Controversy yesterday broke out over the involvement of the Fulani Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria known as Miyetti Allah in a joint patrol with men of the State Police Command on the Federal Highways in Ondo State.
But the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Femi Joseph, said the Police Command was not aware of any Vigilante Group that is patrolling the highways in the state Joseph said there are some local vigilantes working with the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) in different divisions in the state in order to stamp out criminal activities in the state. Ajulo, who spoke about his encounter with gun wielding men said his encounter with the Vigilante Group should not be politicized.
Ajulo, who spoke with newsmen said: “If it comes to issue of security, we must secure our lives and properties. When it comes to politics, it is something else. We should not mix security with politics.
“I was in Ondo State on Friday till Sunday because my mother was given chieftaincy title as Iya Ijo of Anglican Church in Akoko. On our way back, we got to Erusu, Igashi and around Akoko Southeast.
That is where we saw these Fulani men carrying gun and cutlass. And I remember when we had Aare Ona Kakanfo meeting; I happen to be the Mayegun Aare Ona Kankanfo of Yorubaland and we said anybody we see with gun must be accosted to know what they are doing with gun. “I accosted and I challenged them what they were doing with gun. Those people told me they were not armed robbers or kidnappers; they said they are Miyetti Allah Vigilante Group. The next question I asked them is what are you doing on the main road? They said they are in joint patrol with the Police.
I asked where those Policemen who you are in joint patrol with are. They said the policemen were not around and that they were still coming. “I was really mad. By the time I made some calls, some policemen later joined us. From my understanding, they have been there for long. But my worry is that if there is Fulani Vigilante Group, where are the locals? Like I tell people, killing has been taking place everywhere. It should not lead to politics.”
However, the state government, through its Information Commissioner, Mr Donald Ojogo, said it was not aware of armed Vigilante Group and has not issued any identity cards to ethnic group in the state. Ojogo said the government, having been unaware of any such identity card carrying persons in the name of a vigilante group, has directed security agencies to get to the root of the matter and apprehend any such person or group of persons operating in that manner.
Ojogo in a statement said: “The Ondo State Government observes with concern trending pictures of identity card carrying men identified as Fulani vigilante in the Akoko area of the state. Various claims have been as regards the activities, duties as well as supposed mandate of these men in question.
“It is pertinent to recall that at the height of the incessant kidnap cases, the Ondo State Government took some far reaching drastic measure which included a marching order to the law abiding Hausa Fulani leadership in the area to fish out criminal elements among them, who took advantage of the rosy relationship between the indigenes and their law-abiding guests.