Ondo: OPC May Retaliate Killing of Member by Herdsmen

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Zacheaus Somorin
There are indications that the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) may retaliate the killing of one its members in Ondo State, Ayodele Ige.

Ige was killed at Chief Olu Falae’s farm on the outskirts of the state’s capital, Akure.
In a statement made available to THISDAY, the group’s coordinator in Ondo State, Ogunsanya Pius, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to check what it described as” Fulani herdsmen assault’ on Yoruba people and bring the killers to book.

‘The killing of one our members by Fulani herdsmen in Falae’s farm on the outskirts of Akure, Ondo State, has once again brought to the fore the danger posed by the herdsmen to their peace-loving host communities’, the statement read in part.

The group pointed out that ‘the heartless murder of Ige, the coordinator of the OPC in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State would not be allowed to be swept under the carpet like many of several other innocent people killed across the country by Fulani herdsmen.

It added that it was becoming worrisome that the herdsmen have continued their killing spree across the country without any major condemnation by the federal government, saying the innocent victims had been brutally murdered for daring to challenge the Fulani herdsmen for grazing and destroying their farmlands.

“It is strange that the security agencies have found it difficult to put an end to these wicked acts by Fulani herdsmen despite repeated cases of killings and arson against them from all over the country. The story is the same from Enugu to Edo, Akokoland to Oke Ogun and other parts of the country,” the statement added.

According to OPC, Ige was abducted by the Fulani herdsmen after several of their efforts to enter into Falae’s farm were repelled by its members who had been watching over the farm after the abduction of Falae.

It therefore posited the attack by the Fulani herdsmen on the property of a Yoruba leader cannot be allowed to continue, saying “the killing of one of us is an attack on all of us, much more when that person is a leader.”

“Let it be known that we have taken this path of peace, not because of cowardice or because of the fear of these people. We want a peaceful, equitable and united Nigeria, which is the pillar of our struggle. But we can no longer bear it that the blood and sweat of our people are continually used to appease Nigeria.

The OPC and indeed the entire Yoruba nation can no longer tolerate these acts of gross impunity against our people by Fulani herdsmen,” the group averred.

It also called the attention of Nigerian to a bill tagged: “The Fulani National Grazing Reserve,” presently before t National Assembly. While explaining that the bill has successfully scaled through second reading in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the group however expressed its reservation about it.

The bill seeks to provide for the establishment of a national grazing reserves and stock routes. It is sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure.

The Bill proposes to establish a National Grazing Reserve Commission (NGRC) for the country. The NGRC will be charged with the responsibility of using funds received from the Federal Government to, OPC, forcefully acquire farmlands from Nigerians in all the 36 States of the country, develop same at government expense through the provision of bore holes, water reservoirs, for the exclusive cattle rearers.

“Without any doubt, this is a very dangerous proposal for Nigeria. We all have seen how the Fulani herdsmen kill and maim members of the community where they graze their cattle without the backing of any law. We are sure that we can only imagine what their attitudes would be if the supposed grazing reserves are forcefully taken over by government and handed over to the herdsmen.

The nation is sitting on a box filled with gun powder and it would only take the quick intervention of all well-meaning Nigerians to avert this danger,” it said.