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Tension grips Ogun communities as herders allegedly butcher farmer

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Fear has enveloped communities in Imeko-Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State following the gruesome murder of a farmer, Dele Olowoniyi, by suspected herders in the early hours of Sunday.

The deceased was reportedly killed while asleep in a farm settlement at Oha village, with several machete cuts on his neck and other parts of the body.

It was gathered that the herdsmen stormed the village at midnight of Saturday, with guns and cutlasses, shooting sporadically, destroying property.

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The assailants reportedly left Oha for Iwoye Ketu after allegedly killing Olowoniyi. Though the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the incident, he however said that there was no evidence that the man was killed by Fulani herdsmen.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that other communities in the council area and beyond are already in a panic mood, as the displaced herders from Oyo State have found their way into the area.

The head of farmers (Baale Agbe) in Imeko area, Chief Abdulazeez Ismail Abolore, confirmed to The Guardian that the people were afraid, because the displaced herders from Oyo State had bombarded the entire communities, adding that the area was becoming unsafe.

“How did the police come to the conclusion that the killers were not herdsmen? What is their proof? The herdsmen invaded the community at night and slaughtered the man. This is a farmer, a warrior and a mediator within the community in the sense that whenever there is any disagreement between the herders and farmers, he’s always at the forefront of ensuring that farmers in the community are not cheated,” he said.

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“The deceased is someone I know very well. The attack and subsequent murder was premeditated. He was their target. Maybe they saw him as a stumbling block to their onslaught against farmers in the community. They are of the belief that if he is killed, nobody will be able to question their activities again.”

He said they had sent a save-our-soul message to the state government, the senator representing the area, Tolu Odebiyi, the House of Representatives member, elders in the area, the governor and the special adviser to the governor on security to come to their aid.

“We need the government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to the area. All the forest and other areas need security. We need the government to protect lives and property,” he said.

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