Monday, January 20, 2020 8:48 pm
Cows that were arrested by people of Ijare, Ondo State, from Fulani pastoralists have been released intact to the leaders of Miyetti Allah.
However, according to a source in Ijare, there were three conditions set for the exercise:
“1. The herders are not to bring their cows to graze in Ijare again
2. To pay back for all damages done to farms
3. Farmers too were warned by the Chiefs not to inflate the damages, so as to maintain the integrity of the town
Undertaking were signed by the leaders of the Fulani.
The leaders of the Fulani, according to a source in the town, ‘were sober and appreciative of the method employed by Ijare people.”’
There was a metaphysical dimension to the farmers-herders conflict on 22 September last year when thunder struck and killed 36 cows that trespassed on a sacred mountain in Ijare. Geographers and traditionalists tried to explain what actually happened. While the former made efforts to prove science, the latter saw the hands of the gods at work- in defense of some cheated people.
This phenomenon provided a deep “respect” that Miyetti Allah, a group that talks arrogantly and beats its chest all over Nigeria, developed for Ijare people. In other areas, they would have inflicted deaths and wounds on the populace, just the way medieval Mongol hordes (children of Genghis Khan), in Asia left copses after their typical invasions.
Thus, when on Wednesday 15 January, the Ijare community seized about 150 cows for destroying crops on farmlands in the area, the Fulani, rather than fight, voted with their feet.
The seized cows, according to a report by The Punch, were led to the farmlands by some Fulani herdsmen to graze and they destroyed crops planted on the farmlands.
A source in the community was quoted in the report that when the farmers saw the havoc wreaked by the cows on their farms, they pursued them and seized the cows, while the herdsmen fled.
The source said, “When the herdsmen saw that the farmers and some local hunters were coming after them, they abandoned their cows and ran away and the cows were brought to the palace of the town’s monarch.
“The herdsmen have been adamant and it was high time they left. We didn’t harm them, but we were surprised that they ran away as if they were being chased by lions.”
The Punch quoted Mr Sunday Fasakin, who lamented that his efforts last year had come to nought, recounted how his three-hectare cocoyam and yam plantations were destroyed by the herdsmen and their cattle.
“They have been destroying our farms and we can no longer condone the losses. We don’t have problems with the herdsmen, but we don’t want them and their cows in Ijare anymore,” he stated.
The newspaper has it further: “Fasakin also called on the government to address the problem to avoid reprisal by the residents of the community.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Femi Joseph, said one of the herders had been arrested, while investigation had commenced into the matter.
“We got a report that five herdsmen invaded and destroyed farms in Ijare and we swung into action and one Banbuga Abu was arrested, while we are still searching for the other fleeing herdsmen. We have commenced an investigation into the incident,” Joseph stated.
Similarly, the traditional ruler of Ipinsa in the Akure South Local Government Area of the state, Oba Omoniyi Olufunmilayo, has raised the alarm over the invasion of farmlands and destruction of crops in his community by suspected herdsmen.
The monarch lamented that many farmers were counting their losses over the destruction of their farmlands allegedly by the herdsmen.
He called on the state government and security agents to intervene in the matter to avoid a clash between the farmers and the herdsmen.”