Some rape victims in Igangan, Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State, have recounted their ordeals at the hands of herders in the area.
Sola, an eighteen-year-old victim who was raped on her father’s farm, said she had gone alongside her siblings to the farm to assist her parents as it was harvest season.
“Around 4 pm, when we were completing the day’s work, a Fulani herder came to us to beg for water. We gave him water and immediately left the farm. He didn’t leave but hid somewhere to follow us. I was behind while my siblings were in front,” she told Punch.
“Suddenly, somebody hit me with an object at the back. Before I knew what was going on, he pounced on me and ripped off my clothes. My siblings ran away to get help from the village. But before help could come, he had molested me sexually and fled.”
She said the criminal was caught but she never got justice.
Also speaking, a woman in her mid-fifties identified only as Victoria said a herder sexually abused her.
Victoria said hers was a double jeopardy case as her daughter was also a victim six months later.
She said, “I went to the farm that day around 3 pm. Later, a Fulani man came to beg me for water and I gave him and faced my work for the day. I was with some children helping on the farm. We were still working when he returned and asked for water again. Then I became suspicious. I told him to leave and before I could walk away, he hit me with a machete.”
According to her, the children fled while she was captured and raped, adding that the herder escaped before help could come.
Abosede, a mother of five, who was also a victim, said fending for a living had become a Herculean task as she couldn’t go to her farm for fear of being attacked.
She said, “The attack on me happened in the afternoon on my cashew farm. I was harvesting cashew that day and we took a break to boil some yam to eat. While we were boiling the yam, a Fulani man came and asked me for water. I didn’t know him, but I gave him water because there are many of them in the area. I didn’t know that it’s their usual method.”
For another victim of rape by killer herdsmen, Solape, her survival and escape were attributed to the ‘mercy of God.’
She said, “I went to my farm at Olowoyo area of Agbarigbari that day when the incident occurred. While I was on the farm, the young Fulani man passed greeted me and went his way. Not too long after, he returned and requested water. In my mind, I thought he was too shy to ask for water and that was why he went away earlier. I did know he had an evil intention.”
She said before she could turn to give him water, he hit her with a machete; she went on all fours as blood spilt out and he still raped her in that condition.
She stated, “After the police waded in, the issue was resolved after pleas from the Fulani community. I haven’t got over it. The experience never left me.”
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the police in the state, Olugbenga Fadeyi, said if the rape cases were reported in the divisions there, Igangan and Ayete, investigations would commence on them.
He also said such cases would be transferred to the SCIID, Iyanganku, Ibadan, for a discrete investigation to follow up on them and apprehend the suspects for prosecution.