South West Leaders Attack Lawan For Blaming Them Over Crises In Region

Leaders in the South West have attacked the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan over his comments on a BBC Hausa interview where he blamed the region’s leaders for the recent crises involving Hausas and indigenous settlers.

Lawan, in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service on Saturday, claimed that ‘unguarded statements’ by some governors in the South-West incited people in the area to take up arms against fellow citizens.

The Senate President also blamed the failure of governments in the region for the crisis which led to loss of lives and destruction of property.

Lawan stated, “What happened in Oyo State and other things that kept happening in the South-western states are caused by leadership failures in the region. Some utterances by some governors also went a long way in inciting the citizens to take up arms against other ethnic groups settling in their states. The governors’ utterances emboldened the criminals to unleash violence against the northerners.”

He also spoke on ways the National Assembly intervened on the incident, stating that though it happened while the National Assembly was on recess, it was however one of the first issues deliberated upon when the assembly resumed legislative activities.

Lawan said, “Sasa killing was one of the things we deliberated upon at the plenary when we resumed. We condemned the violence and even moved against any kind of inciting comments or utterances by some government officials. We equally condemned the eviction order by one ethnic group on the other, or indigene-settle claims, just as we called for the compensation of all the victims of herder/farmer clashes in the country.”

In his reaction to the statement made by the Senate President, elder statesman, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, asked Lawan to withdraw his provocative statement against governors in the South-West.

Adebanjo said, “It is an insult brought to us by those who aligned with the All Progressives Congress to force the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on us as a nation. It is a tragedy that someone called the President of the Senate could make such a statement about South-West governors. In fact, it is Lawan that just made an unguarded statement.

“He has failed in his duty. He never had anything to say about the killings of farmers, raping of our women and massive destruction of our farmlands by killer Fulani herdsmen.

“His language is unguarded. I am sure that his language is that of President Muhammadu Buhari himself who has refused to caution the herdsmen. When someone is part of a government that negotiates with bandits and criminals, what do you expect? It is people like Lawan who are behind the herdsmen and even own the cows. The statement by the President of the Senate is insulting, derogatory, shows lack of manners and a sign of improper training. It is condemnable and should be withdrawn.
“Are the governors in charge of security in their states or the one controlling the police? They have to resort to Abuja before the commissioner of police will even pick their calls. The Federal Government has refused to even allow Amotekun to bear arms but unconcerned when herdsmen carry sophisticated arms such as AK-47 and others.”

Other leaders of the region who reacted to the Senate President’s comments include the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, who described Lawan’s statement as ‘highly condemnable,’ asking him to withdraw it forthwith.

He said, “His comments are untrue. The information available to us indicated that the incident was caused by provocation. A Hausa porter beat a Yoruba pregnant woman. Talking about leadership failure, is leadership failure responsible for banditry in the North-West, North-Central or in the North-East where there’s insurgency? Then, it’s leadership failure that is responsible for the insecurity in the country?”

Adams also expressed worry that such a statement was uttered by the president of the country’s upper legislative chamber.

The Aare Ona Kakanfo added, “As a Senate President, he ought to detach himself from nepotism and appear like a statesman and not a sectional leader. The statement from him is highly condemnable and I will advise him to retract it. He will be bias if he’s asked to say anything concerning the Yoruba.’’

In the same vein, the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere through its Spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said the ‘unwarranted provocations’ against the South-West were becoming too many.
Afenifere added that “so it’s not the unguarded statements of Buhari’s henchmen? It’s the leadership failure in Nigeria that is keeping people like him in office.’’

He added, “Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari also invited the state governors and told them that the Federal Government would not condone any governor calling for the eviction of any ethnic group from his state. He said that no governor should incite his citizens to unleash terror or violence on the non-indigene members of the communities.”

On February 12, 2021, a disagreement between a Hausa porter and Yoruba female trader in Sasa market, Ibadan, degenerated into bedlam and claimed lives including multimillion naira investments.

A Yoruba cobbler, Shakirudeen Adeola, reportedly challenged the porter for beating the woman and in a fit of rage, the porter was said to have brought out a charm and hit Adeola who was rushed to a hospital and died thereafter. The news of Adeola’s death sparked off violence which shattered the peace in the area.