Tension is brewing in Ibarapaland, Oyo State following the return of Fulani herdsmen to the community as farmers in the zone alleged that their crops are being destroyed.
It was gathered that some Fulani herdsmen, who relocated from Igangan and adjoining communities in Ibarapa zone of Oyo State following the tension that trailed the eviction notice given to Seriki Fulani of Igangan, Salihu Abdukadir, by the Yoruba rights activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a Igboho, are already returning to the area.
Farmers in Igangan said on Friday that the herdsmen had begun to return to the community but there is tension in the area as they have allegedly started destruction of farms and threatening to attack farmers who resisted them.
The Chairman of Farmers Association of Nigeria in Igangan, Mr Abiodun Adegoke, said some of the cases were reported to the police in Ayete and Igangan without any decisive action.
Adegoke said some herdsmen grazed their cattle on cassava farms at Olukosi village on February 14 stressing that they destroyed a large part of the farm.
According to him, the herders besieged a farm in the area at around 7:30 pm. He said the farmers rallied some residents to pursue the herdsmen.
He said there is tension in the community because to the herdsmen, the anti-open grazing law in the state was inconsequential to the herders as they continue to graze their animals at night in deviance to the law.
Adegoke said one of the cows was caught and was taken to the police station at Ayete, the headquarters of Ibarapa North Local Government Area.
He said, “Two weeks ago, another incident that generated tension happened at Asunnara village. Some herdsmen grazed their animals on the farm of Semiu Ariwoola. They invaded the farm and started uprooting cassava there to feed their animals.
“There was much tension. Our people mobilised and ran after the herders and their animals. They escaped but six rams among the livestock were caught and were taken to the Igangan Police Station. These people have shown that they cannot change. One would have expected that they would return and desist from farm destruction, plundering and attacking farmers but they have resumed the wicked ways again.
“We were attending a meeting organised by JDPC on Wednesday and I received a call that some herdsmen were grazing on the farm of Baba Ibeji. The farmer (Baba Ibeji) challenged them and they started beating him. Two of them beat him mercilessly with their rods. Some of our farmers later got there and stopped them. As they were talking one of the herdsmen Yahaya brought out a cutlass and threatened to attack one of our people but when he saw that they were many, he stopped that.
When contacted to talk about the tension on the telephone, Oladiran Oladokun, the Convener of the Igangan Development Advocates, said the herdsmen had started returning and destroying farms.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Command, Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi, was reported to have said, “The police would have begun investigation since they said the incidents were reported. We will continue to do what will promote unity and peace in every area.”