IGANGAN TRAGEDY: A Year After, We Are Helpless, No Response From Government
The crisis suffered by the majority of Igangan residents was an attack on everyone.
Igangan is a town in Ibarapa North Local Government area of Oyo State, It’s one of the seven Ibarapas.
It came into prominence last year following the invasion of Fulani herdsmen which claimed several lives and left properties worth millions destroyed.
The unfortunate, but avoidable incident attracted govt attention and widespread condemnation from prominent South-West leaders including a secession agitator, Chief Sunday Igboho, popularly known as “Igboho Osa”.
It’s noteworthy to assert that Sunday Igboho had previously met with the leader of the Fulanis in order to mediate to forestall crisis, but upon leaving the town, he’s ambushed. Though, his attackers met resistance.
Almost a year after the incident, Afrika Eyes met victims and families who lost loved ones and properties in the attack.
Attack on king’s palace
Prince Kamaldeen Omoloye, the monarch son of Igangan narrated an account of what’s happened.
According to him, the crisis suffered by the majority of Igangan residents was an attack on everyone.
It’s been almost a year after the incident with unfulfilled pledges from the government; it’s like we’ve been abandoned to our fate.
He further asserted that the palace was razed during the attacks being the first point of attack. However, ongoing reconstruction of the palace was visible as seen by Afrika Eyes. Though the palace was still under construction, it was made possible by a prominent indigene of the town.
In front of the palace were four vehicles completely burnt while an opposite building, that houses the palace belongings wasn’t spared.
The monarch claims that the state government sent delegates to inspect the magnitude of the fire damage to the palace, yet no visible action has been taken.
This followed the visit of the state Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde to the scene of the incident. As at the time of filing this report, Igangan seems to have been forgotten as all promises and assurances have fizzled out of sight.
Prince Omoloye called on the government for justice and compensation, for the affected victims.
“Especially, we need more support from Nigerians to help those who lost their properties and loved ones,” he said.
Sorry Tale Of Woes And Losses
Mr Aderoju Kazeem is a tailor whose entire house and shop were razed. He claimed to have escaped being consumed by the inferno with a shirt and trouser.
He told Afrika Eyes that Before the attacks, he was a tailor and worked partly on his farm and used proceeds from these activities to fend for his family.
The Igangan attacks have taken a toll on his livelihood; he’s being rendered homeless together with his family as they currently seek refuge in his neighbour’s house. He corroborates the claim of the monarch on the failed promises by the government.
In his words ” the government took us to a place where we were told to write down our complaints, but up till now, we haven’t heard from them. We want Nigerians to come to our aid. The government has failed us”
Mr Kosemani Ishau is a truck driver who narrowly escapes with his conductor.
He told Afrika Eyes how he watched his truck in flames as he and the conductor scampered for safety.
He recounted: “On the 5th of June 2021, I loaded my truck and headed for Ibadan. I noticed the atmosphere was covered with smoke. Swiftly, I turned off the ignition. I saw a visibly violent heavily armed crowd coming towards my direction.
In a twinkle of an eye, they started shooting. I alighted from the truck and with my conductor, we fled to safety. We watched for thirty minutes as my truck went up on flames.”
Mr Ishau said, “Since this incident, my livelihood has taken an unfortunate turn; the truck and the goods aboard are worth over 10 million naira. I’m appealing to well-meaning Nigerians to help my family. This’s a very tough time for us. He stresses that many have given up the ghost due to depression. ”
In Oguntowo Muhali’s account, 5th of June 2021 was a day of abyss and melancholy for the people of Igangan.
Fulani militia invaded the town in the dead of the night, shooting anything and everything at sight. Many were murdered and injured with properties ruined running into millions.
He owes his life to God’s divine intervention. While narrating the dastardly incident, he asserted that the Fulani herdsmen came with an ambition of conquest, but God’s intervention foiled their plans.
Corroborating the nefarious activities perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen to include razing farmlands, kidnappings, rape and killings of farm owners.
His account isn’t without efforts made by stakeholders of Igangan to draw the attention of concerned authorities to the atrocities, but no fruition. He maintains that the Seriki(Fulani’s leader) aids and abet and empowers the perpetrators of the atrocities inflicted on the people of Igangan.
According to him “The people of Igangan have exhausted every possible civilized means to co-exist with the Fulanis, but it’s never worked.”
This continued until January 2021 when the acclaimed Yoruba Liberation agitator, Sunday Igboho stepped in. His intervention doused the matter and made it a global subject of interest.
Sunday Igboho’s intervention was about the truce, but Fulani herdsmen had a sinister motive as they laid ambush on him and his entourage while deserting the Seriki’s house.
The Fulani herdsmen were banished from the town during the day, but returned reinforced in the night and wreaked havoc; the one with a lasting scar on the people of Igangan.
Diekola Ogunjimi like many other victims has his own sorry tale of woes and losses. A Spare part dealer whose shop was lost to arson including all his Children’s credentials. The attacks that transpired overnight claimed loss of lives and properties.
Ibrahim Taiwo’s account of the incident isn’t different from other victims’ chronologically.
However, he added that the Fulani herdsmen were chanting “Igboho has come”, come out! They were disguising to lure out people and attack them.
He referenced a house containing six rooms which Afrika Eyes has visited previously. The house was partly burnt. Just as Diekola whose children lost academic credentials to fire, Ibrahim’s brother, an Engineering graduate lost his certificate and this has greatly impaired him from being employed. They all seek Government aid and help from well-meaning and concerned Nigerians.