STATE governments across southwest Nigeria have stepped up the deployment of Amotekun operatives across the geo-political zone in response to the growing tension with Fulani cattle herdsmen as part of a programme to arrest the growing incidences of violent crime.
Over the last few weeks, tension has been high across the southwest geo-political zone after herdsmen killed diasporan farmer Dr Fatai Aborode in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State. His death lead to Yoruba activist Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho to issue a seven quit notice to the herdsmen to leave the area, after which they were forcefully evicted.
Fulani herdsmen are renown for carrying out very violent crimes across Nigeria, including kidnapping, armed robbery, rape and banditry. Just as they were being evicted from Oyo State, so too did Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State giver the herdsmen seven days to leave the forests in the state in response to similar murderous activities.
With fears that this crisis may escalate, governors across the geo-political zone have stepped up the deployment of Amotekun operatives to forestall any reprisal attacks by the Fulani herdsmen. Last year, the six governors from across the southwest geo-political zone decided to launch a regional security outfit named Amotekun, which translates to leopard in the local Yoruba language.
In response to an incessant rise in the murderous killings, the state houses of assemblies in the six states passed by-laws making Amotekun a legal and constitutional entity. Over the last week, the governments of Ekiti, Ondo and Osun states said they had deployed Amotekun corps in their forests and boundaries to check the activities of the killer herdsmen.
Although Fulani herdsmen body the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (Macban), initially opposed Governor Akeredolu’s quit they later accepted it after a meeting with the region’s governors. Apart from asking them to leave the forests, Governor Akeredolu also banned the movement of cattle along highways and within the cities, night grazing and underage grazing across Ondo State.
Other states across southwest Nigeria have adopted the policy of Governor Akeredolu, the chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum. Brigadier Joe Komolafe, the commander of the Ekiti Amotekun Corps, said his operatives were working to ensure the forests and indeed the state were consistently free of killers.
Likewise, Brigadier Bashir Adewinbi, the field commandant of the Osun Amotekun Corps, said the state had introduced measures to keep the state’s forest reserves safe. He also dismissed insinuations that some herdsmen, who were driven out of Ondo forests had found their way to Osun State.