By Damilola Adeyemo
ABUJA – Nigerian lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Femi Falana SAN has said that the quit notice given to Fulani herdsmen by Yoruba Activist, Sunday Igboho, is illegal and has advised that anybody affected should go to court.
In a statement, Falana said “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.
“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 the notice to quit to any group of people.”
“We must stop the idea of criminal profiling. If anybody has committed an offense or a group of people has committed an offense, 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 generalization.”
“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.
“There are genuine fears and facts on the ground that the lives and property in that state and in many states of the country are not safe.
“Let the government remove the basis of this quit notice by ensuring that lives and property in Nigeria are safe.”
“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.”
SAHARA REPORTERS gathered that Falana warned against criminalizing people from an ethnic group. He noted that criminal elements must be arrested and prosecuted.
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