Residents of Igangan in the Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo State have narrated how Ibrahim Saliu, son of the Seriki Fulani of Igangan, Saliu Abdulkadir, freed herdsmen arrested for committing crimes in the area.
President, Igangan Development Advocates, Wale Oladokun, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘What actually happened between Sunday Igboho, Seriki Fulani and Ibarapa residents.’
SaharaReporters had earlier reported how the Seriki Fulani of Igangan, Abdulkadir, dismissed a claim that the Fulani working with him were some of the kidnappers and murderers terrorising the area.
Also, Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has consistently blamed Fulani herdsmen in the area for the killings and kidnappings in the region.
On Wednesday, the IDA president said the Seriki Fulani, who had lived in the town for several years before his eviction last week, served as the “protective shield and supreme defender of vicious Fulani herders for several years throughout Ibarapaland”.
Oladokun said, “He (Seriki) would send his children, prominent among whom was Ibrahim Saliu, to serve as the mouthpiece for arrested vicious herders even for grievous offences that ought to be charged to court.
“Once the Seriki Saliu or children stepped into any case involving the Fulani, no matter how grievous, the case would be swept under the carpet as the scale of justice would be tipped (in their favour).
“This heightened the impunity with which these herders unleashed terror on the Ibarapa people. They became so emboldened that they started killing and maiming indigenes with glee. And before long, kidnapping too was added as their weapon of subjugation cum business venture.”
Oladokun said the people of Ibarapa were the ones who effected the ejection of the Seriki while Sunday Igbobo only combed the remote forests serving as hideouts to the bandits to ensure the security of the land.
The IDA President also accused the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, of abandoning the people of the area for long despite their cries for help against the oppression of the Seriki and the Fulani herdsmen.
“The youths of Ibarapa cried to Governor Seyi Makinde in a protest led by Igangan Development Advocates shortly after the murder of Dr. Fatai Aborode. But the deaths of many Ibarapa indigenes occasioned by Fulani bandits never attracted the attention of Mr. Governor.
“But now, Mr. Governor suddenly woke up and saw the need to visit the hotspot in company with the Inspector General’s representatives and Council of Obas. The question is: ‘where were they since?’
“Mr. Governor should be advised to deal with this crisis in his hands very cautiously and carefully so as not to reignite the fire he claimed he was trying to put out. Arresting Mr. Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho), for instance, would not solve the problem but escalate it. A word should be enough for the wise."
There has been tension in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State as a result of worsening cases of kidnapping and killing. The tension escalated when Igboho gave Fulani herdsmen a seven-day ultimatum to vacate the area.
He also accused the Seriki Fulani of Igangan of colluding with the suspected killer herdsmen and taking shares from the ransoms they get from families of their abducted victims.
Some days after he gave the ultimatum, the residence and cars of the Seriki Fulani were burnt and the Fulani leader and his family had to flee for their lives.
Similarly, one of Igboho’s houses in Ibadan was also burnt on Tuesday, sparking speculations that the arson might be a retaliation by Fulani herdsmen for the burning of the Seriki Fulani of Igangan’s house.
Also, on Tuesday, operatives of Amotekun in the state intercepted a truck loaded with gunmen suspected to be herdsmen heading to Igangan community in the recently troubled Ibarapa.
The truck, with registration number TUR30ZY, is registered with Kebbi State and the Amotekun officials found 25 guns and 10 dogs in the truck alongside the suspects.