Lightning kills 36 cows in Ondo community
No fewer than 36 cows were reportedly killed by lightning and thunder on the top of a sacred hill at Ijare town in Ifedore Local Council of Ondo State.
The Guardian learned that the fearful incident happened on Saturday night at the hill located on the outskirts of the agrarian community known as “Oke Owa,” a place forbidden to trespassers.
According to a reliable source, only the king of the town and some chiefs have the exclusive right to visit the town and perform some rituals once in a year during the celebration of the new yam festival.
One of the natives of the town whose house is located near the scene, but pleaded anonymity, said they didn’t know initially that the thunder had already wreaked havoc on the mysterious hill until a hunter alerted the people of the community the following morning that he saw some slain cows on the hilltop.
When The Guardian visited the hilltop, there were 36 cows sprawling lifelessly on the ground without any mark on their bodies, drawing the attention of people who came from far and near to see the gory incident.
There were indications that herders were trying to settle around the place as there was a shed under construction with tubers of yam and pepper scattered in the vicinity.
The most awful aspect of the mass death, as garnered from the natives, the carcasses would be abandoned on the mysterious hill unburied because it is a taboo to touch the slain animals.
The Olujare of Ijare, who spoke through his second-in-command and Sapetu of Ijare, Chief Wemimo Olaniran, said that the incident was an act was of God.
Olaniran, however, noted that the herders had been destroying their farmland for a very long time and this had led to several confrontations between the herders and the farmers.
He said it was surprising to them when they heard five days ago that some Fulani were ascending the sacred hill to settle after they had destroyed many farmlands and created fears in the minds of the people.
He said: “We were there this morning and we saw about 36 cows dead apart from the ones inside the bush. It has happened and there is nothing we can do. We regard it as the act of God, which nobody can query.
“There have been occasions like that but not as massive as we are having it now. In the past, we did witness thunderbolt attack when you desecrated any part of Ijare, particularly the sacrifice places, the groves.
“The dead cows will be there forever; it is part of the history in our land for people to see as testimony in the future that such a thing happened. A whole Oba was buried there live and heaven did not fall talk less of ordinary cows.
“Oke Owa is a sacred hill where the Oba and some of his chiefs visit once a year during new yam festival to offer sacrifices on behalf of the community.
“Even those chiefs accompanying the Oba must not go to the inner part of the hill because there is a particular place where only the Oba has to enter and spend a night.
“This is a hill that the herdsmen wanted to desecrate with their herds. It is taboo. When we heard about the incident, we invited the herdsmen and they confirmed that it was thunder that struck the cows.
“We went to the police station to report the matter and the Divisional Police Officer was contacted before chiefs, including myself, went there. Those cows would remain there and rotten because nobody must touch them.”
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Joseph, who confirmed that the matter was reported at Ijare Police Station, described the incident like a natural disaster that was unfortunate and nobody could do anything about.