Open grazing: I’m ruined, how will i cope with 4 kids, woman, whose husband died in cattle herd’s related accident, cries out
Mrs Grace Oyelade, whose husband, Benjamin Oyelade, lost his life during an accident caused by a herd of cattle, which poured into the road as he rode on a motorcycle last week Sunday along Atapa-Iresaadu road, has lamented the untimely death crying her life had been ruined.
The mother of four made the lamentation during a chat with ogbomosoinsightonline.com yesterday at their village, Atapa in Surulere local government area of Ogbomoso zone, Oyo state..
“How will l cope with four children? These Fulani Bororo herdsmen have destroyed my life. We had the children together, l am now left to take care of them alone. This is terrible,” she said amid wailing.
She added they had been married for about 8 years
A black eve
Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin Oyelade were in the best of mood all day Sunday, September 19, 2021. The reason was not far-fetched – the next day was the eighth day of the birth of their fourth child, a baby girl. The naming ceremony preparation was in top gear. Nobody had premonition of the lurking danger.
In the evening at about 7pm however, the new father, a carpenter by profession, mounted his motorcycle, he did not want any hitch in the preparation, and so his destination was the nearby Iresaadu, headquarters of Surulere local government to buy premium motor spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol to fill the generating set tank, so it could work long into the night to ensure uninterrupted power supply
In an ebullient mood, he rode out clutching a keg not knowing that would be his last. As he got near the Iresaadu Police station, cows suddenly burst into the road, he unavoidably ran into the herd and fell, sustaining head injury.
Seeing this, the hersdmen fled precipitately signalling the cattle to follow suit. The culprits have not been found since then.
What a turn of event! Naming of child, burial of father held same day
News got to Atapa immediately and an uncle of the deceased quickly mobilized to the scene for rescue operation. “Yes, we saw the cattle running away wildly as we approached the scene,” recalled Mr. Olajide Babalola Solomon.
Continuing he disclosed, “We rushed him to a clinic in Iresaadu but they rejected him asking us to take him to Bowen University Teaching Hospital, BUTH, Ogbomoso. But upon reaching the hospital he was pronounced dead. His corpse was retrieved and brought back to Atapa.”
The community was enveloped in sadness. By 10 am the following morning, the body of the deceased was committed to mother earth.
Also, their church pastor and a sibling of the late father performed the naming ceremony, a brief one less than three minutes, under a tree,” a brother of the deceased told ogbomosoinsightonline.com.
Mr. Babalola further recalling how they were notified of the accident, said, “We were seated compiling the names to give the new born when he left to buy the petrol. We saw him when he fired the motorcycle to life.
“But shortly after, we heard shrill voice of lamentations – ‘this is terrible I’m, ‘this is terrible o’. We requested what happened and we were informed Benjamin was involved in an accident caused by a herd of cattle. So, l drove there to take him to the hospital but he did not make it.”
Youths in the village and Iresaadu became angry and so spilled into the streets and headed to neighbouring Fulani settlements where they attacked the residents, razing down some of their huts.
A Fulani man, Muhammed Imoru, who spoke in Yoruba language informed he was rescued by security operatives including Amotekun Corps and the police from youths who had descended on him after burning their houses.
He maintained however that the culprits were not from among the Fulani hersdmen in the area.
“I didn’t know anything l just arrived home and saw the burnt huts. We didn’t do anything, the hersdmen were migrating, they are not part of us here. But l was attacked by the youths and they were hitting me with sticks and beating me when l was rescued by security operatives. Our cattle are not even here we had taken them far away because we also are involved in farming.”
The youths also burnt tyres to protest the loss before they were persuaded to allow peace to reign. The police subsequently arrested some of the protesting youths whom it was learnt were later released on bail.
Meanwhile, it was found out that the Fulani hersdmen whose cattle caused the accident were passing through the area having been chased away from a community and were in a hurry to leave when the deceased ran into them.
‘Benjamin was a very likable man’
“Benjamin was a man of peace, he never fought with anyone, never a troublemaker,” his uncle, Mr. Babalola noted.
The wife, a petty trader in the small village who hailed from Idi Oyi, remained crestfallen as she continued to sob.
Ineffective anti-open grazing law
Though Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state had signed into law the anti-open grazing bill as far back as 2019, the law is never enforced.
Cattle are still commonly seen across the state grazing in open fields and walk majestically along and crossing major roads.
The activities of the hersdmen have constituted serious menace to peaceful co-existence in the country as they destroy farms, kill farmers, rape and kidnap for ransom.
This was the reason for the promulgation of anti-open grazing law by more states in southern Nigeria in recent times. Sadly however, the law is not being enforced by security agencies which are under the federal government that is believed to have sympathy for the herdsmen.
Thus the death of Benjamin Oyelade is another evil of open grazing, which the Muhammadu Buhari administration is nonetheless so passionate to protect.