From LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
Concerned individuals of Igbaja land in the Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara state yesterday staged a peaceful protest to the palace of the traditional ruler of the ancient town, the Elesee Palace in Igbaja, against alleged atrocities of herdsmen to their lives and property.
The herdsmen in the Ifelodun communities were accused of being the perpetrators of incessant invading of their farms, stealing and killings by the residents, as they said that their actions have instilled fear on the Igbaja community.
One of the concerned people,
Alhaji Abdulyekeen Ajibade, said that there are criminal elements among the herders in their community.
Ajibade also said that the herders had repeatedly inflicted harm to indigenes of the of the area, describing how they invaded their farm lands to feed their cows.
Also speaking, another resident, Mr. Ajibola Ibrahim, said farmers in the community always recorded losses after spending lots of money on their farming business due to activities of the herdsmen.
Alhaja Kudirat Abdulqodir, while expressing her sadness on the issue, said the Fulani do rape females in the community, describing such act as inhuman.
While at the Elesee Palace, where monarchs in ifelodun Local Government Area were having their meeting, the monarchs addressed the protesting people, saying that agenda of their meeting was basically on the issue of herdsmen activities in Ifelodun communities.
The traditional rulers, who acknowledged patience of their people, urged them to be more prayerful, while assuring them that there will be solution to the issue soon.
In an interview with the head of Fulani in Igbaja, Mallam Abubakar Garba, confirmed that the accusations were true, and implored the people to be patient, saying deliberate efforts were being made to address the matter.
Garba expressed his sadness over situation of security in the communities, calling for dialogue to ensure amicable resolution.
Meanwhile, Kwara state government has urged members of the public to go about their lawful business in peace and to live in harmony with one another, saying measures have been put in place to prevent any crisis between host communities and herders in the state.
“In the light of some unfortunate developments in some neighbouring states, we urge our people not to entertain any fear as proactive measures have been, and are still being, taken to maintain peace and ensure security of lives and properties of every resident. The government is working with all the security agencies, directors of personnel management (DPMs) and the leadership of Miyetti Allah to strengthen the existing peace between various economic interests,” according to a statement by the Secretary to the State Government Prof Mamman Sabbah Jubril.
“At the instance of His Excellency the Governor of Kwara State, the Office of the SSG has held briefings with various stakeholders across the state on the need to ensure that all hands are on deck to protect lives and properties. The leadership of Miyetti Allah has also committed to disallow night grazing or cattle grazing by underage persons. Assisted by the security agencies, the DPMs across the 16 local government areas have been directed to work with local communities and legitimate herders to keep the peace.
“We therefore urge everyone to key into this peacebuilding process and to avoid taking laws into their own hands or engage in activities that can undermine peaceful coexistence.