The Odomofin of Ayete, a community in Ibarapa North Local Government area of Oyo State, Saubana Oyewole, has alleged the continuous intimidation of his people by Fulani herdsmen wielding AK-47 rifles.
The community leader said the manner in which the Fulani people were destroying farmland in the area indicated that a war was looming.
He claimed that he had been the one appealing to his people to be calm and respect the rule of law for the peaceful coexistence of the two tribes.
Odomofin, in an exclusive interview with SaharaReporters on Wednesday, alleged that one Wakili Fulani in Kajola Ayete, had on several occasions frustrated peace pacts signed by the Fulani and the host community.
His words; “The Fulani set our cashew farm ablaze and our young people went to confront them about this, instead of answering the questions, the Fulani guys shot at our men but the bullets didn’t penetrate because those who went that day were fortified. The youths had to leave immediately because they had not gone for a fight.
“The cashew farm has been there for the past 12 years. We make at least N1 million as proceeds from the farm every year. Now, they have burnt down everything.
“These people use AK-47 rifles to intimidate our people. They have been on our land for the past 18 years. Nobody gave them the portion of land they are occupying. When I saw Wakili on my land 18 years ago, I challenged him and he asked me if I knew that land belongs to God. I told him I knew God owns the land but he would be paying me annual rent but as we speak, he never paid a dime. I went to court but the matter died like that.
“The judge invited us to his office and advised that we settle the issue amicably. When we got home, I invited him and his lawyer and we agreed to give him another land but he didn’t move to the new site despite the fact that he didn’t pay for the one he is occupying.
“Our people do not have money to feed themselves neither can they farm again. The Fulani people’s cows have eaten up all our crops while they spared their own (Fulani people’s) farms. We now have to buy food from them.
“Aside from this, they also burgle our shops. They burgled my daughter’s shop at Konko market. We knew they were the ones because we saw their motorbike at the shop when we got to the scene. They also burgled another shop last night. They kidnap, rape our ladies and even kill our people. They do what they like.
“We know they are beating drums of war. We, on the other hand, are only trying to manage the situation. Even if they have more than AK-47 rifles, they cannot conquer us but we only respect the government. We are only being patient because of the rule of law.”
Oyewole called on the government to intervene now before the situation gets out of hand as community people are willing to retaliate.
He also alleged that the police in the area are not fair to the people whenever they are victimised by Fulani herders.
“The police have not been fair to us. Whenever we take the issue of maltreatment by Fulani herdsmen to the station, the police will ask us to settle it among ourselves. If they destroy like one acre of land, they may resolve to pay us N5,000.
“We made our plight known to the Commissioner of Police last Saturday when she visited Igangan. She simply asked us to compile our evidence and bring them to Ibadan.”