Charles Idahosa, a chieftain of PDP in Edo State shared his opinion during an interview on the herdsmen crisis and the directives given to herdsmen to leave certain states. According to Mr Idahosa,
“It is all politics. I come from a community where we had lived with lived with Hausa-Fulani for over 50 years. That is Ehor, the Headquarters of Uhunmwonde Local Government. Any person familiar with Edo state will know what I’m talking about. They have inter-married our people. You now have people bearing names like Abubakar Omarose, Osaro Junaid and so on. What we are saying is a situation where some people are impatient because they don’t like Buhari’s face. But unfortunately, they should wait till 2023. They want to make it look like there is an inter-tribal war, but we don’t have any problem here with our Hausa-Fulani brothers. We have been living here peacefully together. I have a cattle ranch in my village for the past 20 years. The Hausa-Fulanis are the ones managing it for me. They live in my farm. They take out the cattle and bring them back in. As I speak, I am one of the biggest cattle rearers in the state. I go to the North to go and buy. So, there are genuine people among them that are doing legitimate business. My take is that if we consider the uprising in Libya when America went there to destabilise the place, as well as what is happening in Mali, Sudan and some North African countries, they have migrated here. I believe some of causing trouble are not the Hausa-Fulanis that we know. If you see the kind of weapons they carry, you will be shocked. We are used to seeing cattle herders before. They don’t carry AK-47. These ones that we are seeing causing trouble, why can’t the government find out where they are coming from because I don’t believe they are our own Hausa-Fulani. They go and stay in the forest, kill and rape our women.
And then, the Hausa leaders are trying to politicize it by asking Northerners to return home. It is just like they want to repeat what happened in 1966 when Igbo leaders asked all Igbos to return home. This time around, they will fail. They are mistaking the uprising in the Northern African country. It will not happen here. Buhari is President of Nigeria till 2023. They should be patient for him to complete his tenure. These are things they are doing to make the country look ungovernable. We don’t have problems with our Hausa-Fulani brothers. We have been living together peacefully for years. Those who have genuine business here have no problem. But you don’t expect our people to keep quiet when their wives daughters will go into the farm and they will be attacked, raped and slaughtered. How can this be happening and you expect people to keep quiet and not talk? As leaders, what I expect from the northern elders forum is to find out those who are responsible for these killings and ensure they are brought to justice. In Ikpoba-Hill Aduwawa, we have the largest concentration of Hausa-Fulani. They occupy a whole village there, yet nobody has gone there to attack them because we know they are genuine and legitimate occupants. We are talking about the Fulanis who are hiding in the forests and are perpetrating evil. Yet, the Northern Elders Forum tried to politicize it. It is very embarrassing.”
When asked possible ways to resolve the matter, the PDP chieftain said,
“The political leaders in the North should remove politics from this issue and let us face reality. People can no longer travel on the highway again for fear of being kidnapped. I asked a question sometimes ago and I said ‘How many of these Fulanis that they have caught in the forest were seen with their cows? They don’t have cows. None of them has been arrested with cows. Do you leave your cows to go and be kidnapping people? These Fulanis causing trouble are not cattle rearers. It is because of the activities of these killer herdsmen which has led to frustration on the part of our people such that they now attack genuine cattle rearers. The security agents should wake up to their responsibilities. Go after these killer herdsmen who have infiltrated our lands and arrest them. Even some of them who have been caught, when you asked them where they come from, they have nothing to say. These are people that are causing trouble for us and they should be arrested. The northern elders should assist the security agents in doing this rather than trying to politicize the situation.”