The Seriki Fulani of Igangan, Saliu Abdulkadir, has accused activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho, of masterminding the attack which resulted in the destruction of properties in the community.
The allegation came one week after Sunday Igboho visited Igangan community on the expiration of the 7-day ultimatum which he gave to killer herders to exit Ibarapa and Oke Ogun parts of Oyo State.
While the Seriki Fulani alleged that Sunday Igboho led an attack which led to the killings of seven of his men, in the community, the National Public Relations Officer, Odua Peoples Congress, New Era, Akinpelu Adesina, described Seriki’s allegation as false and unfounded saying that the Police Area Commander in Eruwa was in company with Sunday Igboho on the visit to Igangan on the said day.
Angry protesters were said to have stormed the Fulani settlement in Igangan and set the property ablaze shortly after Igboho left the town following his address to the crowd of people who received him.
Seriki, while speaking at a press conference in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Thursday, alleged that seven of his people were killed as a result of the attacks, adding that two corpses had not yet been found.
Narrating his own side of the story, he said, “I was at home when the area commander of Oyo State called me that they were coming to my house with Sunday Igboho for dialogue.
“It was not up to 40 minutes when my children ran to me that some group of people, led by Sunday Igboho, were coming towards us, where we observed prayers, trooping to my house, burning our houses, shooting guns, burning our cars and killing our animals. My children had to rescue me from the village.
“My houses, 11 vehicles belonging to myself and my children, and some others belonging to visitors were burnt to ashes. Seven of my people were killed. The corpses of two of them have not yet been found. Some of my animals were carted away.
“When the case of kidnapping was reported to me, I assisted the security agents to arrest nine suspects. Among these nine, about six were Yorubas while the other three were Fulanis. Six are at the correctional centre in Agodi, including the Fulanis.
“Furthermore, there are two villages close to Igangan, namely, Tapa and Lanlate. I worked with the security agencies to arrest some kidnappers in these two villages towards the end of last year.”
Seriki, who disclosed in an interview that he is on a short visit to the north while his family members have settled temporarily in Ilorin, Kwara State, said if asked to return to Igangan, he would strongly consider the offer.
“When we were sent out of Igangan, we moved to Ilorin in Kwara State. As we speak I am in the north but my children are in Ilorin. I have a building in Ilorin.”
“I don’t have anything to say because I did not offend any member of the community. The hoodlums who are indigenes of Igangan were once arrested and they are still at the Agodi Correctional Facility in Ibadan. Their ringleader is called Janbele; he is with the police now. That is one of the issues causing animosity between us and members of the community.”
However, residents of Igangan have vowed that they would die rather than accept Seriki and his men back to the community.
The Convener, Igangan Development Advocates, Oladiran Oladokun, said that accepting the Seriki back to the town was tantamount to self-suicide.
Oladokun said, “The entire town would rather go into self-suicide than to accept Seriki back. We would rather lay down our lives than for us and our generations to be subjected to the evils of Seriki again.”
Oladokun, who said farmers now have renewed hope of returning to their farms to cultivate their crops without the fear of being raped, kidnapped and killed, stressed, “We are now relieved. People were unable to go to farm for a long time but they are already thinking of returning to the farms. Our people won’t allow that.
“People perceived what happened in Igangan as exaggeration. But, for about 20 years, Igangan lived under the oppressive blood carnage championed by the Seriki himself. How did I know? Why was it that no Fulani had been prosecuted?
“If the Seriki is really who he claims to be and he cares so much about the town, why did he not bring out at least, one culprit and say ‘Igangan people, this is the one that you claimed killed a farmer last week; we got him for you. We don’t want criminals amongst us. We don’t want people to tarnish our image.’ Why hasn’t the Seriki done that over the years?
“Seriki claimed he had no control over Igangan but it is a lie; he held control over the town and the killings. He held sway over Igangan, even the Asigangan of Igangan land and the chiefs were helpless and they bowed to him.
“That is why when they (herders) committed a crime, they would go to him (Seriki) and he would ask them to relax even if they killed or raped a woman on the farm. He would tell them it was the Ja’mah (congregation) that did it.”