- Popular lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has weighed in on the herdsmen crisis in some parts of Oyo state
- Falana said it is wrong for Sunday Igboho, a private citizen, to issue quit notice to herders in the state
- The senior lawyer, however, admitted it is the failure of the government to address insecurity that prompted Igboho to take such action
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has reacted to the quit notice issued to Fulani herdsmen in Ibarapa north local government area of Oyo state by popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho.
The prominent lawyer said Igboho had no right to issue a vacation notice to the herders, The Punch reports.
Recall that Igboho had asked herdsmen to leave the state within seven days after accusing them of perpetrating crimes.
At the expiration of the ultimatum on Friday, January 22, he and his followers had stormed the Fulani settlement in Igangan community to eject Seriki Fulani, Salihu Abdukadir, and the herders, a development that degenerated into violence.
What the herders should do - Falana
Speaking on the development, Falana advised the affected herders to seek redress in court.
“Anybody who is affected by such illegal quit notices would have to go to court to stop whoever is issuing the notices. That is the law but don’t let us resort to violence; it is unnecessary.”
The senior lawyers also noted that herders had lived in the area for many years and have the constitutional rights to do so.
He reiterated that under Nigerian law, a private citizen and even the government do not have the power to say anybody should leave a community.
According to him, section 43 of the constitution says every citizen shall have the right to own and acquire properties in any parts of the country.
Criminal elements must be arrested - Falana
The senior lawyer said those perpetrating crimes in the community must be arrested and prosecuted.
He, however, warned against labelling an entire ethnic group as criminals.
Government's failure to address insecurity
Falana said the failure of the government to prosecute those paraded by the police for state offences led to the situation where private citizens now issue quit notices to people of other tribes.
He called on the government to live up to its responsibility by ensuring that the lives of the citizens are secured.
The need for ranches
To address the herdsmen crisis, the senior lawyer recommended the establishment of ranches as against open grazing.
He noted that this is particularly important in Oyo state where "the largest abattoir in West Africa is located".
Nigerians react to Falana's statement
Modupe Ayenigba commented on Facebook:
"So herders killing and maiming are the rightful ones and we all have to sit down and keep watching till they destroy everything? My respect you so much till I read your headline but now am highly disappointed. WHAT A SHAMELESS COUNTRY"
Emmanuel Ayodeji Oluwafemi said:
"Its not illegal when a Dr was killed in Igangan, it's not illegal when Oba was killed in Ondo, not illegal when former Ondo deputy govt daughter was killed by this same Fulani herdsmen. Oga Falana keep your law. Let people protect their families with what so ever they felt is appropriate."
Isaac Adeola Olaoye said:
"On this case sir, legality is null and void. By customary, the country has not been running on any legal status. Treaties and court rulings are thrown away without penalty.
"The judges has become mere ceremonial, or at least an instrument to oppress the poor Nigerian. Let's stop the law things sir. It's not applicable. The Nigeria constitution and it's instruments are trash."
Ezeanekwu Ifeka said:
"I greed to an extent that if the security agencies are doing their job up to the expectation interns of protecting lives the citizens wouldn't have gone into self defense."
Meanwhile, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state has called for caution over the uproar generated by the quit notice given to the Fulani herdsmen.
The governor in a thread of tweets on Wednesday, January 27, noted that after a meeting with the representatives of Igangan, Ibarapaland and the state commissioner of police, Ngozi Onadeko, his administration came up with a security strategy for that zone.
He said he had resolved to redeploy 200 members of the Oyo State Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Amotekun to kidnapping/banditry hotspots in the state, especially in the Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun zones.