and he must return them and the entire nation will rejoice and Yoruba nation will know that we matter in Nigeria if and when the Federal Government get up and do something now about this matter.”