Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Crisis is looming in Ikoyi-Ile in Orire Local Government Area of Oyo State as suspected herdsmen chopped off the hand of a farmer in the community, raped two teenagers, injured some and destroyed farmland.
The farmers have warned that they would defend themselves if the state government failed to protect them against iinvasion, saying they were getting to their thresholds.
Farmers in Ikoyi-Ile, surrounded by 674 villages, raised the alarm that herdmens have been attacking farmers, raping their female children, destroying their farmland, adding that some of the farmers had,been killed, while a number of them had been sent into perpetual debts.
According to the Babalaje of Agbe in Orire Local Government, Chief Oyekola Joseph, who is also the secretary of Idera Agbe Famers Association in the local,government, the development has been going on for the past eight years.
“We don’t know what to do because if we take any step or revenge, it may lead to bloodshed. We want the government to help us and take necessary steps because our king that supposed to defend us, has failed in his duties; he is now backing the Bororo against us.
“Herdsmen cut off hand of one of our workers, working in the farm. They destroyed our farm products. Another farmer was matcheted on the head, while others were injured, and two of our minors were also raped.”
The Onikoyi of Ikoyi-Ile, Oba Abdul-Yekeen Oladipupo, in his reaction, stated: “We have tried to resolve the issue many times because it is difficult to separate farmers and herders. We have been living together for a while. I have taken a lot of steps in the matter so as to find a lasting solution to it. But it seems my efforts wasn’t enough. So, we need government intervention in the matter.
“I have had series of meetings with all the village heads (baales) around me to find solution to the issue. Infact, I even had meetings with the Assistant Inspector General of Police, in Osogbo (headquarters of Zone 11, composing Oyo, Sun and Ondo State), together with the Commissioner of Police, and the police assured me that they would come to our aid.”
Oba Oladipupo, however, appealed to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, the state House of Assembly, and security agencies to intervene before the issue would degenerate to something else.
Two among the victims of herdsmen’s attack, Usman Daudu, and Dominic Gbegbi, also recounted their ordeals. Daudu said the maize, yam, tomato, and so on that he planted on 20 hectares of land were completely destroyed by herders that grazed their cattle on the farmland.
Daudu, who was injured on his head with cutlass when challenged the herdsmen stated further: “They have not stopped the attacks on our farms. We have pleaded with them several times, yet they didn’t yield to our plea. They are ‘Bororo’ because the Fulani that were already on ground don’t use to have issue with us.” Gbegbi also claimed that he was matcheted 14 times when he also challenged the herders.