Worried by the spate of insecurity in the country, especially in the South West, former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday met with Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba leaders with a call on stakeholders to join forces in curbing the menace.
The meeting, which was held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, had participants from the six South West states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti, including two North Central states of Kwara and Kogi.
After several hours of deliberations, the meeting noted that the nation was faced with security problem that “bothered on criminality and insecurity”, adding that stakeholders should stop the “cover-ups and denials”.
The gathering also frowned upon what it described as the “stigmatization and victimization Fulani, saying, “The Fulani have both good and bad people. The action of bad Fulani should not be taken against all the Fulani.”
It noted that the Fulani are also victims of kidnapping, banditry, cattle rustling and loss of property, among others.
A communiqué jointly endorsed by Chief Obasanjo and the leader of the Hausa-Fulani delegation, Alhaji Sale Bayeri, stated that the meeting resolved, among others, that, “There has to be a deliberate community effort to address the problems. Joint Community Responsibility MUST be established among the Yoruba and Fulani leaders at the community levels.
“From all the evidence, those who perpetrate these crimes, there are both non-Fulani and Fulani. We should begin to do things differently and in a new way bring them out for sanctions.
“It is important to call on leaders who failed to do what they are supposed to do. Fulani who know the criminals among them must expose and report them to the appropriate institution. So must other ethnic groups.
“There should be cooperation among our people groups. Fulani leaders and other groups are urged to approach traditional institutions anytime they find something that is not right within their communities. They should refer concerns among themselves to the different levels of traditional leadership up to the paramount traditional rulers.
“Identified criminals within community should be handed over to the appropriate agency to be dealt with. Key stakeholders should be informed to ensure that justice or sanctions are carried out against culprits and not swept under the carpet.
“There are Fulani who are born in the South West 3rd, 4th or even 5th generation who see themselves as children of Oduduwa, and who have nowhere to go except Oduduwa land. There are other tribes who feel so in Yorubaland, and there are Yorubas who feel so in other geo-political regions of Nigeria. So the idea of moving tribal groups en masse from one geo political region to another is impracticable and should not be talked about by leaders.
“We have to work as one community through our various efforts and responsibilities to protect and safeguard the interest of the community.”
Participants, it was learnt, agreed to meet within three months to review the progress of implementation of the recommendations.