Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode has berated Senate President, Ahmad Lawan for blaming Southwest governors for the Shasha mayhem in Oyo State between Yoruba and Hausa.
Naija News reports that Lawan has accused the governors of being behind the killings that occurred in Sasha market in Ibadan and other violence against northerners in the region.
Speaking in an interview with BBC Hausa Service, Lawan had said “Leadership failures in the region cause what happened in Oyo State and other things that kept happening in the SW states.
“Some utterances by some governors also went a long way in inciting the citizens to take up arms against other ethnic groups settling in their states. The Governors’ utterances emboldened the criminals to unleash violence against the northerners.”
But in a statement on Saturday, Fani-Kayode knocked Lawan for accusing the governors of being behind the killings that occurred in Sasha market, saying that his assertion was completed false and bias.
The former minister added that if not the actions of Southwest governors in quelling the crisis, it would have been worse than what happened.
He said: “This is not true. And frankly I am beginning to suspect that there is a well-orchestrated script unfolding here.
“I was in Ibadan when the Shasha killings started and I went on tour of the affected area. Let me assure you that many people were killed on both sides of the ethnic divide and had it not been for the efforts of the Governor of Oyo State and the tacit support and encouragement he got from the other SW Governors in terms of appealing to the people of Ibadan to show restraint, what happened in Oyo would have been a hundred times worse and far many more northerners would have been killed.
“The level of hate and resentment against Fulani herdsmen in the SW is frightful and unprecedented today and the Governors are having a hard time trying to calm people down and reign them in even though they may not want to admit it publicly. The decisive actions of the SW Governors over the last few months actually saved lives and their words and utterances actually reflected the will of the people.
“If, for example, Governor Akeredolu had not banned herdsmen from the forests of Ondo, after some time the local population would have gone there themselves to throw them out violently.”
Fani-Kayode asserted that the truth is that all the Southwest states are sitting on a keg of gunpowder over this herdsmen issue and that the local population were mobilising against them in a very frightening way.
He said Northern leaders should thank the Southwest governors for keeping a lid on the whole thing and restraining their people rather than blame them for trying to keep the peace in the face of the most extreme provocation from the terrorists.
“Quite apart from that, I need to ask this question. Why does the Senate President not complain about the violence that northerners are inflicting on Middle Belters and Southerners in the North itself? Again why does he not complain about the barbaric attacks and killing of our people in the SW and other parts of the South and Middle Belt by killer Fulani herdsmen who are carrying arms, raping our women, occupying our land and terrorising out people?
“How come he does not complain about that? Is Northern blood more precious than Southern blood? It appears that he is only concerned about retaliatory attacks by the local Yoruba population who have been brutalised and traumatised by the terrorists.
“He has not complained about what those terrorists are doing to our people and he has exhibited no empathy with the victims simply because they are Southerners. Is this right or fair?
“It is wrong for anyone to target other ethnic groups in their region and I totally condemn that but the north needs to understand that the people of the SW particularly believe they have been encircled and that they are under siege,” he said.
Fani-Kayode added that the only way the resentment against northerners would vanish in that zone was when the killer herdsmen and terrorists stopped the killings.
He said outside of that, all the self-serving and sanctimonious admonitions and lectures in the world from Northern leaders, who were clearly partial in this matter, to leaders in the Southwest would change nothing.
“If we want peace let us be honest & let us join hands, stand shoulder to shoulder and fight against the killers together. Blaming SW Governors & leaders for the failures of the Fed. Govt. to provide law & order & protect our people from terrorists & savages will not help in this matter. As a matter of fact, it will only make things worse,” he said.