Serving Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, speaks on his telephone conversation with Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho) who gave Fulani herdsmen operating in Ibarapa local government area of Oyo State seven days ultimatum to quit the area following killings allegedly linked to the herdsmen, describing the activist as a freedom fighter.
Bakare spoke during a television programme in Lagos.
The moment Sunday Adeyemo gave 7 –day ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen and to the chief of the Fulani in Oyo, I knew we were face to face with a major crisis. I heard him say over and over again that former Governor Rashidi Ladoja “is my father, is my mentor, he is the one that blessed me”. So I knew that if anyone had a mentor and he has to be approached, that mentor should be able to put a stop to what we consider as excess.
But as God would have it, while I was trying to reach out to former Governor Ladoja who I have met personally in times past and whose number I have, an avenue occurred through an AIG who happened to know someone that knows Sunday Igboho.
So I placed a call to him, he didn’t pick the call but I left a message that I would like to speak with him. He graciously called me back and we were able to speak and we agreed that he will be coming to Lagos to meet with me alongside his team and I also got our own people ready so that about five people here and five at that end, we could sit and resolve this crisis. And he agreed totally.
But the day he was to come, his father took ill and he had to rush him to hospital in Iseyin or thereabouts. And he called and said he would not be able to come. And I said “family first and health first”. And I did not only pray with him, I also prayed with his father who also graciously thanked me and said “e jowo e ba wa da si oro yi o” (help to resolve this matter).
And I found that the tension was already being detonated by the involvement of men of goodwill who were able to reach out to Sunday Igboho. There may be other ways of resolving this crisis other than issuing death threats and beating drums of war. Thank God that the situation has a bit calmed down but it is not yet completely resolved. We will by God’s grace do all God has given us the power to do as well as other men of goodwill.
My intervention and that of other well meaning Nigerians is to de-escalate the tension by the challenge or the 7-day ultimatum he gave and to try as much as possible to reset the narrative before it gets out of hand. Please let’s be careful not to tear this country apart. And I am appealing to all men of goodwill to rise to the occasion. There are four issues involved in this matter and, by the grace of God, as soon as I have the opportunity I will bring them to the attention of Mr. President.
And I believe his ministers and those in government are doing the same thing. One of the issues is open grazing. I think it is obsolete and it should end because the nations of the world have gone beyond this. I was in Glasgow, I was in Israel, there are so many things that we can do about agricultural pastoralism that will stop all the trouble in our land. We have lived with the Fulani and the Fulani have lived with us across this land. We must separate agricultural pastoralism from the second thing, terrorist issues in the forest. We have to be careful about indiscriminate violence.
We must separate terrorists in the forest from agricultural pastoralists or those who are invading other peoples’ farms, they must be stopped. If our laws would not stop them and property rights not respected, then the government is not doing what it should do. What government should do is to pass laws, property laws must be respected.
And all these pastoralists need to be registered so that we can know who they are and where they are going. It is a private business, it must not generate the kind of heat it is generating right now. Igboho looks like a man who wants to fight for his people because they were murdered, they were raped but he must operate within the ambit of the law.
Indiscriminate violence is an ill wind that will blow no one any good. And remember before you unleash, there are Fulani in the South-West and there are Yoruba and other ethnic nationalities in their own (Fulani) communities too. And if they would open fire on them, it will be so indiscriminate and it is an ill wind. We must avert it before it gets out of hand.