Farmers in Ikoyi-Ile, Orire Local Government Area have vowed to defend themselves if the Oyo State government fails to protect them from incessant attacks by herdsmen terrorizing their community.
This was disclosed by Joseph Oyekola , secretary of the Idera Agbe Farmers Association’s, Orire Local Government branch, who recounted the community’s ordeal at the hands of their attackers, accusing herdsmen of killing one of their members, raping their minors and destroying their farm land.
A majority of herdsmen are nomadic in nature, moving with their livestock from one place to another in search of pastures for their animals. This practice tends to cause conflict between farmers and herders when herds rampage over farmland and destroy crops.
These clashes between herders and farmers persist, being exacerbated by Nigeria’s land resource depletion due to development and desertification, coupled with the fact that children, who are unable to keep large herds on designated grazing paths, are usually assigned to look after hundreds of cattle.
Oyekola, who also serves as the Babalaje of Agbe in the local government, added that herdsmen have been terrorizing farmers in the area for the past eight years, stressing that an urgent intervention by the government is needed before things get out of hand.
One of the victims, Usman Daudu, narrated his ordeal, lamenting that 20 hectares of his farm land, planted with maize, yams, tomatoes and tubers, were destroyed by the herdsmen, and that he was injured on the head with a cutlass while trying to chase them away.
Oba Abdul-Yekeen Atilola Oladipupo, the Onikoyi of Ikoyi-Ile, said that he has tried to resolve the issue between farmers and herders in the area several times without success and is now looking to the government to intervene.
The monarch called on Oyo State Gov. Seyi Makinde, the Oyo State House of Assembly and any applicable security agencies to come to the aid of his people to prevent further bloodshed.