Residents in Ikoyi-Ile, Orire Local Government of Oyo State say they may resort to self-help if the Oyo State government fails to protect them from attacks by suspected herdsmen.
The people, mostly farmers, said despite killing one of their members, raping minors and destroying farmlands, suspected herdsmen had continued to attack them in the farm.
Chief Joseph Oyekola, Secretary of Idera Agbe Farmers’ Association in Orire Local Government Area, said farmers in the community had been enduring the attacks of herdsmen on their farms in the last eight years.
He called on the state government to intervene and the attacks, saying, “we don’t know what to do because if we take any step or revenge, it might lead to bloodshed.
“We want the government to help us and take necessary steps because our king that was supposed to defend us has failed in his duties. He is now backing the “bororo’’ (strangers) against us,” Oyekola alleged.
He said in one of the attacks, “the herdsmen cut off the hand of one of our workers on the farm. They destroyed our farm products and another farmer was hit on the head with a cutlass while others were injured. Also two of our minors were also raped.’’
A victim of an attack, Daudu Usman, whose farm produce were destroyed by the herders, said that about 20 hectares of his plantation of maize, yam, tomatoes and tubers were destroyed by herdsmen with their flock.
“I was also injured on the head with a cutlass while trying to chase them away. “They have not stopped the attack on our farm, we have pleaded with them several times yet they do not heed to our plea.
“They are `’bororo’’ because the Fulani that already on ground do not have issues with us.’’
Another victim, Dominic Gbegbi, said that he received 14 matchet cuts while trying to chase some herders with their animals off his farm.
Meanwhile, the traditional ruler, Onikoyi of Ikoyi-Ile, Oba Abdul-Yekeen Atilola Oladipupo, said that he had been trying his best to ensure harmony between farmers and herders in the community, stressing that farmers/herders conflicts was not peculiar to the community.
“We have tried to resolve the issue many times because it is difficult to separate farmers and herders.
“We have been living together for a while, I have taken a lot of steps in the matter so as to find a lasting solution to it, but it seems my efforts weren’t enough, so we need government intervention in the matter.
“I’ve had a series of meetings with all the Chiefs (baale’s) around me to find solution to the issue, infact, I even had meetings with the Assistant Inspector General of Police, in Osogbo together with the commissioner of Police, and the Police assured me that they will find lasting solutions to the issue.
The monarch however called on the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, the Oyo State House of Assembly and security agencies to come to their aid of his people before the issue degenerated into something else.
He added that because he does not want bloodshed again in the town.
Ikoyi-Ile is an ancient town in Orire Local government of Oyo State that is surrounded by 674 villages like Olode-Elelu, Animashaun village, Obamo village, Igboayin, and Laomi village among others.