By Kemi Olaitan
Following clashes that usually erupt between farmers and residents of Ikoyi Ile, the headquarters of Orire Local Government Area of Oyo State, the residents have threatened to resort to self-help should the state government fail to protect them from suspected herdsmen terrorising their community.
This is just as farmers in the community lamented that despite killing one of their members, raping their minors and destroying their farm lands, the herdsmen still continue to terrorise their community and villages, which according to them, is resulting to sleepless night for the dwellers.
The Babalaje of Agbe in the area, Chief Oyekola Joseph, speaking with journalists yesterday, said farmers in the community are being disturbed with all the activities of the herdsmen, urging the state government to intervene.
According to him, “We don’t know what to do. If we take any step to revenge, it might lead to bloodshed. We want the government to help us and take necessary steps because our monarch who is supposed to defend us has failed in his duties, and he is now supporting the herdsmen against us.
“Herdsmen cut off the hand of one of our workers in the farm. They destroyed our farm produce. Another farmer was cut with a machete on the head, others were injured, while two of our minors were raped.”
One of the victims, Usman Daudu, whose farm produce were destroyed by the herders, said 20 hectares of his farm land planted with maize, yam and tomatoes was destroyed by the herdsmen while he was injured on the head with cutlass when tried to chase them away.
Another victim, Dominic Gbegbi, said he was cut with cutlass 14 times while trying to defend himself from the herders, who invaded his farm with their cows and destroyed his farm produce.
However, the monarch, the Onikoyi of Ikoyi-Ile, Oba Abdul-Yekeen Atilola Oladipupo, denied the allegation against him, stating that he has been trying to bring a peaceful coexistence between the farmers and herders in the area.
He said: “We have tried to resolve the issue many times because it’s difficult to separate farmers and herders. We have been living together for a while, and I have taken a lot of steps on the matter to find a lasting solution to it, but it seems my efforts weren’t enough. So we need the government intervention in the matter.
“I’ve had series of meetings with all the Baales around me to find solution to the crisis; in fact, I had meetings with the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in Osogbo together with the state Commissioner of Police, and they assured me that they would come to our aid.”