What could have led to an ethnic clash between Fulani nomadic herdsmen and aggrieved farmers was quickly averted on Wednesday as some unidentified persons murdered a popular Fulani herdsman, Dan Bako, in Ilara-Mokin, Ifededore Local Government Area (LGA), Ondo State.
Ali Dongo, the head of Fulani nomadic herdsmen in Ondo State, confirmed the death of Mr. Bako to journalists shortly after meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Hilda Ibifuro-Hallison, in Akure. He said they have met with family members and kinsmen of the victim for questioning to try to determine the reason for the murder of Mr. Bako.
It was discovered that the deceased was earlier declared missing by his family members who reside in a village on the outskirts of the community before the corpse was found on Wednesday.
Mr. Dongo revealed that the late Mr. Bako was sent on an errand with his motorcycle to buy food in a nearby village.
SaharaReporters gathered that the motorcycle of the deceased was later found on the path of the bush by a member of the search party put together by sympathizers in the village.
Some farmers in the community who spoke with SaharaReporters denied any link with the death of the herdsman.
“The rumor filtering into the town that the deceased must have been killed by farmers in the village is a blatant lie sponsored to cause inter-ethnic war in our community and the State at large. We are peace-loving people and many of them have been living with us here for the past eight years,” one of the sources said.
“We don’t know anything about the death of the Fulani herdsman. I learned that his dead body was found in a bush today. Some days ago he had been declared missing by some members of his family,” another farmer said.
He explained that the village came together to search for Mr. Bako.
“My uncle who is a cassava farmer even volunteered to join the search party put together by the heads of the Fulani that came to sympathize with the people of the village. Every nook and cranny of the community was thoroughly searched but nothing was found until today."
Ondo State Police Commissioner Hilda Ibifuro-Hallison, who spoke about the incident during a meeting with Fulani herdsmen and aggrieved farmers in the community, said police have been deployed to the community.
“The incident that happened in Ilara-Mokin was quickly averted today by the police. Our men have taken control of the community to avoid any break down of law and order,” she said.
Ms. Ibifuro-Hallison pleaded with both the Fulani herdsmen and farmers to live together peacefully while the police continue their investigation.