Nine pan-Yoruba groups have urged the Nigeria Police Force to go after terrorists and armed herdsmen of Fulani extraction allegedly attacking, kidnapping, raping and killing Yoruba people in the South-West.
The groups were reacting to an alarm raised by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was planning to launch an attack on soft targets in the state.
They described the allegation by the police boss as false, stating that such comments are targeted at causing conflict between Igbo and Yoruba peoples.
The groups urged the police not to allow themselves to be used by the “desperate Caliphate whose agelong dream is to divide the South and set the people against each other for its own narrow gains.”
The statement read, “We are worried that since the police already claim to be in possession of what appears to be a confidential information, the proper thing would have been to discreetly go after the IPOB members to arrest them unless the police are not sure of its information.
“The police statement carries the possibility of being misinterpreted as an Igbo plot against Lagos and Yoruba people. This is dangerous given the fragile nature of Nigeria. We are deeply concerned that the police publicly declared allegations tempt the prospect of setting Yoruba in the South-West against Igbos. This is very unfortunate at a time that state institutions are increasingly being turned to instruments for pursuing primordial ethnic interests. The Yoruba will work never to allow this to happen.
“We are concerned that terrorists and armed herdsmen of Fulani extraction have openly been attacking, kidnapping, raping and killing Yoruba people in the South-West but at no time did the police call a press conference to announce such a plan before or after each horrendous killing. There was also never a time the police linked such attacks to any ethnic group.
“Only recently, Yoruba in Mile 2 were attacked by these people, the police did not make any attempt to speak about the ethnic identity of the perpetrators yet we know they are largely from a section in the North.
“We are concerned that the police allegation risks setting a greater danger of ethnic conflict between Igbo and Yoruba people, conscious that this will benefit a certain group who think setting Igbo against Yoruba will meet the objective of scuttling the search for peaceful self determination by the two great civilisations
“We urge Yoruba people to ignore the conscious attempts to cause ethnic conflict between Igbo and Yoruba at this time that both ethnic groups need each other. The police should avoid ethnic profiling. It is dangerous. The pan-Yoruba groups assure of our collective desire to sustain peaceful coexistence between Igbo and Yoruba and avoid any slide into ethnic conflict, an ill wind that blows no one any good. To this end, we shall set up a Committee to work out a platform to sustain ethnic harmony in Lagos.
“On police plan to attack agitators for Yoruba self-determination, We urge the police to have respect for international laws and should signify the basic democratic principle which is the right of a people to debate their political and economic future.”