Some villagers in Yewaland, Ogun state, who fled to Benin Republic, have said they will not be enticed with palliatives distributed by the state government.
They also said they will not return to the state until the security situation in the community improves.
Villages under Yewaland including Oha, Asa, Igbooro, Ibeku, Moro, and Agbon-Ojodu have endured attacks from Fulani herders forcing people to desert the community.
According to Punch, the Chairman, Subcommittee on Palliatives, Olaolu Olabimtan, who is also the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, had delivered palliatives to the people in the area, describing the gesture as a sign of better things to come.
However, the Eselu of Iseluland, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi, said the residents of the community were not available to receive them from the government.
The monarch said many of the residents said they preferred to be slaves elsewhere than die in their country due to the level of insecurity in the area.
He said, “We thank the governor for doing that. Then, we begged our people to return home; we are working on the assurance of security agents when they return. But right now, the whole place has been deserted. The palliatives are outside and there is no one to collect them.
“It is a terrible situation; nobody is around. They have deserted the houses, the schools, everywhere. The palliatives have been kept at Tata; we can’t pick them up because we are still looking for who to give them to; some residents are even saying that they won’t come until security is provided.
“We have been getting in touch with them, some are in Ipobe, some are in Eegelu, Port Novo, and others are saying that it is better for them to be slaves elsewhere than to be killed in Nigeria.’’
Some of the villagers who spoke with Punch said they fled their homes to Eegelu Community in Benin Republic when marauding killer herdsmen unleashed terror on the areas, killing, maiming, and destroying farms with cows.
They said they were happy with the reception they got in Benin Republic, stressing that the government took care of them well.
Abiodun Abikale said, “My wife and I ran away to the Eegelu community in Benin Republic when killer herdsmen started invading our homes, killing and burning houses. They took care of us. I was tempted to conclude that the place is more convenient for me than Nigeria because there is peace. I didn’t return with my wife. I only came to check our property and see the situation. I am not comfortable coming with my wife. But I am returning there. We will return fully when the killings and abductions in our villages end.’’
Another Ogun resident, Monday Odu, said his wife was delivered of a baby in Benin Republic while taking refuge in the country after fleeing the state due to killings by the herdsmen.
He said, “The killings became too much and unbearable at a point to the extent that we had to run away to Benin Republic to secure our lives. I am trying to get money to discharge my wife, Sarah Odu, from the hospital. She was delivered of the baby by caesarean section.”
It was gathered that about five pregnant women were among the women that fled the country with their spouses. The women joined others to take shelter at a make-shift Internally Displaced Persons' camp located in a community in the neighbouring Benin Republic.
The chairman of the transition committee of Imeko-Afon Local Government Area, Olusola Oke, lamented that killings and kidnappings were still ongoing in the Yewa axis.
He also lamented the security situation in the area, saying, “Last Thursday, two people who wanted to buy cows were lured into the bush and kidnapped around Iwoye-Ketu. They have yet to be rescued.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, however, said two fufu traders were abducted, adding that a suspect who is a Fulani had been arrested in connection with the matter.
It was gathered that suspected herdsmen kidnapped two fufu traders in Ayetoro-Olorunda in Imala, Abeokuta-North Local Government Area of the state, demanding a ransom of N5 million from each of the two victims.