28th January, 2021
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has attacked Yoruba activist, Sunday Igboho for issuing quit notice to Fulani herdsmen in Igangan, Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State, saying such act was illegal and unlawful.
Falana, in an interview with BBC, on Wednesday, said even a squatter could not be ejected and that is why on a daily basis, tenants were given quit notices by landlords or owners of properties.
According to him, a private citizen could not just wake up and say anybody should leave the community, as the rule of law must be embraced.
“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,” he said.
Falana said the campaign of the human rights community was that if one is born in a place, or has lived for not less than ten years in any part of the country, that person 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,” Falana said.
The human rights activist said the government must ensure that the lives of the citizens were secured, saying it is the abdication of the duty of the government that had 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,” he added.
Falana stated that there were genuine fears and facts on ground that the lives and properties in that state and in many states of the country were not safe, saying that the government must remove the basis of this quit notice by ensuring that lives and property of every person in Nigeria in safe.