Pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, on Thursday, lambasted the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over the comment made by the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd.), that Nigerians should defend themselves amid the security challenges in the country.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH, National Publicity Secretary of the group, Yinka Odumakin, said the minister’s comment showed that the President has failed in its constitutional responsibility to protect the lives and properties of citizens.
It had been earlier reported that the minister of Wednesday said, “It is the responsibility of everybody to keep alert and to find safety when necessary. But we shouldn’t be cowards.
“At times, the bandits will only come with about three rounds of ammunition, when they fire shots everybody runs. In our younger days, we stand to fight any aggression coming for us.”
The comment generated outrage on social media with many Nigerians calling for the government to licence citizens to bear arms in order to confront criminal elements, especially in the face of increasing bandits’ attacks in almost every part of the country.
Reacting, Odumakin said, “The comment of the defence minister shows that Buhari has failed. Are we supposed to defend ourselves with bare hands when they (criminals) are with guns? Only Fulani herdsmen are carrying AK-47 all over Nigeria today and you are asking us to defend ourselves with bare hands against AK-47?
“The token from that statement is that we (Buhari regime) have failed, we can no longer defend you. That was what he (Magashi) was telling us.”
On the rampant attacks by nomadic herdsmen on host farmers in the South-West region, the Afenifere spokesman said any attempt to seek “ethnic justice” will lead to genocide.
He said, “Any attempt to seek ethnic justice most times lead to genocide. That is why we have refrained, and cautioned against people seeking ethnic justice. But with the way Buhari is going, he is pushing people to that level where they may have to seek justice on their own.”
Continuing, Odumakin said, “There is nothing like farmer-herder clashes, it is a lie by the Buhari government. What we have is herders’ terrorism against farmers. You send your wife to the farm, they waylay her and rape her, and say it is a clash. What clash is in that? The word, ‘clash’ is from the Federal Government, it is from Aso Rock, it is a lie from the pit of hell. What we are having is terrorising by the Fulani herdsmen.”
On the solution to the insecurity in the South-west region, the Afenifere chieftain said banning open grazing and embracing the ranching system of cattle breeding remained the only way out of the problem.