Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, says Sunday Adeyemo, a youth leader better known as Sunday Igboho, does not have the right to issue an eviction notice to herders in Oyo state.
On January 16, Igboho led some youths in Ibarapa local government area of the state to Salihu Abdukadir, Seriki Fulani, leader of the Fulani group, to register displeasure over the recent killings and abductions in the area.
Blaming the attacks and kidnappings in the area on herders, Igboho gave them a seven-day ultimatum to vacate Oyo.
Speaking during a BBC programme, on Wednesday, Falana said some of the herders, who had lived in the area for about 10 years, have the constitutional right to stay there.
Anybody who is affected by such illegal quit notices would have to go to court to stop whoever is issuing the notices. That is the law but don’t let us resort to violence; it is unnecessary. With profound respect under our laws, even a squatter cannot be ejected and that is why on a daily basis, tenants are given quit notices by landlords or owners of properties,” he said.
“So, a private citizen cannot wake up and say anybody should leave the community. You must embrace the rule of law. Nobody can do that, not even the government because section 43 of the constitution says every citizen shall have the right to own and acquire properties in any parts of the country.
The campaign of the human rights community is that if you are born in a place, or you have lived for not less than ten years in any part of the country, you should be considered an indigene and be entitled to all the rights and privileges of the so-called indigenes of the state. So, for me, there is no way I can embrace anyone who has given quit notice to any group of people.
We must stop the idea of criminal profiling. If anybody has committed an offence or a group of people has committed an offence, we must fish them out and have them tried under the law but you can’t wake up and say all Yoruba people, all Hausa people are criminals, all Igbo people are criminals. No, it is a fallacy of generalisation.
“The government must ensure that the lives of the citizens are secured. It is the abdication of the duty of the government that has made the Sunday Igbohos to be relevant in the society. That is why private citizens give quit notices to people from other parts of the country. It is not the right way to fight this problem. We need to have ranches, in Oyo State in particular.
“The largest abattoir in West Africa is located in Oyo State but the state government has not allowed the abattoir to function for the past nine years. Is that how to run a country? The scientific way of solving this problem has been abandoned. So, why would a Sunday Igboho not take over the government of that state? That is what is going on.”