From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Fulani socio-cultural group in the South-West, the Jamu Nati Fulbe Association of Nigeria, has petitioned Oyo Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, over the loss of 500 cows in Ibarapa area of the state, in the last three weeks.
The group, in the petition signed by National Chairman of the association, Alhaji Saliu Kadir and Oyo State Chairman, Mallam Abubakar Banni, in Ibadan, yesterday, alleged that some individuals poisoned a water reservoir where their cattle drink from, which led to mass death of their cattle.
It appealed to the governor to help Fulani cattle rearers in Ibarapa halt alleged killings of their cows by unknown people.
When contacted on telephone, Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy to governor Ajimobi, Mr. Yomi Layinka said the governor will look into the petition when he receives it as well as direct relevant security agencies to maintain peace in the area.
Layinka said no group has any right to take law into its hands and any group found culpable would be sanctioned, adding that the governor has always promoted peaceful co-existence and will always take sides with the law to ensure justice.
Copies of the two-page petition were also given to the Commissioner of Police; Director, Department of State Service (DSS); and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The petitioners raised the alarm that the incident occurred mostly in Ibarapa Central and Ibarapa North local government areas of the state.
A part of the petition reads: “Your Excellency, farmers are in the habit of using poisonous substances in our grazing land, which have caused the death of millions of cows since last year against the counter-claim by the farmers that it is chemical treatment of farm produce waste.
“But, it is just a deliberate attempt by the farmers to provoke Fulanis so that crisis will erupt and as a result drive us out of Ibarapa zone. Also, hunters are in the habit of shooting our people at will and burning our herd. This case happened after Sapoto area of Igangan. The farmers are economical with the truth. There is no place or time when they arrested cattle rearers who they claimed had destroyed their farms and Fulani refused to pay them.
“But, since last year when they started poisoning our cattle, no farmer has ever paid for killing our cattle.
“The most dangerous part of it is that they have started poisoning herdsmen food (Garri). A case study at Akujo village in Igangan, where three boys were poisoned on January 4, 2016. These entire claims should be verified and confirmed from the police as we don’t want to take law into our hands.
“That is why we are appealing to you sir to intervene in this matter urgently. Conclusively, we want to urge you to use your good office to find us a lasting solution to this menace.”