Farmers Protest Fulani Herdsmen Continuous Attacks And Killing In Ondo

Protesters have trooped out to condemn the continuous attacks on their farms and the killings of community members and farmers in Ondo state by Fulani herdsmen who come to the south to find pasture for their cattle.

Community members in Igbatoro-Akure in Akure North Local Government were on the streets to protest the death of a member of the community that was found dead in his farm.

Linus Ogbeh who was said to have lived in the community for 30 years was believed to have been gunned down in his farm by Fulani herdsmen.

A villager said despite the state government warnings that the Fulani herdsmen stop invading farmlands, their farms and those in bordering communities have been grazed by cattle, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

“The deceased farm was beside that of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, whose farm has been destroyed on multiple occasions after invasions by suspected Fulani herdsmen. He was even abducted and paid a heavy ransom before gaining freedom in 2015.” The villager lamented bitterly.

Olu Falae’s farm destroyed by cattle

Chairman of Agatu Farmers Association in the state, Vincent Adoyi, said the villages provide the bulk of the food items consumed in the state. But sadly, according to him, the frequent destruction of their farms by suspected herdsmen now threatens food security in the state.

“The cassava is not there and other food crops that we used to grow are not there because people are scared of going to their farms. Herdsmen drove some of us away from Benue and Plateau states and now we’re in Ondo, the herdsmen have come again, killing us and our animals. This is disturbing and should be of concern to the government,” he lamented.

A similar incidence is that of Akure South Local Government involving the olofinkuade family land. The vast hectares of farmland was said to have been leased out to one Biobaku Bayo by one of the Olofinkuade sons identified as Femi.

Investigation revealed that Adebayo started the lucrative cattle business after relocating to Ondo state from Abeokuta, Ogun State in 2012.

It was gathered that the community attacked the farm and burnt it down in July 2015. His Fulani employees were accused by the community members of harboring some of their Fulani brothers that attacked several communities and raped their female workers and wives in the farms.

One of the Olofinkuade family member, Nike Olofinkuade disclosed that bayo was arrested by the police but was later granted bail and was given some weeks to find and handover his fleeing Fulani employees who had escaped when the farm was attacked.

“Bayo was my brother, Femi’s childhood friend. He relocated from Abeokuta to Akure in 2012 and when he showed interest in farming, my family leased some hectares of land to him. He employed some Fulani herdsmen to rear his cows for him.

Bayo Biobaku

“The community members claimed that the Fulani men that attacked some other farms were hiding in his farm although there was no confirmation that his Fulani staffs harbored their brothers. The community attacked the farm and burnt it, killing over 50 cows and destroying vegetables and cassavas.

“Because Bayo employed the fulani men that they believed hid the attackers, he was given 15 days to produce his Fulani employees or face prosecution. Meanwhile, word got to us that the fulanis too were looking out to attack him because they believed he was involved with the attack on them by the community.

“He escaped being lynched by the whiskers on the day our mother went to bail him from the police station, only God knows how and where he escaped to.” Nike narrated.

A senior police officer in Akungba police division said they received about four petitions from the local community members alleging Mr Adebayo Biobaku a conspirator with the Fulani and that Bayo has since been at large after being released on bail.

A 2015 Global Terrorism Index pushed Fulani militants to the fourth position on the list of deadliest militant groups in the world with a record killing of 1,229 people in 2014 alone and despite the state government warnings that herdsmen stop gazing in farmlands without the owner’s consent, the Fulani herdsmen continue to find pasture for their cattle in the South west violently.

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