As controversy and threat of war continue to trail the eviction of some members of the Fulani community in Igangan, Oyo State, Southwest Nigeria, victims have recounted their ordeals in the hands of alleged Fulani criminals.
On Friday, a self-acclaimed Yoruba Rights Advocate, Sunday Igboho, led some youths in Igangan area of Oyo State to evict members of the Fulani community at the expiration of a seven-day quit notice for their alleged acts of criminality.
Some residents of Igangan town claimed that they had paid about N50 million as ransom to secure freedom for kidnap victims in recent times.
The Secretary of Igangan Development Advocates, Lawal Akeem, made the claim on behalf of the people when a delegation of the Oyo State Government and the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Mrs Ngozi Onadeko, visited the town.
Akrem said: “we can’t stomach the antics of the Seriki Fulani in the state, Saliu Abdukadir, any longer for alleged complicity in a series of kidnapping cases.”
He also accused Fulani herdsmen of destroying farmlands and raping women.
Another resident, Taiwo Adeagbo, put the number of alleged rape cases in the area in the recent weeks at no fewer than 15.
HumAngle learnt that one Dr Akindele, who was kidnapped earlier in the month in his hospital in the town, was released after he paid a ransom of N25 million.
Similarly, a resident and activist, Comrade Yekeen, claimed that the Asikolaye family in Tapa town, Ibarapa North Local Government Area, paid N12.2 million in ransom to kidnappers last year.
“Mr Seyidu Asikolaye was kidnapped in June, they (the kidnappers) collected N7.2 million. Then Sefiu Asikolaye, the brother to Seyidu, that was kidnapped in December 2020, had to pay N5 million,” Yekeen told HumAngle on Sunday.
He said that there was an endless list of known and unknown cases of residents who had fallen victim to the crime.
Meanwhile, two elders of the Fulani community in Oyo State have sought forgiveness from victims of the alleged excesses of members of their tribe in some parts of the state.
The elders, Seriki Fulani of Igbo Ora, Alhaji Idris Abubakar, and Seriki Fulani of Eruwa, Alhaji Sule Mohammed, told the government delegation that they were prepared to facilitate peaceful coexistence with members of other ethnic groups in Ibarapaland.
51 Suspects Behind Bars
Meanwhile, the Oyo State Government said 51 suspects linked to crimes in Ibarapa and Oke Ogun zones of the state had been arrested.
The Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Security, Mr Fatai Owoseni, a retired commissioner of police, on Sunday explained that while some of the suspects had been charged to court, others were still under investigation.
He stressed that the series of allegations against Seriki Abdukadir would be investigated by the police.
Owoseni said that a careful look at the grievances of the residents indicated that they were against injustice and not an ethnic group.
“If you look at the catalogue of what has been said, they feel they have not been given justice and they feel that someone has been stalling justice.
“They feel that someone has been dropping names in order to oppress the community.
“I believe that with the steps that have been taken to mend all these gaps and with the assurance that the commissioner of police has given that they will look at all the cases again, there will be a change,” he said..
Similarly, the Commissioner of Police, Onadeko, appealed for calm. She noted that without the cooperation of the people, it would be impossible for law enforcement agents to carry out their duties.
She said that criminality was not the trait of any single ethnic group because “whether you are from Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa… we have the good and bad ones.
“I want to appeal to the youth. We have listened and they have interpreted all your complaints and I want to say you should not spoil your case by using force.
“We are a new team. Bring out all the cases you have, put them in an orderly manner and we will make sure that justice is done.”
Onadeko also implored the people not to take laws into their hands, saying: ““Please, don’t take laws into your hands. Just tell us. Let us have peace and everything, by the grace of God, will be okay for all of us.”