In October 13, 2000, General Mohammadu Buhari led lorry loads of
Northerners mostly Fulanis to Governor Lam Adesina over the killing of
Fulanis in Saki, Oyo State.
Fulanis had clashed with Yoruba farmers in Saki, over grazing.
At about 2 p.m., same day, Buhari arrived in a long convoy at the
governor’s office in company of the former governor of Lagos State,
General Buba Marwa, Alhaji Aliko Muhammed, Alhaji Abdulrazak and Alhaji
Hassan. They all wore long faces.
And in an angry tone, asked the shocked Governor Adesina why he has not
done anything to stop the killing of Fulanis, demanding that compensation
must be given for the killings
His words: “Your Excellency, our visit here is to discuss with you and
your government our displeasure about the incident of clashes between two
peoples… the Fulani cattle rearers and merchants are today being harassed
, attacked and killed like in Saki. In the month of May, 2000, 68 bodies
of Fulani cattle rearers were recovered and buried under the supervision
and protection from a team of Mobile Police from Oyo State Command.
“ That some arrests were made by Oyo State Police Command in the massacre
with their immediate release without court trial. This was said to have
been ordered by Oyo State authorities and they were so released to their
amazement. The release of the arrested suspects gave the clear impression
that the authorities are backing and protecting them to continue the
unjust and illegal killings of Fulani cattle rearers…”
According to the general, they therefore wanted immediate stoppage of the
killings, justice and compensation to the Fulanis.
Governor Lam Adeshina in response spoke for about 20 minutes and the
generals were at the edge of their seats for the entire period.
Lam said: “ Before I thank you for this visit, you have come to tell me
something. I also want to tell you something and that something is to make
an appeal. General Buhari has been a former Head of State, Brigadier Marwa
has governed Lagos for some time and with credibility… so you are national
leaders of this country. Even though, by accident of birth, you are from
the North, you can be born anywhere; may be next time when I am coming to
the world, I will be born in the North or the South-South. “My appeal will
be that effort must be made to unite this country and that will be ïn the
best interest of all Nigerians. I am appealing to the Arewa Consultative
Forum, under which auspices our distinguished Nigerians are here; in
recent times, they have been sending wrong signals to a number of us who
believe in the unity and peace of Nigeria; you have been too critical of
the efforts of the Federal Government. I am saying this because Nigeria,
at this point, cannot afford to break and the words you northern leaders
utter are very weighty, at the South here, we normally analyze them
On all the allegations, he said: “From what they have written in the
petition, this government is completely blameless because we don’t
interfere either with the judiciary or with the police functions. I always
preach peaceful co-existence in Oyo State and Nigeria as a whole. We are
all Nigerians and that is what we have been preaching all along and we
shall continue to be Nigerians , no matter the present or immediate
problems which will be solved by the grace of Allah.
“I want to say also that we really have to appeal to our people, the
itinerant Bororo people, that they should observe less aggression. It is
not good , it is not right just coming from somewhere then you just pass
through farm lands cultivated may be with the person’s life savings and
then over night everything is gone. That is not right, even Allah does not
approve of that.
We even wonder when they talk about this people carrying dangerous
weapons, I say do they really believe in Allah? When you just take life
like that and go away! Are we not forbidden not to take human life?
So I think General Buhari, General Marwa, you have to be educating them…
It is my pleasure to inform you that at the Presidential Lodge, we have
made some arrangements for refreshments so that before you go we can
Buhari and his team did not wait for any refreshments. They came in angry
and left bewildered.