An Ogun monarch has said he will release his traditional warriors against Fulani herdsmen if the government refuses to stop them from wreaking havoc in his community.
The Eselu of Iseluland in Oja-Odan, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi, made the threat on Tuesday while addressing some farmers who marched to his palace to report their agonies and tale of woes in the hands of the herders.
Akinyemi said some Fulani herdsmen had returned to his community in large number after the Government of Benin Republic allegedly sent them away from their country.
According to the monarch, the herders settled in Iselu, Oja-Odan and its environs with over 8,000 cattle feeding on his people’s farmland.
“Since I have been on the throne, this has always been a problem we have been trying to tame, but because of the stubbornness of these herdsmen, it has become so difficult to tame them.
“We can’t take it anymore. The soldiers in Republic of Benin have chased them out and they have now seen our community as an alternative at the expense of the peace of our people.
“They are now destroying our crops, raping our women and maiming our men among others. So, as a matter of fact, I appeal to the government to please come to the aid of our people as a matter of urgency.”
The monarch said he had once secured an interlocutory injunction against the herders but they neither honour nor adhere to the ruling of the court.
“But we have our own warriors too and if the government refuses to intervene we will be forced to defend our land and people.”
One of the victims, Kushoro Michael, said the herders had destroyed over 10 hectares of his cassava farm.
The Eselu of Iseluland said,
“Many people have lost their lives; the herders do nothing but cause havoc.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the command had no problems with the indigenous Fulani herdsmen in the area but had serious challenges with the foreign herdsmen.
“Those men that always come from Benin; they are always the problem, they are the one that brought their cattle to destroy the people’s farms.
“That is why we set up a committee to ensure that any herdsman that comes to the state must register with the heads of indigenous herdsmen so that if he commits any offence it will be easy for us to track the perpetrators.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure that the people of the place have rest of minds.”