How herdsmen invaded our community, macheted 7 farmers, destroyed farmland – Oyo monarch

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The Baale of Araro in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo state, Chief Mustapha Ibrahim, on Monday narrated how seven farmers were allegedly macheted by some people suspected to be herdsmen after invading and destroying farmlands worth several thousands of naira at the weekend.

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DAILY POST gathered that the village, Araro, a border town between Oyo and Ogun states close to Government Reservation Area, is about 20 kilometre away from the city of Ibadan, with the inhabitants mainly farmers.

Ibrahim while narrating the ordeal of the inhabitants of the village, stated that his people had abandoned their only means of livelihood, farming out fear of attack by the herdsmen.

He called on the state Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde to intervene in the continued assault and harassment of farmers by Fulani herdsmen in the area.

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Ibarahim said that the injured who were allegedly macheted by the herdsmen at the weekend, were rescued from the bush, soaked in blood, before they were taken to medical facilities by policemen from Omi Adio, Police station for medical attention.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), in the state, Olugbenga Fadeyi, a superintendent of Police, confirmed that there had been incessant skirmishes between the farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the area, but said there was nobody machetted by herdsmen.

He, however, explained that it was true that complaint was made at the Omi Adio Police station, by farmers from Araro community, and the DPO and some officers visited the area to access the situation, but no one was macheted as claimed by the traditional ruler.

He said, “When the DPO got there, there was no case of anybody being macheted. They said some herds were eating their crops, and one of the rams, not even cow was brought to the station, and its there. All I can say is that investigation is ongoing and we will get you informed at the end.”

However, the traditional ruler disagreed with the police and took time off to invite some of the victims to his palace and also acceded to the request of journalists to visit hospitals where the victims were treated after the attack.

Furious about the police narration, the traditional ruler wondered why the police would decide to look the other way when the lives of residents of the community were threatened, adding that none of the attacks were not reported at the police station.

It was gathered that trouble started in November last year, when some groups of Fulani herdsmen led by one Babangida invaded farms and attacked farm owners who challenged them for destroying their crops.

Ibrahim, while speaking further, said since the settlement of the Fulani herdsmen in the Government Reserved Area, the community had known no peace, with daily complaints by farmers whose farms were being destroyed.

One of the victims, Mr. Akande Owoyele who was macheted on his head, alongside some of his workers two months ago, accused the Fulani herdsmen of destroying farm crops despite series of peace meeting with the community chief.

“I told my boys working in the farm, not to challenge or fight with the herdsmen each time they sight them destroying my crops, but instead they should inform the Baale, and he will know the step to take immediately. We are peace loving people.

“One day, the herdsmen again stormed my farm with their cows. And my boys had to call me, and I called their leader, Babangida to call his people to order. He told me that they are not his people, so I told my boys to drive them out of my farm and seize their cutlass and some of their weapons, which I took to police station as evidence.

“The next day, they came and waylaid my boys with dangerous weapons. They were macheted, leaving them with deep cuts. They even carried one of them off with Okada and threatened to cut off his head into the stream before he was rescued.

“We had to mobilise people into the bush to rescue the injured workers and rushed them to hospital. Babangida was arrested by the police, even the matter was transferred to Iyaganku police station. The following day, I was in my farm, when I saw herds of cows again eating up my crops.

“Immediately, I called the police station, the police said we should arrest and bring the straying cows to the station. So, we took one of the cows, and on our way to police station, the Fulani herdsmen, waylaid and attacked us, and inflicted deep machete cut on my head, while others suffered severe injuries.”

He added that another cow was recently arrested and taken to the police station at Omi Adio, with nobody to claim its ownership since it was arrested.

Some of victims who were attacked on several occasions on the farmlands were said to have been treated at Emiloju Hospital, while others were admitted at Precious Hospital, both at Omi Adio, Ibadan.

Dr. Faleye Jacob of Emiloju Hospital confirmed that two of the victims, Ifasesin Salako, and Olabode Owoleye, were brought to his hospital in critical condition with severe machete cuts and were placed on admission for observation and treatment.

Also, at Precious Hospital, Omi Adio where a victim received medical attention, the medical personnel on duty, Dr. Kayode Ayoola confirmed that one of the victims of herdsmen attack, Akande Owoyele, was brought in, comatose, with machete deep cuts in the head and other bodily injuries.