By James Ogunnaike
Palpable fear has enveloped residents of Oba Community in Obafemi Owode Local government area of Ogun State following the invasion of the community by some herdsmen.
Findings by Our Correspondent revealed that the herders who were seen along the roads leading to Oba town, the Community that hosts the new Abeokuta Correctional facility and the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, have started erecting structures and clearing bushes around the major roads leading to the town thereby creating fears in the mind of the people.
Some residents of Oba and Alagada who spoke to Vanguard said the presence of the herders was noticed about three weeks ago when they saw tractors clearing some farmlands around Alagada village, about 200 meters to new Abeokuta Correctional Service, and within three days about 20 huts typical of Fulani abodes have started springing up.
The residents said the presence of the herdsmen around their community has become a source of concern for them, alleging that within few days they relocated to the area, the herders allow their cattle to destroy their farms while grazing in the area.
The Baale of Oba, Chief Oludiji Odejimi while speaking with our Correspondent said the manner the herders came to the town calls for proper investigation from the government and law enforcement agencies, positing that their presence there is creating fear in the minds of people.
“In fact, with the insecurity being posed by these Fulani herders, I don’t know why somebody in his right senses will now invite them to come and settle in a place like this”.
“A higher institution is a few meters to this place. Also, a government correctional facility is about 100 meters to this place. How can somebody allow them to come and settle here, it is very dangerous. If we allow it without taking any action, this invasion is a time bomb.”
The Public Relation Officer of Oba Community Development Association, Samson Osoba said that inhabitants of villages in the area now lived in fear because of the unknown.
“Some have deserted their homes, though we have not had any attack from them, a stitch in time can save nine, sometimes in the evening, you will see their cattle taking over roads leading to the town, travellers had to wait several minutes before they were allowed to pass”.
He alleged that a member of Alagada village, by name, Alhaji Sule Alagada was responsible for the settlement of these Fulani herders in the area.
” He had not informed the royal father of the town or any community leader in the area before bringing this large numbers of herders into our community, neither had he contacted anybody.
Speaking also a popular fisherman, Dogo Abubakar said he suddenly saw the people around the area thereby wondering how they got there.
“I am an Hausa man from Sokoto, and I have been living here for more than twenty years. I can authoritatively tell you here that people here are very accommodating, so when I saw them, my thought was that they would ask me how to get to the Kabiyesi for them to sign agreement of good conduct, but we had not talked since they came here”.
When our correspondent visited the area, one of the herders in an interview said they have been in Ogun State for sometimes before relocating to the Oba area.
“We have been in Owowo in Ewekoro local government, under one leader before, but we had little misunderstanding before we decided to move our cows here with the help of Alhaji Sule Alagada”.
“Alhaji had promised to take us to the Kabiyesi, but he had not done it since three weeks that we got here”.
All efforts by our correspondent to speak with Alhaji Sule Alagada was not successful as his contacts were not going through.