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In a letter to President Buhari, Obasanjo warns of ‘Rwanda-type genocide’ in Nigeria

LAGOS – Nigeria – Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has voiced a tough opinion on the current insecurity crisis in Nigeria.

The the former President said the in security situation in Nigeria could lead to “spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis, which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into [a] pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide”.

In an open letter addressed to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Obasanjo warned that “Nigeria is tipping towards a dangerous cliff and only the president could forestall such a looming disaster.”

Hundreds of people have died in clashes involving Fulani herdsmen and farming communities, mostly in the central region of Nigeria during the past few years.

Obasanjo who was head of state between 1999 and 2007, having ruled as a military leader between 1976 to 1979, is also regarded as the “Baba’” of Africa for his elderly statesman role in mediating conflicts in several African nations.

The former president is well known for penning open letters to political leaders on the continent and is on record to have written to President Buhari in the past, drawing a harsh rebuttal from the government in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.

Sources say Mr. Obasanjo’s letter seems to have been motivated by the killing of Funke Olakunrin, the 58-year-old daughter of Reuben Fasoranti, a leader of one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups – the Yoruba.

According to sources, the killing of Mrs Olakunrin has prompted reactions from Mr. Buhari and the police, who announced an “overhaul of security” on major highways in the southern part of the country.

Funke Olakurin is believed to have been  killed by “suspected Fulani herdsmen”, but the Nigerian police maintained that her killers are armed men.

Mr. Obasanjo alerted that for President Buhari to be able to stop the “smoldering ethnic agitations,” he would have to stop fanning “the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence.”

Former President Obasanjo
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Dave Okonjie

Dave Okonjie is a public affairs analyst, researcher and senior issues correspondent.

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