Second Republic Senator, Professor Banji Akintoye and Major-General Collins Ihekire (retd), who is a former chairman of the National Task Force to combat illegal importation and smuggling of goods, small arms, ammunition and light weapons (NATFORCE), have raised the alarm that between 175 and 250 Hausa/Fulani settlements are currently scattered in the South-West and South-East regions.
The duo, who spoke on Saturday in Lagos during a National Colloquium entitled: Herdsmen as a threat to National Security, organised by The Ife 12, said this was aside from the persistent demand by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government for ‘cattle colonies’ across the country.
According to Akintoye, recent research carried out by some intellectuals in the South-West shows that not less than 175 Fulani settlements are scattered across Yoruba land, saying that each of the settlements “portends serious danger to their host communities.”
But Gen. Ihekire, in his own account, disclosed that the number was 250, saying those settlements were also capable of fomenting unprecedented trouble if the need arose.
It would be recalled that the President-General, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Olorogun Moses, had in an earlier alarm, said there were over 300 armed Fulani herdsmen currently scattered across Urhobo land with the possibility that the number might increase soonest.
Akintoye, who is a professor of history, warned that unless something cogent and urgent was done to address the imminent danger posed to the entire South by the herdsmen, saying “each of the Fulani settlements is going to be making demands that will not augur well for their host communities.”
This was just as he disclosed that findings also revealed that some people were being paid to start insurrections against Yoruba land and the Southern region entirely.
Akintoye, while charging the leadership of the South to rise up to the challenge of the Fulani hegemony, which he said was currently and subtly being extended to the Middle Belt under the guise of Fulani herdsmen crisis, further warned that Southern people must never fold their arms now thinking that they were safe, else they would regret such action.
“If we leave the people of the Middle Belt to face the present crisis while we fold our arms thinking that we are safe, we will regret it. The plan of the political Fulani currently in power is to use the nomadic Fulani and their cows to overrun the Middle Belt and later face the South and by the time they face us, there will be little we can do,” Akintoye said.
While emphasising the need to continue and strengthen the ongoing relationship among the South-West, South-East, South-South and the Middle Belt leaders, Akintoye charged the Southern and Middle Belt youths to stand against the insurrection.
“What is happening in the Middle Belt is not an attempt to spread Islam as some people are thinking but just one of the agenda. The demand for ‘cattle colonies’ is not an attempt to create ranches for their livestock but the animals are battling instrument for penetration, the real agenda is to spread and extend the Fulani Empire across Africa and Nigeria is a major focus now,” Akintoye averred.
He also expressed concern that some peace-loving Yoruba Muslims were gradually surrendering the leadership of the mosques, even in Yorubaland to Fulani, recalling how Hausa lands, Kwara and other areas were taken over by the Fulani till today.
In his own submission, Gen. Ihekire warned that Nigeria was currently under serious siege, saying what the country was grappling with was the Fulani and not the herdsmen issue.
According to him, “both the herdsmen and their cows have become facilities for political agenda and the only way to stop the aggression is to have state police. We also need to review the type of federation Nigeria currently practises.”
In his presentation, Engr. Mark Lipdo of Trauma Healing Institute said the agenda on board now was to get the South-West and subdue the South-East, pointing out that “if this is achieved, then Fulani will dominate Nigeria.”