James Ogunnaike, ABEOKUTA
The Olu of Oba Eerin in Obafemi/Owode local government area of Ogun State, Oba Ganiyu Adegun Sanyaolu, has cautioned his subjects against harbouring strangers especially, herders that were looking for place of abode following their forceful ejection from Ibarapa area of Oyo State.
The call according to the monarch became necessary following a video clip that has gone viral alleging that some herdsmen who were forcefully sent away by youths of Ibarapa in Oyo State have started erecting structures in the agrarian town.
Oba Sanyaolu also urged them to shun any act that could cause breakdown of law and order in his domain.
He stressed that the viral video has created palpable fear in the minds of residents and visitors of the town.
Findings by Our Correspondent revealed that some herders were seen along the roads leading to Oba town, the Community that hosts the new Abeokuta Correctional facility and the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, some of them have already erected structures and cleared bushes around the major roads leading to the town.
Some residents of Oba and Alagada who spoke to Vanguard said the presence of the herders was noticed some days ago when they saw tractors clearing some farmlands around Alagada village, about 200 meters to new Abeokuta Correctional facility, and within three days about 20 huts typical of Fulani abodes have started springing up.
They 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.
Oba Sanyaolu while speaking with some journalists in his palace, said some youths have already gone to these herders where they accosted them and shared the video clip of their encounters to the people, thereby creating tension in the minds of the people.
To avert any crisis that may erupt thereafter, I have called some people that I know facilitated the coming of these herders to a meeting where I instructed them to do the needful.
On his part, the Apena of Oba, Chief Rasheed Sobowale said, though, we have not had any attack from them, but a stitch in time saves nine. Sometimes in the evening, you will see their cattle taking over roads leading to the town, travellers would have to wait several minutes before they were allowed to pass”.
He alleged that a member of Alagada village, Alhaji Sulaimon Salisu, popularly known as Alagada was responsible for the settlement of these Fulani herders in the area.
In his own reaction, Salisu denied ever inviting any herders from Ibarapa to Oba area of Ogun state, clarifiying that those with him are herders who had already been in the state but residing in Owowo before they came to settle in Oba.
He therefore assured the monarch and inhabitants of Oba town that he will sell off all his cattle and send the herders back to where they came from.
“Your Majesty, based on the controversy that this issue has generated, and in order to allay the fear of our people, I will sell all my cows and send these people away”.