Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
Tragedy hit the sleepy town of Oke Ako in Ikole Local government area of Ekiti State on Friday night, as suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked the town and killed one of the residents.
An eyewitness confirmed to journalists that the gory incident happened around 8:00 pm on Friday night.
However, escalation of violence was prevented with the prompt response of a team of soldiers of the Nigerian Army who reportedly came from Akure, the Ondo State capital, even before the Police arrived the scene.
A woman, who identified herself as Mrs. Grace Olofin, had in a telephone interview alleged that the herdsmen in their numbers invaded the community with dangerous weapons like guns, bows and arrows, swords, machetes and hacked down the victim, identified as one Lekan Arosanyin, in the ensuing melee.
Olofin further alleged that the invaders had shot sporadically into the air and killed Arosanyin, while four others sustained various degrees of injuries and were said to be receiving treatment at a private hospital in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
Another witness, who narrowly escaped being killed, Adebayo Ajayi, described the incident as a reprisal attack as he said the herdsmen had previously fallen out with the villagers over their grazing activities in the community.
He further explained that the villagers had been resisting the use of their farmlands as grazing fields by the herdsmen.
The Divisional Police Officer in the area, who also spoke on telephone interview, confirmed the incident noting that he could not ascertain whether the incident was connected with armed robbery or it was actually a herdsmen attack.
However, the residents of Oke Ako community have blamed Police in the area for failing to act swiftly when the case was reported to them during the attack.
One of the residents, Muyiwa Olukosi whose wife sustained a machete wound, told newsmen that the case was reported to police in the area, stressing that there was no response from them. According to him, the police allegedly demanded for a sum of N12,000 before they can move to the scene as he said police complained that there was no fuel in their Hilux van.
Olukosi, who maintained that things would have been worse than imagined if not for the prompt response of a team of the Nigerian Army from Akure, even before the arrival of police in the area, also noted that the attack would have been prevented had the police acted swiftly during the attack.
He called on the governments at all levels to beef up security in the area in order to avert the re-occurrence of such development.