Paraded, And Now Prisoners Of War, By Femi Fani-Kayode

Permit me to begin this contribution with an aside. The barbarians that launched a terror attack in Westminster, London yesterday in which four people were killed
and many more injured are the same type of people that attacked and
beheaded the sons and daughters of Ile-Ife in their own homes and on
their own land earlier this month.

They are also the same type of people that butchered the people of Southern Kaduna on Christmas eve and Christmas day, that massacred the people of Agatu last year and that butchered the people of Zaki Biam a few days ago.
They are kindred spirits with those that
have dedicated their lives to violence, carnage and cold-blooded murder
and terror is their language.
My heart goes out to the people of
London and indeed the whole of the United Kingdom. May the souls of
those that were killed rest in peace.
Now to the meat of this essay. Let me
make myself clear right from the outset. I do not regard the gallant
sons and daughters of Ile Ife that were arrested, taken to Abuja and
shamelessly paraded before the television cameras and the media by the
Nigerian police a few days ago as violent criminals or murderers: I
regard them as prisoners of war.
I do not believe that they have done
ANYTHING wrong other than perhaps defend themselves and their community
from a vicious and barbaric attack from a bunch of merciless and
blood-thirsty barbarians and I believe that at the end of the day they
will be vindicated and set free.
I must commend Afenifere for not only
stepping into the matter expeditiously and putting the Nigerian police
and the Federal Government on notice but also for raising a powerful team of 21 Yoruba lawyers, which includes Wole Olanipekun SAN and the great Ahmed Raji SAN, to defend them.
It is no longer news that no
Hausa/Fulani person has been picked up, detained, paraded before the
television cameras or slated for prosecution by the police after the
carnage that they unleashed on our people.
Many sons and daughters of Ife were
brutalised and slaughtered in the crisis and yet the police have not
arrested any Hausa/Fulani man or woman. Can you believe that? That is
President Buhari’s Nigeria for you.
One wonders if the police are trying to
suggest that the gallant Ifes that fell and lost their lives during the
course of the battle actually killed themselves?
Are they trying to suggest that nobody
from the Hausa Fulani community committed any crime? Are they trying to
suggest that the Hausa Fulani did not provoke the whole incident and
draw first blood? This shameless perfidy is wholeheartedly unacceptable.
The whole crisis started when members of
the Hausa Fulani community beat up a young Yoruba woman and stabbed her
husband. They went further by killing another young man and displaying
his badly mutilated body all over town in a wheelbarrow.

 

 

Finally they publicly beheaded yet
another young man and jubilantly paraded his head in triumph on a long
pole through the streets of the Hausa Fulani community in Ife known as
Sabo.
The good people of Ile Ife, rightly,
found this affront outrageous and unacceptable and they reacted
violently. At the end of the day many people on both sides of the divide
and FAR MORE than the police and the Nigerian media dare or care to
admit were killed. Furthermore virtually the whole of Sabo was burnt to
the ground.
These are the facts yet sadly the
handling of the whole matter by the Federal Government and the way that
they have distorted the facts, befuddled the issues and established a
false and misleading narrative betrays a high level of deceit, deception
and partiality.
The police should not be selective in
this matter and the Federal Government needs to be careful with the way
it treats Yoruba people.
If nothing else the events of 1966, 1983
and 1993, all in the south west, which brought our country to a
standstill, truncuated democracy and resulted in horrendous violence and
a change of government proves that.
The truth is simple and clear: when it
comes to a fight the Yoruba never back down and neither do they bow down
to an insult or turn their backs on a challenge.
Afenifere has spoken for us all. Gani
Adams of the OPC has done the same and so has the reverred Pa Ayo
Adebanjo who has been in active politics for the last 67 years and who
has seen it all.
I have also spoken in a two-part article
titled “The Hausa Fulani, The Yoruba and The Slaughter In Ile-Ife” and
so have many others.
And what we are all saying is simple and
clear: the Yoruba will not accept a situation whereby we are made
second-class citizens in our own country.
If you do not accept that we are all
equal before the law and before God, then we will no longer accept the
concept or notion of one Nigeria. It is as simple as that.
When these same Hausa Fulani people
slaughtered the indigenous and people of Southern Kaduna, Benue, Taraba,
Plateau, Kogi, Kwara, Abia, Enugu, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos and
elsewhere none of them were arrested.
The police did not parade them before
television cameras, they did not arrest their Emirs, their traditional
title holders or their sons and daughters and they did not claim that
they had committed heinous crimes.
As a matter of fact in most cases it was
their victims and those that they attacked that were rounded up and
arrested simply for defending themselves.
This has to stop because that is what
the police are doing in Ile Ife. They are rounding up the victims and
claiming that they were the aggressors and they are protecting the
aggressors.
This is reckless and dangerous. The
Federal Government is playing with fire. And as Yinka Odumakin, the
spokesman of Afenifere, wisely counselled just two days ago, the Buhari
administration would do well “not to pull the Yoruba tiger’s tale”.
Yet sadly, as serious as this whole
matter is, some irresponsible miscreants and shameless elements in our
midst, both in the government, the media and in the political class,
have said that the whole thing was not an ethnic crisis and
conflagration but rather a clash between a handful of Yoruba and Hausa
Fulani miscreants and touts.
They have run to their friends in
certain sections of the media who are more than ready to feed the
Nigerian people with their usual “fake news” and false narrative in a
scurrilous and futile attempt to becloud the fundamental issues and
cover the whole thing up.
Yet if this is not an ethnic clash I
wonder what is? You have the Yorubas on one side and the Hausa Fulani on
the other. Both sides lost many people in the fighting. Then at the end
of it all you only arrest the Yoruba and say it was not an ethnic
clash.
You also arrest a Yoruba traditional
ruler from Ile-Ife, Oba Ademiluyi, remove his beaded crown, handcuff
him, take him to Abuja and parade him on national television as a
murderer. One wonders whether he too can be described as a “tout and a
miscreant?”
This whole affair and the way the
authorities are handling it is utterly sordid and one is constrained to
ask the following question: who is fooling who?
This shameless cover up by the Federal Government and the Nigerian police has to stop.
This dangerous recourse to political
correctness by the friends and functionaries of the Buhari
administration and this perfidious attempt to bury the whole matter and
cover up the atrocities of the usual suspects also has to stop.
Let us admit that we have a major
problem on our hands and that in order to solve that problem the
Government must stop protecting those who are in the habit of attacking
and killing people that welcome them with open arms and allow them to
settle in their communities.
The application of selective justice and
the toleration of genocide, mass murder and ethnic cleansing by the
Buhari administration must stop.
Femi
Fani-Kayode is a lawyer, a Nigerian politician, an evangelical
christian, an essayist, a poet and he was the Special Assistant (Public
Affairs) to President Olusegun Obasanjo from July 2003 until June 2006.
He was the minister of culture and tourism of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria from June 22nd to Nov 7th 2006 and as the minister of Aviation
from Nov 7th 2006 to May 29th 2007. He tweets from@realFFK.
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