The Agbekoya Farmers’ Association and the Yoruba Socio-Political organisation Afenifere, yesterday, raised the alarm that marauding herdsmen have launched guerrilla warfare on Yorubaland, but vowed to flush out the culpable herdsmen terrorizing the South-West.
They also disclosed that it had begun a manhunt for the killer herdsmen’s kingpin, known as Mahmoud Waziri, and his men, who terrorise farmers and residents in Ibarapa local government area of Oyo State.
This came on a day the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Mr Taiwo Adisa, warned against the growing false security alarms in the form of fake audio and video posts on social media, declaring that residents of the state should ignore such contents.
Similarly, the Olu of Oba Eerin in Obafemi/Owode council area of Ogun State, Oba Ganiyu Sanyaolu, yesterday, warned his subjects against harbouring strangers especially, herders looking for a place of abode, following their forceful ejection from Ibarapa area of Oyo State.
Marauding herdsmen have launched guerrilla warfare on Yoruba land — Agbekoya
Agbekoya, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olatunji Bandele, stated that the President-General of the association, Chief Kamorudeen Okikiola, stated that after the exit of Seriki Fulani from Igangan, another kingpin, Mahmoud Waziri, emerged in the town with his men, unleashing terror on innocent citizens and killing farmers in the area.
Chief Okikiola said two farmers, who were working on their farms, were killed in two locations in the area during an ambush laid on them by the killer herdsmen, while some escaped to the town to alert the people of the community. The statement read: “The Kingpin, Mahmoud, regrouped the killer herdsmen and bandits, armed them with dangerous weapons to retaliate the exit of Seriki Fulani from Igangan who is now living in a village in Kwara State.
Though the kingpin is now on the run, his killer herdsmen are perpetrating havoc, killing farmers and innocent citizens in Ibarapa area of Oyo State. Agbekoya will not relent until all these Fulani criminals terrorizing Yoruba land are flushed out.” The farmers’ body, however, called on farmers in the South-West to avoid going to their farms alone, but “should make sure that they go to their farms in groups ready to counter any sudden attack by the Fulani bandits and killer herdsmen.
“The killer herdsmen have launched guerrilla warfare on Yoruba land and we should be alert and be very strategic in dislodging them wherever they are located in the South-West. We are using this medium to call on other security stakeholders, traditional rulers, Southwest governors, politicians and Yoruba leaders to rise to face the insecurity situation in the region. We are also calling on the Northern governors and leaders to take positive steps in calling the killer herdsmen and Fulani bandits terrorizing Southwest to order because if the situation persists, Agbekoya will not hesitate to launch a full-scale war against herdsmen, kidnappers and bandits”, Agbekoya president said.
War is at the door – Afenifere, Speaking on the development, the Publicity Secretary of foremost Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, explained that the persistent attacks by the marauding herdsmen on the region were a clear indication that the region was at war.
Odumakin said: “The adamant and persistent attacks by herdsmen on Yorubaland are clearly a grand war on the Yoruba nation, and it’s only the ostriches that would bury their heads in the sand at the moment. War is at our door.”
Stop using false social media in security situation — Makinde’s aide
Meanwhile, Governor Makinde’s aide warned against raising false alarms on the security situation in Ibarapaland and parts of Oke-Ogun, adding that security agencies will readily deal with anyone seeking to cause ethnic tension.
Adisa, in a statement, said: “The penchant of certain individuals, groups and faceless bodies to take to social media and raise the unfounded alarm just to cause panic among the people of Oyo State is becoming a cause for concern.”
He particularly said some viral social media video and audio messages in which false and inciting claims were made about Ayete, Igangan, and other parts of the state have been on the rise in recent weeks.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to a grand plot to precipitate unrest in Oyo State through the use of fake news in the social media. This plot seeks to promote false alarms, misinformation and sponsored fake news through audio, video and Facebook messages and it is to make the state ungovernable.
“As a government, the contents of some of these audio and video releases have been investigated and mostly found to be outright falsehood, baseless claims and products of hate speech, targeted only at discrediting the government and inciting the people.
“As a proactive government, the Makinde-led administration has risen to the occasion on the issue of insecurity and we are already winning the war against criminality, with several measures rolled out to tackle kidnapping and banditry in Ibarapa and some parts of Oke-Ogun, while efforts have also been increased to tame the violent gang wars in Ibadan.”
Don’t harbour strangers, Ogun monarch cautions subjects Similarly, the Ogun monarch said the call became necessary, following a viral video alleging that some herdsmen, who were forcibly sent away by youths of Ibarapa in Oyo State, have started erecting structures in the agrarian town.
Oba Sanyaolu stated that the viral video has created palpable fears in the minds of residents and visitors of the town.
Findings by newsmen revealed that some herders were seen along the roads leading to Oba town, the community that hosts the new Abeokuta Correctional facility and Moshood Abiola Polytechnic.
It was also gathered that some of them have already erected structures and cleared bushes around the major roads leading to the town.
Some residents of Oba and Alagada, who spoke to newsmen, said the presence of the herders was noticed some days ago when they saw tractors clearing some farmlands around Alagada village, about 200 meters to the new Abeokuta Correctional facility, adding that within three days, about 20 huts, typical of Fulani abodes have started springing up.
Oba Sanyaolu, while speaking with some journalists in his palace, said some youths have already gone to the herders, accosted them and shared the video clip of their encounters to the people, thereby creating tension in the minds of the people.
The monarch said: “To avert any crisis that may erupt thereafter, I have called some people that I know who facilitated the coming of these herders to a meeting where I instructed them to do the needful.”