The Okun Development Agency (ODA) has condemned the activities of Fulani herdsmen, who had been “emboldened by the tacit support they seem to enjoy from the authorities as they unleash mayhem on their host communities.”
The ODA, an umbrella socio-cultural organisation of Okun people, condemned the killing in a statement by its National President, Mr. Femi Mokikan.
Mokikan revealed that their people have completely abandoned their farms for fear of attack by herdsmen who “deliberately march their herds of cow into people’s farms and you dare not challenge them.”
According to him, this is as a result of the state government’s invitation to the herdsmen. “Some came with their cattle, some with nothing, forcing one to suspect other intentions.”
Continuing that the severity of the herdsmen challenge should not be underestimated, he said that many people in the six local governments that Okun are found have paid the ultimate price at the hands of herdsmen.
The statement detailed how herdsmen deliberately direct their cattle to destroy food crops both mature and immature, even going as far as bringing down walled farms.
The herdsmen also allegedly rape women in the presence of their husbands who are subsequently hacked to death if they put up a fight.
“They have now added a new dimension. They not only kill, they now severe the head of the victim. This was what befell Mr. Ariyo Aina,” the statement said, detailing the latest occurrence that prompted outcry.
ODA bemoaned the fact that despite several complaints to the state government, there has been little response.
The body suggested ways out of the current situation. “Now that it has been confirmed that the lifestyle of cattle has changed from eating grass to eating yam, cassava, maize and other food crops, matured or not, we believe that we can all together work out a mutually beneficial solution that will give all a win-win outcome and preserve the lives of the farmers in these communities.”
ODA suggested that the herdsmen can either grow their crops to feed their cattle, pay the farmers for the crops or return to where they came from.
“Enough of the killings, enough of the raping of our women, enough of the destruction of our farms. We want to reemphasise that the Okun people are naturally loving, peaceful and accommodating. The state government should help us remain so.”