A pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has described the ‘shoot-on-sight’ order by President Muhammadu Buhari on protesting Igbo youths as “artless and heartless.”
The elder statesman and leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, in his reaction to the order, said he saw a situation where two sets of laws exists in the country, “one where the Fulani go scot free for any misdemeanor, and another that ensures that the lives of others, especially those of the Igbo, do not matter.”
Adebanjo in a statement said with the shoot-on-sight order, “the fate of the people of the Southeast amid clear and present animus, arising from the deeds and words from Major General Buhari, now appears to be in a certain jeopardy.”
While noting that the rising hostility against the South-east zone since the beginning of the Buhari administration had now become a matter of great concern to Afenifere, the group leader said such reality should also become a major concern for other stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
He recalled Buhari’s disposition toward the Igbo as well as his mode of engagement in the South-east zone from the moment he became president, saying it “has been this decisive, no dialogue, no civil discourse, just the gun and bullet approach.”
He observed that the same fate do not apply to Buhari’s Fulani ethnic group as exemplified by the herders, “who were the fourth deadliest terrorist group, as determined by Global Terrorism Index, the safely international body that monitors terrorism all over the world.
“But Buhari allows his Fulani people to roam freely, and engaging in killing, maiming and raping women. While protecting, prevaricating to the Fulani herders without a restraining order, the he orders his mainly northern military to kill Igbo youths on sight.”
The Afenifere leader described such posturing as “devious plot,” recalling the genocide in Benue State a few years back in which the Fulani herders killed in their hundreds the innocent citizens of that state.
Adenanjo, who travelled to Makurdi, the Benue State capital, on an occasion as one of the leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) to observe firsthand the positive identification of the killers by the state government, expressed disappointment that no arrest or even indictment has taken place despite the incontrovertible identity of the killers.
“Despite the incontrovertible identity of the killers, all Buhari had to say to the governor was ‘accommodate your neighbour’. No arrest was made and no indictment against the killers,” he said.
The Yoruba leaders decried a situation where two sets of laws exist in the country, noting that no Igbo man is a member of Buhari’s security council, as he queried: “Is that how to run a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country like Nigeria?”
Adebanjo argued that with the shoot-on-sight order, which he described as draconian order under which no opposition member was safe, “it would be assumed that Nigeria had now become a theatre of bloodshed, and the streets are now lined with the blood of innocent Nigerians not paved with the gold Buhari promised Nigerians with his mantra of Change.
“With this draconian order, no opposition member is safe.”
Adebanjo, therefore, charged leaders in the other zones of the country to stand up and condemn the shoot-on-sight order in order to prevent yet another looming massacre in the South-east region.
The elder statesman added that Buhari must be told to revoke forthwith what he termed his “reckless and draconian order” if he was sincere about the peace and unity of this country, and does not have a hidden agenda as there were more civilized and democratic ways to beef up the security in the South-east zone.
According to him, “The president must be told that if he is sincere about the peace and unity of this country, his reckless and draconian order should be revoked forthwith.
“Certainly, if the president has no hidden agenda, there are more civilized and democratic ways to beef up the security in the region.”