The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in Ondo State Command says it arrested two Fulani herdsmen over a clash and pandemonium that erupted at Akure South Local Government Secretariat on Tuesday.
Femi Joseph, the spokesman of the Ondo State Police Command confirmed this to a Sahara Reporters correspondent in Akure.
Some Fulani herdsmen had in the early hours of Tuesday grazed their cattle through a bush path at the back of the local secretariat before clashing with a junior staff that was into peasant farming.
Reports had gone viral that the herdsmen launched an attack on the staff members of the local government secretariat that were resuming for duty in the early hours.
Sahara Reporters investigations showed that the incident was a mere disagreement that could have been a dialogue between the herdsman and the farmer.
Speaking further, Mr. Joseph confirmed that the incident was about a “hot disagreement” between the junior staff of the Akure South Local Government and some Fulani herdsmen.
“There was no invasion by the Fulani herdsmen as widely reported by some media mostly in Akure today."
“It was just a disagreement between a local farmer and about two herdsmen grazing their cattle at the back of the Akure South Local Government Secretariat."
“The farmer is a junior staff of the Akure South Local Government who has a commercial farm at the back of the secretariat."
“Getting to the farm this morning around 9 am he saw some of the Fulani herdsmen grazing their cattle and were eaten his vegetable plantation."
“This forced the man to quickly raised an alarm as he engaged one of the herders who was armed with a machete in a fight inside the farm."
“In fact, one of the herders sustained some minor injuries on his arms as he fought back and chased after the LG junior staff."
“The other man had to run into the secretariat to raise an alarm which attracted other staffs who took to their heels and left their offices but we have arrested two of the herdsmen."
He also confirmed that the State Commissioner of Police, Gbenga Adeyanju, had already visited the farm to ascertain the level of damages.
Also, a source at the local secretariat told our correspondent that trouble started a boy of about eight years stormed the farm with the cattle and grazed on the vegetable plantations.
“Our staff that was managing the farm asked the boy to leave the place with the cattle but he felt reluctant then he was pushed and in the process, he fell down."
“An older herder which we suspected to be the elder brother to the boy saw what transpired and pulled out a machete to engaged the local government worker."
“The LG worker also has a cutlass in his own hand started engaging the herders and both men were exchanging blows then the Fulani man was injured in the process,” he added.
Margaret Atere, Chairperson of the Akure South Local Government Area said the incident was pathetic when contacted on phone.
Mrs. Atere noted that she quickly had to call the security agencies to wade in and mostly the police to provide security at the office before any dangerous attack occurred.
“Although, we have gotten assurances from the security agencies that there is no cause for any alarm and they have deployed their men even with vehicles to the secretariat.
“But we don’t want to rely too much on that because the herdsmen are pure evil as their mode of attack is always dangerous and I can't jeopardize the life of our staff," she added.
Meanwhile, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi, the Deji of Akure Kingdom has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to find an urgent solution to the nefarious activities of the Fulani herdsmen.
Oba Aladelusi was reacting to condemn the clash at the Akure South Local Government on Tuesday, which resulted in heavy panicking.
The monarch spoke in a statement issued by his media aide, Michael Adeyeye and obtained by Sahara Reporters.
He wondered why the herdsmen would have chosen to lead their cattle to graze on the farmland belonging to the council if not an attempt to create a crisis in town.
“His Majesty's wish to call on President Muhammadu Buhari not to treat the issue of these notorious herdsmen with kid gloves as their activities are becoming worrisome and unbearable."
“Akure people can no longer tolerate the excesses of these herdsmen who are now making lives unbearable with their nefarious attitudes,” he added.
The monarch also urged Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to take proactive measures in curbing the activities of the marauders.