Fulani herdsmen, who on Sunday seized hectares of farmlands at Ayete in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State, on Monday consolidated their hold on the farms despite the visits of the state Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, to the area on Sunday and Monday.
The Asawo of Ayete, Oba Emmanuel Okeniyi, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Monday, said the leader of the herdsmen, Iskilu Wakili, had invited his armed kinsmen to join him on the farms. He added that the herdsmen had started cutting down cocoa trees and burning cashew plantations,
Farmers in Kajola and Gbagban Idere village, under Ayete, who spoke to The PUNCH, confirmed what the traditional ruler said.
One of the farmers, Peter David, lamented that Wakili had taken over the farmlands. According to him, security agencies have not gone to the villages to dislodge the herdsmen, who forcefully took over people’s farmlands
Recall that David had on Sunday appealed to a Yoruba rights activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, to rescue them from a group of herdsmen led by Wakili.
They alleged that Wakili and other herdsmen were driving farmers away from their farms.
On Monday, the state governor continued his trouble-shooting visit to the Ibarapa area, which he started on Sunday.
Makinde visited some towns in the Ibarapa area of the state to feel the pulse of the people over the alleged killings, rape, and massive destruction of the farms of the indigenes by criminal Fulani herdsmen.
Residents of Ayete told one of our correspondents that neither the governor nor security agents visited the two villages, where Wakili and other herdsmen had seized control of farmlands
David, who had earlier spoken to The PUNCH told one of our correspondents on Monday that the governor did not visit the villages and Ayete.
Fulani herdsmen still mount no cross-zone on farms
David said, “The Governor went to Igangan today. He did not stop at Ayete. He went to Igangan and returned to Igboora. He did not stop at Ayete let alone say he would visit the villages. The roadblock mounted by Wakili is still there. He has taken over the area. No security agency has gone there also.”
When one of our correspondents asked the Asawo of Ayete, whether Makinde went to the villages during his visit or not, the monarch said no.
Amotekun failed to confront herdsmen blocking farmers – Monarch
He said, “He did not go there. We said it to his hearing today. He deployed Amotekun to Ayete on Saturday but they (Amotekun) have not gone to the area to confront him (Wakili).
“I was told that the man had brought so many of his armed kinsmen to the area. We are only depending on God to conquer him for us. He is heavily armed, as I was told.
Herdsmen cutting down cocoa trees, burning down cashew plantations – Traditional ruler
“I was told he was cutting down their cocoa trees and that he had burnt many cashew plantations there. This is the time to harvest cashew and that is a big loss to the farmers.”
The governor visited Igangan which is the epicentre of the herdsmen crisis but he was welcomed to the town by some youths, who seized the opportunity to register their displeasure.
Makinde started the tour of Ibarapaland on Sunday with a meeting he held with stakeholders at Igbo-Ora on Sunday night.
Residents welcome Makinde to Igangan with protests
Some youths, who carried placards with various inscriptions, stood by the roadside as Makinde was driven into the town.
They also carried a big banner bearing the portrait of Dr Fatai Aborode, who was allegedly killed by some Fulani in December 2020.
The youths protested the incessant killings, violent rapes and maiming of farmers and other Indigenes by criminals suspected to be herdsmen in the town and other parts of Igangan.
Makinde while addressing the people said he decided to come and see things for himself.
He said, “I won’t be able to sleep with my two eyes closed in Ibadan if my people in Ibarapa cannot sleep with their two eyes closed.”
Makinde said governors needed the cooperation of the police and other federal security agencies to enforce the anti-open grazing law enacted to stop frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
The governor said state police would have helped to enforce the law.
Makinde, according to a statement from his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, on Monday said this when he held an overnight meeting with Ibarapa people in Igboora.
The meeting had in attendance the Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Debo Ogundoyin, commissioners, chairmen and members of boards and parastatals, members of the state House of Assembly and all the political appointees from Ibarapa zone.
Makinde said, “Quite frankly, the governors are at the mercy of federal security agencies to implement certain laws.
“That was why we asked for state police. In the first instance, it is a constitutional issue and, in the absence of having that, governors in the South- West came together and formed Amotekun as a stop gap.
“Problems don’t go away completely. But you have to keep working at them, keep pushing to get to where you really want to be and that is what we will keep doing.
“But the law is there, though the implementation has not been smooth, we will keep working at it.”
The governor commiserated with the families that have lost their loved ones to the insecurity situation, saying, he felt their pains.
He stated that he had had a very close interaction with Dr Fatai Aborode in the past.
Makinde charged political office holders from the area to always speak out anytime they discovered that things were not going the ways they ought to.
He said, “The take-home from the interaction for me is that it is a collective problem and I can see the commitment from everybody to find a solution to this.
“And, at least, I am quite glad that some of the initiatives that the government is trying to put in place to stem insecurity are coming to fruition.
“We will ensure that our identity management programme takes off as quickly as possible. We will also ensure the setting up of a peace and security committee that is all-encompassing in the councils.”
Oyo to commence identity management programme
Earlier, Makinde, during a meeting with selected stakeholders, local government chairmen and political office holders from the Ibarapa zone in Igbo Ora, declared that the problems of the zone were his problems and responsibilities.
The governor, while addressing council chairpersons and political office holders from Ibarapa Central, Ibarapa East and Ibarapa North, in Igbo Ora, late on Sunday stated that the state had approved the inauguration of Peace and Security Committee at the local government level, adding that the state government would put in place other security measures to ensure peace in the area.
He also disclosed that the government had directed the immediate take-off of an identity management programme to enable it to know who is who in the communities.
He said, “We will ensure that our identity management programme takes off as quickly as possible. We will also ensure the setting up of peace and security committee that is all-encompassing in the councils.”
He said that the problems of insecurity in Ibarapaland needed to be tackled collectively, adding that he commiserated with the families that have lost loved ones to the insecurity situation.
“So, this is also to let people know that I feel their pain, because I have had a very close interaction with Dr. Fatai Aborode in the past. I commiserate with his family and many others who have lost loved ones to this situation.”
On the enforcement of anti-grazing law, Makinde said governors needed the cooperation of the police and other federal security forces to enforce the anti-open grazing law enacted to stop frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
He said, “Quite frankly, the governors are at the mercy of federal security agencies to implement certain laws. That was why we asked for state police. In the first instance, it is a constitutional issue and, in the absence of having that, governors in the South West came together and formed Amotekun as a stop-gap measure.”
On the deployment of additional Amotekun operatives, the governor said, “The 200 Amotekun Corps have been deployed. They are here and we are also supporting them with logistics by bringing four additional operational vehicles for them.”
Oyo to compensate victims of Ibarapa crisis
Makinde, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, on Monday evening, said his administration would compensate victims of the Ibarapa crisis.
He also said his administration had turned the heat on kidnappers and criminals in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun axis of the state and would succeed in routing them out.
The governor in his addresses to residents of Ibarapa communities, said the state could not afford to lose more lives to insecurity.
Makinde, who visited the homes of the late Dr. Fatai Aborode and others who lost their lives to the crisis in the area, including Mrs. Idowu Babarinde, who lost a child during the shooting by kidnappers who attempted to abduct a filling station owner in Idere, expressed pains on the lives that were lost in the area.
He stated that his government would compensate the victims of the insecurity in Ibarapa, adding that “We must have a peace and security committee at the local government level, which will be all-encompassing. Those people that are supposed to be there and can contribute meaningfully must be accommodated. “
Why Makinde didn’t visit villages, where herdsmen occupied farms – Aide
When contacted on why Makinde did not visit two villages, where herdsmen had dislodged farmers, Adisa said the governor did not need to go from village to village since the traditional rulers and representatives of people in all the villages were present at his meeting.
He said, “The governor had three distinct stops in Ibarapa besides other brief consultative meetings with known leaders. There were town hall meetings at Igbo Ora, Idere and Igangan. Different stakeholders were present at the different stops and the cases narrated were similar in nature.
“The governor did not need to go from town to town holding communal meetings since all of the stakeholders in Ibarapaland had agreed to converge on the aforementioned locations at their convenience.”