OLUFEMI OLANIYI and WALE OYEWALE
There is renewed tension in the Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State following the alleged takeover of two villages by some herdsmen.
The two villages, Kajola and Gbagba Idere are located in the Ayete Local Government Area of the state.
Residents of Ayete told our correspondent that a Fulani herdsman, Iskilu Wakil, was asked to leave the villages because he did not buy the land he was occupying.
This was said to have infuriated the herder, who claimed he was a combatant with arms and ammunition.
The Asawo of Ayete, Oba Emmanuel Okeniyi, said those who have farms in the villages had fled the places over fear they might be attacked by Wakil.
Oba Okeniyi said, “They asked him to leave the area. I don’t think he bought the land from anybody and the owners of the land asked him to leave. But rather than leaving, he has become a terror. The Fulani there usually destroy their farms.
“The farmers in the villages have fled their places, they are just loafing about now. Government has deployed Amotekun personnel in Ayete. They came yesterday ( Friday) but I haven’t heard that they have gone to those villages”
A resident of Ayete, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that Wakil and his followers barricaded the road leading to the villages, adding that they threatened to shoot dead any villager who moved close to the place.
He said, “This started three days ago. The villagers had fled the place. The Amotekun personnel deployed by Oyo State Government are in Ayete, they have not gone to those villages. The police are not going there despite the several distress calls made to them.
“The hunters in the town are ready to face Wakil and his followers but they are afraid because they believe if they fight and kill him, the Federal Government will move against them. But the same Federal Government is not doing anything to ameliorate the plight of the people now. People believe fighting against herdsmen is like fighting against the Federal Government.
“One of the sons of Seriki Fulani who fled Igangan told me that Yoruba people should bring Sunday Igboho to face Wakil. He said he would finish him and his followers.”
In a related development, it was gathered that there was tension in Igangan on Saturday following the alleged attack on a 65-year-old man, Adekola Adeyemo, and Jamiu Saedu, aged 30 by herdsmen.
The two of them were said to have been attacked with machete cuts on their heads.
They were in their house sleeping when two herdsmen attacked them and inflicted machete cut injuries on their heads.
One of the prominent persons in Igangan, Mr Taiwo Adeagbo, told our correspondent that the two victims of herdsmen attack were admitted at Fumilayo Clinic, Oke Ola and that the case was reported to the Divisional Crime Officer.
However, when contacted, the Asigangan of Igangan, Oba Lasisi Adeoye, said he was not aware of the fresh attack.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Oyo State, Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi, when contacted also said he had not been briefed about the incident at Ayete and the fresh attack in Igangan.
He said, “I have not been informed of anything like that. But if there is any threat to anybody’s life, let them report to the police and the matter will be taken up from there.
“ That is the reason the police are there, they should report to the police.”
The inhabitants of Igangan community in Oyo State are currently living in fear of possible reprisals by herders in reaction to their eviction from the community, following the ultimatum given to them by a Yoruba rights activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a Sunday Igboho.
Recall that angry protesters allegedly set ablaze the Igangan home of the Seriki Fulani at the expiration of the eviction notice issued by Igboho, after his visit to the town in company with the police Area Commander at Eruwa.
While the Seriki Fulani had alleged that Igboho led the attack which, he claimed, resulted in the killing of seven of his men in the community, the National Public Relations Officer, Odua Peoples Congress, New Era, Akinpelu Adesina, described the allegation as false and unfounded.
Against the backdrop of the attack on Igboho’s Soka, Ibadan residence, the Igangan community said a reprisal against them was possible.
The community leaders, comprising the Asigangan of Igangan, Oba Adewuyi Olaoye; the Asigangan-in-Council, community leaders and youth groups, indicated that precautionary measures were being put in place to forestall possible attack by the herders.
Oba Olaoye, in an interview with our correspondent, confirmed that traditional Oro rites had been made to appease the gods of the land for protection and a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed on Igangan communities as part of the security measures.
The monarch, who said the community had long been under the siege of killer herders, called for investigation into the alleged atrocities and criminal acts by the Seriki.
The Convener, Igangan Development Advocates, Oladokun Oladiran, said the community was awaiting the deployment of the 200 Amotekun operatives promised by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State to further curb insecurity.
He said, “In Igangan, a 5am to 9pm curfew has been put in place to monitor movement of people in an effort to secure the lives and property of the residents.
“It was the joint decision of the monarch, the chiefs, the council of elders and associations in Igangan. The Operation Burst has been deployed to resume patrol including the local vigilante group.
“The Fulani are still in our midst as we speak. They are still at Ile Bamogba in Igangan. They are living peacefully and are going about their daily activities without any threat.
“We continue to live in peace with the Fulani people in Igangan; those ones have stayed with us for many years. Igangan and the entire Ibarapa are rising against the crime lord. We are talking of somebody who has turned crime into business, who is making millions from kidnappings, regardless of the lives lost in the process.”