Oyo State governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, has cautioned individuals or groups issuing ultimatum and threat of forceful removal of people from the state to desist such acts.
In a statewide broadcast on Wednesday, Makinde noted that unauthorised individuals going around, chasing people from their homes and causing mayhem amounted to an assault on residents of Oyo State.
Makinde’s broadcast comes on the heels of a seven-day ultimatum issued by Yoruba cultural activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho to Fulanis in Ibarapaland, asking them to leave the state.
He warned that anyone who that attempts to remove persons or groups of people forcefully will face the full wrath of the law.
Makinde described the issuance of ultimatums to evacuate people as unacceptable, noting that section 41(1) of the 1999 constitution guarantees citizens the freedom to reside in any part of the country without fear.
He said: “Barely a week ago, I had cause to call out members of the press who were allowing themselves to be used to stoke ethnic tensions among the good people of Oyo State. There have been stories in the press targeted at exaggerating the security situation in the state.
“However, we cannot overlook the fact that there have indeed been instances that cause concern. The fragile peace between the herdsmen and farmers in Oke Ogun is being threatened. Individuals who are not authorised are going around chasing people from their homes and causing mayhem. This assault on residents of Oyo State is not the way to further the Yoruba cause.
“Let me state that we shall not sit back and watch anyone make any law-abiding resident of Oyo State feel unsafe in their homes, farms, or business places.
“We are aware of some people circulating flyers and giving people ultimatums to leave their land. This is totally unacceptable and will not be condoned.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which I swore to defend and protect, guarantees freedom of movement in Section 41(1), such that citizens are free to reside in any part of the country without fear. We are determined to preserve that right in Oyo State.
“Therefore, I am calling on any individuals or groups planning to take any actions that would lead to the forceful removal of anyone from Oyo State to desist from taking such actions.
“Any persons who fail to abide by this directive will face the full wrath of the law.
“All Local Government and Local Council Development Area Chairpersons are directed to work with the traditional rulers and the officers of the security agencies to ensure that peace is maintained in all parts of the state.
“Let me also use this medium to speak to our traditional rulers. They must not be part of any plans to disrupt the peaceful coexistence of residents of Oyo State.
“I must reiterate that we will not hesitate to take appropriate action against any individuals who try to disrupt the peace in Oyo State. Our administration is taking all necessary steps to protect the good people of Oyo State from harassment, thuggery and banditry. We believe we have the situation under control.
“It is time for us to come together and put the interests of our state first. We have a common enemy. That enemy is not the Hausa Fulani who is looking for pasture for his flock.
“It is not the farmer who just wants to grow food to sell in the market or to feed his family. Our enemies are the hoodlums, cultists, armed robbers, kidnappers and bandits. These people live among us.
“We have constitutionally empowered people who will arrest and prosecute these criminals. Our job, as active citizens, is to help them where we can to identify these enemies.
“Report any criminals and criminal activities you are privy to and let the authorities take action. If you see something, say something.
“I must acknowledge the efforts of some officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have resumed their constitutional duties of maintaining law and order in our state. I encourage the leadership of the Police to continue to collaborate with our administration to secure Oyo State.
“With our collective efforts, we can continue to keep the peace in Oyo State. Together, we can preserve the secure environment that has contributed to the growth of our economy.”