Herders flee after Ondo community arrests 150 cows for destroying farmland
There was a mild drama in Ijare town, an agrarian community in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State yesterday as Fulani herdsmen deserted their cows and scampered for safety.
However, this, according to some residents in the area, may not be unconnected with the sour reactions of the people against the stance of the Federal Government, declaring the Western Security Network in the region, codenamed Amotekun, as illegal.
The Guardian gathered that the incident was due to the complaints made to the community head and leaders over the incessant destruction of farmlands and farm produce by the intruders. It was learned that the youths of the community, led by the community chiefs, mobilized themselves in droves to resist the destruction of their farms by the herdsmen and their cattle.
Sources within the ancient town revealed that the herdsmen had declined several overtures and pleas made to them by the community to stop grazing on their farmlands, and went further into the town unfettered.
According to another source, members of the community arrested about 150 cows for destroying crops on farmlands in the community. This came a few months after lightening struck dead 36 cows that belonged to the herdsmen while grazing on a ‘sacred land’ in the community.
It was gathered that the cows which belonged to some Fulani herdsmen in the community, were allegedly led into the farmlands by some herdsmen to graze and allegedly destroyed crops. A source in the community said when the farmers saw the havoc the cows had wreaked on their farms, they pursued them and arrested the cows while the herdsmen fled.
The source said: “After the herdsmen had seen that the farmers and some local hunters were coming, they abandoned their cows and ran while the cows were brought to the palace. They have been adamant and it was high time they left. We didn’t harm them but we were surprised the way they ran away like being chased by a lion.”
One of the affected farmers, Mr. Sunday Fasakin, who lamented that all his last year’s efforts were in vain, recounted how his cocoyam and yam farms of three hectares worth thousands of naira were destroyed by the herdsmen.
“They have been destroying our farms and we can no longer condone such losses again. We don’t have a problem with them but we don’t want them and their cows in Ijare anymore.”
Fasakin also called on the government to address the ugly development to avoid reprisal from the people of the community.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Femi Joseph, however, said one of the herders had been arrested while investigation had commenced into the matter.
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