Governor Seyi Makinde on Saturday said criminal elements amongst the Yoruba ethnic group, not Fulani, were responsible for the death of Fatai Aborode, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State.
Peoples Gazette in December reported how Mr. Aborode was killed while returning from his farm along Apodun Road, Igangan in Ibarapa North Local Government Area.
Mr. Aborode’s death and other kidnapping and banditry attacks linked to herdsmen of Fulani origin around Ibarapa triggered Sunday Adeyemo ‘Igboho,’ a Yoruba political activist, to serve the northern cattle herders an eviction notice.
However, Mr. Makinde in a statewide broadcast on Saturday reckoned that the enemies of Oyo were criminal elements regardless of their ethnicity.
The governor blamed intelligence failure for the victimisation of the Fulani cattle herders.
“There was an intelligence failure,” the governor said. “Everybody was saying that the killers of Dr. Aborode were Fulanis, but when I met with his father, I was told that all these issues have political undertones.”
“He said Dr. Aborode didn’t drive himself that day; somebody drove him while he sat behind,” he added.
“Baba said Dr. Aborode was on a motorbike when he was attacked. The rider was not hurt at all. There were other people that were stopped too and nothing happened to them. The attackers where speaking Yoruba.
“I am not saying we don’t have Fulani criminals. Yes, we do. However, we must remember that our enemies are criminals no matter their ethnicity. So we must remain focused on going after criminals,” Mr. Makinde added.
The governor also said that one of the individuals responsible for the murder of the PDP chieftain had been apprehended.
“I spoke to the security agents and asked them what has been done and directed the CP that the person who did this should be arrested. He has now been arrested and he said he will name all the people that were there on that day. I believe very soon we will get to the bottom of it,” Mr. Makinde said.
Mr. Makinde had recently kicked against the campaign to drive Fulani herdsmen from Yorubaland. The campaign, which was launched by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, was hinged on widespread claims that criminalities in Yorubaland were mostly linked to Fulani.
In 2019, Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Yoruba leader Reuben Fasoranti, was killed in Ondo by suspected Fulani abductors. In December 2020, gunmen suspected to be of Fulani origin also killed Francis Olusola Alao, Olugbon of Ile-Igbon and a foremost traditional ruler in Ondo.
But Mr. Makinde said that it was displeasing to single out an ethnic group for victimisation when real enemies are a select group of individuals who perpetrate crime.
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