.They ate our food before shooting at us — Victim
•My neighbor was beaten to stupor
By Shina Abubakar
RESIDENTS of the sleepy Coker community in Obokun Local Government Area of Osun State were shocked beyond imagination as marauding herdsmen invaded the village and attempted to kidnap some of the villagers.
Though the mission was not successful, partly due to the efforts of local hunters, the wicked act of the gun-wielding herdsmen left an indelible mark in the lives of their victims and the community.
The marauding herdsmen stormed the house of one Yisau Qodri with guns, sticks and cutlasses and shot their way into the house.
They ate food in the kitchen, quenched their thirst with the soft drinks in the freezer before descending on the victim.
Qodri disclosed that his wife slept off in the living room complaining of body ache, while he went straight to the bedroom, hoping to wake early for the early morning food in preparation for another day of fasting.
Little did he know that men of the underworld would pay him a visit.
Narrating his near-death experience, Qodri said: “I was shocked when my wife rushed in around 10:30 pm on the fateful day, waking me up and telling me that thieves had surrounded our house, the first time after about five years that he relocated to the community.
“After praying in the mosque I went into the living room and my wife was lying down there. I went straight into the bedroom, around 10:30 pm, she came in to wake me up that thieves are around. I was surprised because since 2016 when I first settled here, being the first to move into the community, I do leave my doors open and sleep at night. As I peeped through the curtain, I saw Bororo/Fulani guys armed with guns, speaking fulfude. I am sure they were not speaking the Hausa language.
“I was afraid, I ran back into the room, I couldn’t think straight and there was no weapon in the room to confront them. Suddenly, they started knocking on the door. I did not answer; one of them peeped into the sitting room and saw me. He then broke the glass and tried to open the door from inside, I hit him with a club and he retreated.
“They were provoked by my action and they just started shooting sporadically into the house and smashed the glasses. While they were shooting, my wife was shouting for help and my neighbour came to help but he was sent back. They beat him with club and cutlass. So I started shouting for help too.
“They eventually forced their way through the big door and they needed to open the smaller door to access the living room, I was pushing the door back, but when it dawned on me that the door will be forced open, I retreated to the lobby. “Thereafter, they entered into the living room, the kitchen, the dining and packed cooked food and drinks. I was even happy that they would leave with what they packed. But they sat outside and ate the food and drinks, after which they returned to the living room and started shooting. While I was in the lobby, my wife and kids were in one of the bedrooms. I was hit by a bullet on the side of my stomach and started bleeding; I then entered into a bedroom and pretended to be dead.
“One of them came into the room and hit me with a stick, I was begging them in the name of God but they refused to listen, they dragged me with my underwear outside the house, he made a signal, two other guys emerged with guns pointed at me and they took me into a bush where we met two other guys with guns too. We moved to a point and they were speaking their language, at that point, the guns were not pointed at me.
“The thought to escape came to my mind and I ran back to the main road before I met people looking for us. They took away my phones.”
My neighbor was beaten to stupor
Meanwhile, his neighbour, Alhaji Ya Muideen upon hearing the call for help decided to extend a hand of fellowship to a brother in need.
He was, however, not lucky.
Muideen said: “My wife did not want me to go out but I insisted that our neighbour needed help and I can’t stay back not knowing exactly what was wrong.
“I came back from work around 9 pm and went straight to bed but after about an hour, I heard my neighbour’s wife calling for help, I went out against my wife’s objection believing I must help them. I took torchlight and went out.
“But on getting to their door, I met many arm-wielding Fulani guys, some with guns, some with club and cutlasses. They shouted at me to go back. So, rather than going back into the house, I decided to run away for the safety of my wife and children.
“But about two or three of them came after me, I headed towards Swalux area but while trying to negotiate a bend, I fell and he met me there. While I was dealing with him, the second Fulani man emerged and struck me at the back with his stick. I left the guy and ran back to the road, I fell again on a heap of sand, and then, they descended on me hitting me with a stick, the butt of a gun and cutlass. I started begging them but they did not listen. Suddenly, a motorcycle emerged from a distance and they hid till the bike left.
“They came back and dragged me into the bush, beating me with sticks; as they discovered that I was not responding, they forced a drink down my throat, nose and ears. Later we started hearing the sound of hunters’ whistles; they left me there and ran away. I had to crawl out of the bush before I was noticed and taken to the hospital.”
Ban herdsmen influx—Community leaders
A farmer in the community, Ali Adebayo, said the solution to the crisis is to completely ban herders from the area.
He said the atrocities perpetrated in the community by herdsmen cannot be quantified.
Adebayo said: “The solution to this crisis is to curtail the influx of herdsmen into our farms; we are into cash crops, arable farming among others. If you are a farmer, you will not be happy with what is going on here.
Herdsmen/farmer’s crises contributed to the rising scarcity of food.
“The herdsmen were said to have killed someone here sometime ago, they are turning the peaceful Coker community into a violent zone. Herdsmen should be banned from the community for peace to reign.”
The Olomu of Owode Ilase and Olukoka of Coker, Oba Amos Operinmade and Oba Adebayo Fadare, stressed the need for the establishment of a Police station in the community to curtail escalation of crime and criminal activities.
Oba Operinmade also urged the state government to clear a large expanse of land acquired by the army but was not developed over the years.
There is a thick forest around the community, which is becoming a hideout for criminals. The best way to describe the area is to call it Shangisha. The army has refused to develop the land and it is fast becoming a forest of crime.
We’ll flush out criminal elements—Osun Fulani Chairman
The Seriki Fulanis in Osun State, Ibrahim Babatunde assured of the Fulani collaboration with residents and government to ensure that criminal elements are reported to the appropriate authorities before they unleash terror on the people.
According to him, those behind the Coker attack are nomadic herdsmen and have always constituted a nuisance to the populace.
Govt assures of safety
The Special Adviser to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola on Civic Engagement, Olaunbosun Oyintiloye assured the community that the government is taking responsibility to ensure that criminality is reduced to the barest minimum in the state.
“The State Government is taking responsibility to ensure that the security breach never happened in the communities again. We have discussed with the community leaders and residents to always collaborate to ensure that intruders are arrested and handed over to the security operatives to face the full wrath of the law. A nine-man Committee has been put in place to report to the Police Divisional headquarters for reappraisal.”