Saliu Abdulkadir, the Seriki Fulani of Igangan may still be hunted by the nightmare of the violence that greeted his exit from Igangan in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State.
The Seriki revealed that he gets frightened whenever he hears the name of the Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, otherwise called Sunday Igboho.
The Seriki was sacked from Igangan community where he reportedly lived for many years before the angry Igboho issued him and his men a quit notice from Ibarapaland barely three weeks ago.
To send a message that he was no longer welcome, some irate youths were reported to have set his house and cars on fire, with the properties completely razed.
Abdulkadri was said to have lived like a king in Iganganland before the story changed for him and his cronies. Although he denied most of the allegations made against him by the people of Igangan, it was said in some quarters that the Seriki Fulani was behind the killer herders who engaged in atrocities and excessive dominance in the sleepy agrarian community that came to limelight recently in the wake of violence and call for Seriki’s eviction.
To the Seriki Fulani of Igangan and his men, Igboho was a notorious brute who interrupted his peaceful life in the forest reserve where he pitched his tent and eke out a living with his wife, children and relatives.
It has been blame game for the two sides as the Seriki Fulani claimed that Igboho and his team killed some Fulani men during their visit to Igangan, including his only brother while the people of Igangan also alleged that they suffered casualties as well.
Seriki, who spent his childhood Ilorin, Kwara State revealed that he later moved to Igangan with his father. According to him, until he was interrupted by the violent attack that trailed the eviction notice served on him and his family by Igboho, he had lived peacefully and had prospered in the land.
Abdulkadri said in the BBC Yoruba interview, “I got to Igangan in 1972. I lived peacefully in the community until recently.”
However, some of the residents of Igangan, who confirmed that true to his words of the Seriki, he had stayed for many years with his family in the community for years, he had transformed into a terror that afflicted the community for many years until he was shown the way out unceremoniously.
The Convener, Igangan Development Advocate, Mr Oladiran Oladokun, said, “Seriki had subjected our people to terror. Nobody will accept a criminal back. There is a Seriki in Igbo Ora presently. He is a very peaceful man; nobody ejected him. There are Fulanis who have been living with us in Igangan for a long time.
“When you get to AUD, you would find Fulanis. They are coexisting peacefully with us. They bear names like Adamu, Alao and so on. Nobody ejected them. They play football in the evening with Yoruba guys.
“It is not about hostility towards a tribe. It is about somebody enslaving you on your father’s land for a very long time and somebody rendering you economically oppressed and you don’t have any means with your life taken over. There was no crime that was committed that Seriki would not throw his way into to ensure that there was no prosecution after all. And when there is no prosecution, criminals would be emboldened.”
The Seriki who denied the series of allegations levelled against him, said in the BBC Yoruba interview that “I am an indigene of Ilorin, my father and mother originated from Ilorin. I had come with my father to Ibarapa town. He was buried in Ibarapa.
“At the mention of Igboho’s name, I get scared and shiver, because what I experienced on the day he came with his group to my place at Igangan, since my childhood, I’d never seen such, so when I heard he was going to Ogun State, I couldn’t sleep.
“There’s no one that will hear the name of the most terrible person in the world and won’t be scared. You know what he did to me, to my property. My mother had only two children, me and my younger brother. Igboho killed my younger brother. Immediately Igboho arrived, we saw four corpses on the floor. Up till now, there are two corpses on the ground in Igangan that we can’t go to retrieve.
“Someone over there saw their corpses and called to inform us, but we can’t go to Igangan. The person who called us, we told him to help us get people to go and carry the corpses but he was scared so he fled. Apart from my brother, the police evacuated four other corpses. How will I not get scared when I hear this name? It was God that saved me that day, I could have died.”
Responding to allegations of his involvement in atrocities, the Seriki said, “From my childhood, God hase blessed me. I am into cattle rearing business. I have no other business. My educated kids work with banks for the smooth running of their business. I am into cattle business and I have been in this business for a long time.”
Putting the cost of his burnt property in Igangan at N500 million, he said, “I had N1.1 million under my bed, my vehicles: Toyota Venza, Lexus Jeep (SUV), Toyota Corolla, apart from my kid’s vehicles. Their vehicles: Toyota Camry ‘Muscle’, Toyota Corolla (3), Nissan pickup and others and other property in the house. Four flats were burnt down apart from the face-to-face house I built when I just got there. There were motorcyles, cows and all. The cows we have yet to recover are over 207 in number.
“Some people called me from Igangan that some sets of persons had loaded two vehicles with my cows. I can’t go there. The people who called us said they told those who were leaving with our cows that what they did was wrong but they fought them. The worth of that cattle alone is a lot. What about my children that use motorcycles? If I should calculate everything, it might be more than the N500 million I said I lost.”
He denied the allegation that he covered the tracks for kidnappers, saying, “There’s nothing like that; there’s no way someone will fight another without trying to pin it on a particular issue. Fulanis get kidnapped more than Yorubas in Igangan. There were so many Fulani kidnappers I reported that are in prison now. Igangan indigenes that were involved in kidnapping, like five of them are with the police now, some are in Agodi prison. I was the one who reported the matter to the police.
“How will I be their godfather and still report them to the police? Why did I choose not to be a godfather to these people I reported and collect money from them? At Tapa, one of the kidnappers is in a prison yard in Ibadan till now, I reported him. There’s another I reported to the police at Lalate. How will I then be a godfather to them? I informed the police of the activities of kidnappers, both Yoruba and Fulani.”
Asked if he would be willing to go return to Igangan, the Seriki said he would gladly do if his safety could be guaranteed.