Oriire council boss, Obas, Seriki Fulani, take tough measures against herdsmen
Ayoola TAIWO & Adebayo ADELEKE
Will this new approach solve the problem of farm destructions by Fulani herdsmen in Oriire local government area in Ogbomoso zone of Oyo state?
ogbomosoinsightonline.com and some other news outlets earlier in the week reported the wide scale destructions of farms in the council area often perpetrated by the ubiquitous Fulani herdsmen who recklessly invade farms with cattle for grazing.
Hectares of cassava farmlands and of other crops have been ravaged by the animals bringing humongous losses to the hapless farmers.
The unfortunate thing however according to victims is that the perpetrators are often not brought to justice or allowed to pay compensation.
A farmer who was a victim in recent time said, “These Fulani herdsmen often boast of their connections to high places saying they could not be brought to book.
“The moment they commit their nefarious activities, grazing their animals in our farms, they begin to call top ranking officials in government and security agencies in order to evade sanctions. Security agents also often compromise.
“If they are asked to pay compensation to farmers they refuse or pay abysmally low amount often a far cry from the worth of the damaged farms.”
However, a peace meeting held Thursday convened by the council chairman, Hon Alabi Olateju Michael, held at Ikoyi town hall, headquarters of Oriire local government, and attended by the chairman, his vice, Hon Mrs. Lydia Bankole; traditional rulers including Olobamo of Obamo Oba James Adegoke Olukunle l represented by Abese Obamo, High Chief Afon Peter; Baale Olokoto; Seriki Fulani of Ogbomoso zone, Alhaji Guruma Umar Babunga; and sectional Fulani heads; representatives of Onikoyi of Ikoyi royal house; Elerepamo chief; and Elesinele, High Chief Tajudeen Abioye.
Security agencies at the meeting included the Nigerian Police Force, Civil Defence, Nigerian Immigration Services, Department of State Services (DSS), Agro Rangers, Amotekun Corps, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Vigilante groups and so on.
Speaking at the well-attended event, the council boss, riled by insinuations that he was lackadaisical about the menace warned that any culprit caught henceforth destroying farms with his livestock would be apprehended and made to face the music.
“How can people invest in farming to help feed the nation and make some income but some people would bring animals to feed on the farm?
“Henceforth, the culprits would be made to face the music and answer to their crimes,” the chairman fumed, while adding, “We will not tolerate such again. Law enforcement agents should rise to the occasion.”
He also urged traditional rulers to ensure the checkmate of the criminals while emphasizing on forging of peace and love among farmers and herdsmen.
The chairman consequently assured a law would be enacted to check the activities of the herdsmen.
He also noted that the problem was prevalent in communities where there are rival traditional rulers warning seriously searchlights would be beamed on such Baales.
In the same vein he disclosed patrons of any Fulani man that wounds or kills anyone would be held responsible.
Seriki Fulani of Ogbomosoland, Alhaji Guruma similarly condemned the atrocities of the herders charging law enforcement agents to “apprehend both Fulani and Bororo herdsmen destroying farms.”
Guruma further remarked, “Someone took loans from cooperatives, banks and from other sources to farm.
“Another person now destroys that farm because you want to graze your cows in order to expand your own business. It is wickedness.”
He therefore warned his tribesmen to toe the path of civility and desist from further destruction of farms.
Elerepamo, the traditional chief of Pamo, also lamented the losses his people continue to suffer in the hands of the marauders whom he accused of leveraging on their links with the high ups to evade paying for their crimes.
Meanwhile, the Agro Rangers operatives paraded nine Fulani suspects among whom were Muidi, Musa and Yisa, alleged of being especially notorious in destroying farms.
“They herd animals at nights and on Sundays and Fridays when most farmers are away from their farms,” it was alleged.
Chairman of Isokan Agbe in Ogbomoso zone Comrade Odebunmi Olanrewaju in his address harped on allowing peace to reign just as he advised participants to stop the practice of profiling any tribe as criminals noting few bad eggs shouldn’t be used as yardstick to describe a whole race.
High Chief Tajudeen Abioye Elesinele, in a chat with ogbomosoinsightonline.com hammered on another resolution of the meeting that “if any farm is destroyed and the perpetrator is not found all Fulani herders residing in that vicinity would be held responsible. I stand by this.”