It is debilitating that on February 7, 2021, we were again thrown into another mourning session as a result of the gruesome murder of one of us, Dele Olowoniyi, by killer Fulani herdsmen. This happened around 1:00 a.m at Oha village in Imeko, Imeko-Afon Local Government area of Ogun State.
The unfortunate incident happened when Fulani herdsmen stormed the village at midnight, brandishing guns and machetes, shooting sporadically and destroying properties. Late Dele Olowoniyi, a farmer in his late 30s, was sleeping outside his house to enjoy the midnight breeze having complained of heat to his wife.
Hearing the sporadic gunshots from his sleep, he was too terrified to take decision on time. He was, there and then rounded up by the hoodlums who slaughtered him in a barbaric manner. They thereafter fled to Iwoye, a neighbouring town in the same Imeko/Afon local government area.
These killings and destruction of properties, most especially invasion of farms have continued unabated for many years now without respite from government. In December 2020, a 25-year-old Tiamiyu Yakub, popularly called Obama, was killed in similar manner in broad daylight by herdsmen in a forest reserve around the area. The corpse was released to the police for thorough investigation while the community shouldered the cost of the autopsy. But up till now, nothing has been heard of the murder.
On January 2, 2021, Alhaja Serifat Abiola-Adisa, a native of Imeko was kidnapped at her filling station at Igbo-Ora, Oyo State. The kidnappers shooting in their usual manner, abducted the businesswoman and later killed her at a few distance away from her filling station.
From Ilara to Iwoye, Imeko especially those at Oha, Kolomi,Obesu, Amule, Ologede to Afon and other towns in Imeko-Afon sharing common boundaries with Iganna and Ijio in Oyo State are series of complaints from farmers who at present can no longer go to their farms for fear of the killer herdsmen.
Recently, there was an influx of herdsmen from Oyo State having been displaced over there.
The areas mostly affected are Oke-Agbede, Iwoye, Oha and neighbouring villages around the forest reserve.
Meanwhile, our geographical position in Imeko-Afon that could be an opportunity has become a threat. As a border land, sandwiched between Benin Republic and Nigeria, apart from locally grown cattle, flocks of cattle come in on a daily basis from Benin and Togo Republic via Save (Benin) on foot everyday to supply markets in Abeokuta and Lagos.
We are feeling so neglected by the Nigerian government. In most of the troubled zones in the community, from Iwoye-Ketu in Imeko/Afon to Ijio in Oyo State, there is no presence of security personnel. However, the Abeokuta to Imeko road is flooded with a retinue of security personnel mounting several checkpoints which is majorly for purpose of extorting motorists.
We are therefore demanding justice for Dele Olowoniyi and others who were murdered in cold blood by the Fulani herdsmen.
We are appealing to the Ogun State government and other relevant authorities to come to our aid by securing lives and properties in our area.
- Olutunde Aninkan, leader, Coalition of Youth Movement,Imeko-Afon Local Govt
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