Group sues Southwest, Edo, Kogi governors over kidnapping, banditry, terrorism

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A Pan-Yoruba group, Yoruba Koya Leadership and Training Foundation (YKLTF), has dragged the governors of Southwest states to court over the state of insecurity of the inhabitants of the region.

The group also joined Kwara, Kogi and Edo states, with substantial Yoruba speaking people in the suit.

The group’s President, Otunba Giwa Deji Osibogun and Director of Media and Publicity, Amb. Demola Sanyaolu said they resolved to take the legal path due to the seeming lackadaisical attitude of the governors towards the plight of the citizens in their states in the area of security.

The plaintiffs in the suit, IB/CS/189/22 filed before the Federal High Court Ibadan Judicial Division, included Otunba Ayodeji Osibogun, Prof. Bisi Sowunmi, Chief (Mrs) Ronke Okusanya, Senator Olatokunbo Ogunbanjo and Mr. Olakunle Osuntokun as the registered trustees of the Yoruba Koya Leadership and Training Foundation;

The defendants are the governors and attorneys-general of the Southwest states as well as Edo, Kogi and Kwara states.

The plaintiffs, in the suit Yoruba people are being subjected to incessant kidnapping, armed robberies, terrorism, banditry by both local and foreign invaders.

They noted that the suit is in line with the constitution of Nigeria and in the interest of the people of the Yoruba ethnic group with absolute rights as provided under the Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to protect themselves and their means of livelihood from destruction by the foreign/local herders and bandits.

The plaintiffs also noted that of recent, road travelling through the states inhabited by the Yoruba people in Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo have become dangerous owing to the incessant kidnapping, banditry and robbery being carried out by the foreign/local herders and bandits along the highways unchallenged.  

In addition, the trustees, having visited various farming communities in Yoruba land at personal risks to interview and interact with the farmers and other inhabitants, discovered that the farmers can no longer go to their farms for fear of being killed or Kidnapped by the foreign/local herders and life generally have become very hard, nasty and frustrating to them.  

Osibogun said: “It will be recalled that in the past, we made attempt by writing letters and sending emissaries to the governors which have not yielded results. We have decided to pursue the legal step to at least ask them to come to the aid of the citizens.”

The organization believes that this path will compel the governors to act promptly and in good faith for the betterment of the masses in their care.

The plaintiffs, in the suit, requests for the following;

*To compel the defendants to protect the lives, dignities, personal liberties, as well as freedom from any act of discrimination, dominion, oppression, by the local and foreign marauding herders, bandits, kidnappers, who continue to terrorize, maim, rape, kill and kidnap the people of the said communities (states) daily without inhibition.

*Declaration that the people residing in all the 9 states have a right to demand that the defendants be compelled to protect their communities and their farmlands from the encroachment and invasion of local and foreign herders, bandits and kidnappers who have continued to prevent the people of the communities from realizing their full potentials of enabling environment; favourable to their social and economic development

*Declaration that the continuous invasion of the Yoruba ethnic communities in the farmland, roads and other facilities, in the 9 states mentioned by foreign and local herders, bandits and kidnappers without any lawful justifiable reasons and the inability of defendants in arresting or combating the incessant and unprecedented carnage is an antithesis and contravention of the oath of office, sworn to by the defendants, in pursuant of section 185 (1) and (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended or any other extant laws.

*Declaration that the sudden and continuous invasion of the Yoruba ethnic communities in the 9 states mentioned by bandits, marauders, kidnappers, rapists and the inability of the defendants taking any step to combat the invasion and carnage has exposed the Yoruba ethnic group and the communities to perilous and dangerous situation in contrast to the assurance of their inalienable rights to be preserved under article 19, 20 and 22 of the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights ratification and enforcement act cap A9 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

*An order, compelling the defendants to take every lawful and legal means necessary, to protect their respective communities and their farmlands from encroachment and invasion of both local and foreign herders, bandits, kidnappers who have continued to prevent the people of the communities from realizing their full potentials of enabling environment favorable to their social and economic development.

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