Hakeem Gbadamosi – Akure
Following a fresh attack by some suspected herdsmen, at least six people have been reportedly killed in the Arimogija and Molege communities of Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The six victims who were farmers and traders were said to have been killed while trying to resist the invasion of the herdsmen in their farms and homes after the destruction of their farmlands by the herdsmen.
It was gathered that the herdsmen attacked some traders who were returning to the town from Akure and killed all the occupants of the vehicle before setting the vehicle ablaze and taking their money and belongings.
The source said many houses, cars and motorcycles were burnt during the attack while the families of the victims killed by the herdsmen are planning a reprisal attack.
A first-class traditional ruler in the area, the Onimoru of Imoru, Oba Rotimi Obamuwagun, who confirmed the invasion and attack on the people of the communities lamented over the atrocities and criminal activities of the herdsmen in the area.
The monarch disclosed that over four hectares of cassava farmland belonging to one of his subjects were destroyed by the herdsmen, saying the farm was financed through bank loan from a commercial bank.
He stated that the herdsmen, who always armed themselves with sophisticated weapons are becoming more daring by visiting homes and dragging the farmers to the farm, ordering them to uproot cassava for their cows.
He noted that apart from their cows being fed with cassava, the armed herdsmen have also embarked on harvesting other farm products to feed themselves.
Corroborating, Oba Obamuwagun, the Odibiado of Ijagba, Oba Andrew Ikioya Ilevare, said the bandits have now resulted in harvesting plantains and bringing them to market to sell.
The traditional rulers, however, called on the state government to draft more Amotekun officials to the area and queried the rationale behind herdsmen carrying sophisticated weapons.
The Chairman of the local government, Hon Adekunle Dennis expressed worries and concerns over the incessant attack on farmers and traders in the area but assured the people of the communities that something will be done urgently to checkmate the excesses of the herdsmen.
He said the Council would be meeting with the relevant authorities and stakeholders in the area to redesign the security architecture of all the flashpoints in the area to nip the security challenges in the bud.
He, however, called on the community leaders, youth organisations and other stakeholders to be more security conscious, charging them to improve on intelligence gathering that can lead to the arrest of the herdsmen.
According to him, government alone cannot track down the criminals but appeal to them to always raise alarm over any security challenges in their areas.
He equally advised them to thoroughly profile and search themselves with a view to fishing out informants who may be living among them.
While commending the security agencies especially the Army, the Police, DSS and Amotekun Corps for a job well done for their timely intervention and prompt actions, preventing the criminals from turning the community to ghost land.
Speaking on the development, the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Funmi Odunlami, said men of the command have been deployed to the area, assuring that the criminals would soon be arrested.