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Residents Flee As Suspected Herdsmen Attack Ondo Communities



Residents Flee As Suspected Herdsmen Attack Ondo Communities

Most farmers are now scared of going to their farms as they seem to present easy targets for the armed herdsmen.

Residents of Ajegunle/Powerline in Ondo State have deserted their community following the attack by suspected herdsmen and injured farmers for kicking against the destruction of their farms by the cows.

This comes a few weeks after farmers in the Arimogija community in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State were attacked and chased out of their farms by suspected herdsmen.

The latest attack which resulted in several persons in Ajegunle being injured and taken to the hospital has left the communities deserted over the fear of another attack by the armed herdsmen.

The marauding herders were said to have extended their onslaught to Ago-Dada and Ago Oyinbo, instilling fear in the farmers who have fled to nearby towns.

Speaking on the recent attack, the representative of the farmers in the area, Abraham Olowo, confirmed the incident and said that the community has been overrun by the assailants who have been attacking farmers indiscriminately on their farms. He added that the residents have fled the community.

According to him, the herdsmen have attacked the communities more than five times within the last week. He called for the urgent intervention of the state government before the herdsmen take over the communities.

He disclosed that some of the farmers that had been injured and were in a critical state in the hospital.

“The attacks started two weeks ago, but the climax of it all is the attack they carried out few days ago which almost resulted in the death of two of the farmers in the community. They are currently in the emergency unit of a private hospital in the state,” he said.

“The herdsmen have continued to invade our farmlands, attacking farmers and injuring them. They usually come in the night and early in the morning, carting away our food, destroying our farm products, and even macheting farmers who resist them.

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“Some of the injured farmers are in a critical state in the hospital while some of the farmers and residents have left the communities over fear of being attacked.

“This crime is happening within Ago-Dada to Ago-Oyinbo along Powerline. They have attacked everybody in the community, and they have become more daring to visit our houses.

“We are calling on the state government to intervene because we cannot run away from the Fulani herdsmen. Their intention is to drive the people out of the community and take over our community.

“We are begging the government and the security agencies to please come to our aid before it gets out of hand. We know their location within the community there.

“Before, they used to attack us occasionally. But now it is everyday. These Fulani herdsmen will collect our phones, cash, destroy our farm products and even attack us on our land.

“We have been to the headquarters of Amotekun, and Ala Police Division to report officially, and they promised that they will come. But we have not seen any of them till now.

“We have been to the headquarters of Amotekun, and Ala Police Division to report officially, and they promised that they will come. But we have not seen any of them till now.

“We have even started our own vigilante, but without government intervention our aims will not be achieved. We need government attention seriously.

Olowo, however, called on the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and security agencies to help the victims before the issue degenerates into an ethnic crisis.

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Also speaking, Samuel Akinosun, a relative of one of the victims, Taiwo Daramola, who is in a critical condition in the hospital,  said the victim is still unconscious while the medical team has been working to save his life.

He explained that the herders met Daramola in the farm and descended on him. He said Daramola, who is originally from Osun State, had been farming in the community for the past 18 years.

“We have never experienced this kind of attack and it is strange because this has caused fear in the community. The consistent attack of the herders and their cows on crops such as rice, maize, vegetable and cocoa plantation has reduced farmers’ efforts to nothing,” he said.

“We had to rush Daramola to the hospital. We initially thought he was dead until the doctor attended to him and admitted him at the hospital. He was macheted on the severally on the head, and they have stitched the head.  It is not a good sight to behold, but the man is still in coma.

“We have raised an alarm over the incident but many of the residents had fled over fear of being killed. We are calling on the government to wade into the matter and save us from these bloodthirsty herders.”

An octogenarian, Alabi Yusuf, said despite the passage of the Ondo State anti-grazing law, herders are still on rampage, raping, killing, injuring farmers and destroying farms.

He said the law forbids anyone to engage in open rearing or grazing of livestock, but it appears there is no enforcement. He said that herdsmen not only engage in open grazing, but also kidnap, kill and rape members of the community.

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He lamented that the activities of the herders and their cows have been threatening food production in the state, adding that the herdsmen crisis has defeated the desire of the state government to encourage farming in order to boost food security by increasing local production of staple foodstuff.

The 81-year-old noted that young men who have shown interest in farming have returned to the town following rampant attacks on farmers by the herdsmen.

“Most farmers are now scared of going to their farms as they seem to present easy targets for the armed herdsmen. With the rainy season approaching, there is general apprehension that food crisis may become inevitable in the state,” he said.

He joined the appeal to the state government to deploy security operatives and Amotekun Corps to the area, saying, “We have been living in fear. The presence of security men in this area will go a long way to reduce these senseless attacks.”

“We are calling on government  and security agencies because we don’t want to take the law into our hands.”

The State Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Funmi Odunlami, said the attack was reported at the station and added that the men of the state command have commenced investigation into the attack.

She assured that the perpetrators of the attack will be fished out to face the law.

“The incident was reported at the station and our men visited the place and swung into action immediately. Investigation had commenced and I can assure you that those behind the attack will be arrested,” Odunlami sai

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