By Adeola Badru— IBADAN
THE joy of thousands of Ibarapa residents in Oyo State knew no bounds last Friday when their ‘messiah’, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, ensured the execution of an eviction order he gave to their long term neighbours-Fulani herders, who he alleged, had caused unimaginable damage to both human lives and property.
They had made several distress calls but their cries were melodious songs in the ears of relevant authorities that should come to their aid.
Ibarapa, an agrarian community, whose means of livelihood is farming, has about seven towns and cities.
The towns are Lanlate, Eruwa, Igboora, Idere, Ayete, Tapa and Igangan.
Apart from the fears of being kidnapped, maimed and killed, they were forced to abandon their farms thereby, exposing them to hunger.
So, it is better imagined how elated they would be when someone, came out of the blues and offered them help that had hitherto eluded them.
Sunday Igboho, whose mien could deceive an angel, put his life on the line to save his people.
After some investigations, Igboho discovered that kidnapping, which the herders had seen as an easy way to get rich, is a collective conspiracy against his people.
He accused the Sarkin Fulani in the area of being an accomplice.
Herders’ victims recount ordeal
As a result of the atrocities of the herders-turned killers, the sun of so many promising sons and daughters of Ibadan had been forced to set at dawn.
Among those who have been subjected to inhuman acts of the herders are Dr. Fatai Aborode; owner of a petroleum station in Idere, Mrs. Sherifat Adisa; a farmer who was abducted and thereafter, killed, Mr. Agboola and an Ibadan socialite, Mr. Teslim Akinpelu, who was on Saturday killed by armed robbers.
A series of incidents in the axis in Oyo State has exposed the weak security architecture of the state, which reports have it that about ten deaths and over twenty-five abductions have occurred in the zone within 24 months.
Tales of woes
The Secretary of Lanlate Renaissance Group, Mr. Abimbola Adeyeri, who spoke with Vanguard during a visit to Ibarapaland, said: “Telling our tales to the world to hear and believe in the absence of trusted media was painfully not possible, as each carnage described would be greeted by Fulani’s obnoxious denial in total relegation to an abyss of falsehood.
“Every arrest would be truncated by their Seriki, and the bulk of the world felt the gory episodes ravaging Ibarapa land was just a series of exaggerated tragedies meant only to discredit the perpetrators.
“Each of the towns in Ibarapa has had a fair share of these dastard acts of these bloodthirsty herders. In September 2019, four staff of Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora, were kidnapped and were later released after payment of ransom. The victims confirmed they were kidnapped by Fulani herders. No government agency has made an arrest or provided any details of this dastard act to date. The governor did not read the riot act.
“Barely a year ago, popular Lagos based traditional medicine practitioner, Alhaji Fatai Yusuf, aka, Oko Oloyun was shot dead along Igboora-Eruwa axis of Ibarapa. Till today, the government and her agencies have not apprehended or prosecuted anyone for this dastard act.”
Another pathetic incident was the unprovoked attack on Ms. Modupe Oyetoso and her fiancé were returning from their farm in Igbodudu, Lanlate around 5 pm when blood-thirsty herders accosted these young agropreneurs killing Modupe’s fiancé and whisked Modupe away for two days. She spent two days with her abductors and only secured her release after an undisclosed sum of money was paid as ransom to the kidnappers.
“This story was taken to the Governor in person. He made promises, which till date, have not been fulfilled. Modupe confirmed her abductors were Fulani.
“Barely two weeks after Modupe’s case, a Cocoa farmer and merchant, Alhaji Fatai Ogunniyi also known as ‘Fatai Cocoa’ was kidnapped on the Maya axis of Lanlate. He was later released two days after a huge ransom was paid.
“He confirmed he was kidnapped by Fulani herders; Mr. Governor did not read a riot act. On the 12th of December, 2020, Dr. Fatai Aborode, a prominent son of Igangan and a University of Glasgow, Aberdeen trained Chemist was murdered in cold blood on his farm by Fulani herdsmen. He had established hundreds of hectares of farmlands employing youths from his hometown Igangan and other sister communities of Ibarapa and beyond. No government statement or positive action to track his killers.
“It must be put on record that, since the hacking to death of Dr. Aborode in Igangan in December 2020 no day has passed without the herders attacking, kidnapping or even killing innocent Ibarapa indigenes.”
The last straw
He added: “On the 2nd of January, 2021, Mrs. Sherifat Adisa, the owner of Subawah Petroleum and two other children were shot dead by Fulani in Idere, another town in Ibarapa.
“This led to the demonstration and closure of petroleum filling stations for five days in the entire Ibarapa land. What did the Governor and our representatives do?
“Going by this dastard acts, it is evident that the ‘touch not my anointed and do my herders no harm’ message of our state governor and the Federal Government is loud enough.”
Residents accuse Makinde, FG of alleged insensitivity
“It is an absolute absurdity that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State could mistake Ibarapa, the epicenter of the Fulani killings for Oke-Ogun in the first place. It will be preposterous that further agony will be meted out to us or our benefactor.
“The Presidency and IGP are deaf and dead to kidnapping, rape and other criminalities being perpetrated by the Fulani, but are quick to give arrest order for a man who rose to defend his people. No one likes chaos, but a breaking point exists for everything in life. The question is if the Yoruba will allow Sunday Igboho to be arrested. I wonder which of the government’s role was fulfilled, power, healthcare, water, education, road, security.
“Let it be known to both local and international communities that, the government failed in their primary role in Oyo State and another at the Centre is in comatose. Blame these irresponsible governments and not Igboho who only filled a vacuum.
“Yet, the few bold men who stood up to defend their communities are labelled criminals by their own governor and the IGP declaring their arrest. The people had been crying for freedom for a long time with no one to help. Ibarapa land trooped out on Friday to welcome Sunday Igboho to execute the eviction order he gave to the Seriki Fulani of Oyo State seven days earlier only because the apparatus of government has failed woefully.
“The governments should bury their heads in shame and not fan any ethnic crisis as a result of this defense of our territorial integrity.”
Peace reigns after eviction notice
In another interview with Akowe Agbe in Ibarapa, Adeagbo Taiwo, disclosed that the peace, which has eluded the town, had started returning since the eviction warning of Chief Sunday Igboho to the Fulani herdsmen.
Taiwo said: “We have started witnessing peace again. Barely can week pass without a report of Kidnapping or killing?”
While reacting to the incident, Governor Makinde whose order Ibarapa residents defied, declared on Monday that his government would not try to solve the insecurity challenges in his state by backing those bent on taking laws into their hands or carrying out jungle justice against perceived wrongdoers.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, he quoted the governor as saying that his government had foreclosed the option of backing anyone taking up arms against other ethnic nationalities resident in the state in the name of seeking justice as, according to him, such a step would have dire consequences for the society.
He said: “We will continue to promote good neighborliness among our people and we will ensure that all of us go after the criminals together.
“We will continue to support our security agencies because they are also trying to maintain law and order in an atmosphere of pandemic and economic challenges. We will continue to provide support for the security agencies for them to do their work.”