There are strong indications that herdsmen/farmers crisis is imminent in Omu-Aran Local Government Area of Kwara State as a farmer (name withheld), a septuagenarian, was coerced to pay a group of Fulani herdsmen a sum of N350,000 owing to the death of their cows after grazing on his farmland.
The farmer who brought the case to the foreground narrated to Harmony Times correspondents, on Sunday, that the herdsmen had accused him of poisoning their cows.
The farmer, whose statement was corroborated by his wife, explained that he was working on his farm when a group of herdsmen came to visit him and recounted how their cows had grazed on his farm and were found dead some hours later.
He said “As soon as we got to the farm that very day, my wife came to me that a man wanted to see me. She inquired why he wanted to see me but he insisted on seeing me.
“Shortly after my wife left, they went to meet him at our farm house and they brought her to where I was. When they arrived they told me to come with them and I inquire on the purpose. They were like twenty in number. So, I decided to follow them to where we put our cashew seeds.
“They asked me ‘What did you put here?’ when we got there and they instructed me to dig the ground with my hand. Hesitantly, I dug it and I saw something like ashes. I was questioned on what was in the hole and I responded that I didn’t put anything.
“Thus, they concluded that I put poisonous substance in the cashew and their cows ate it and die. I protested to there claim. They took me to where the remains of their cows are and there is a very long distance between where their cows gave up and my house. Surprisingly, they came with policemen and we were later arrested.
“The following day, the Fulani leaders across suburb communities came to together to discuss about the issue and the resolution, after so many deliberation, was that I should pay a sum of N350,000 in order to avoid being killed in retaliation and I paid part of the money, with the sum of N80,000 left to be paid.”
In his reaction, the Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, implored the aggrieved to write to the Kwara State Police Command and copy the state government, and expressed optimism that the issue will be resolved after both party are heard.
“Let the aggrieved person write to the Police Command and copy the government. Let him explain his issues. I’m sure they will call the herder to also state their own issue.
“In this herder/farmer issue, I appeal to all of us to please thread softly. Our country is going through a hard time which requires patience, maturity and tact to avoid unpalatable outcome. I beg us to pls be patient. God bless you,” he said.
Meanwhile, Barrister Titilope, the Managing Partner, Akogun Chambers and President, Kwara South Youth Organization had vowed to take the matter up if a petition to the State Police Commissioner is neither responded to nor given utmost and sincere attention.
When the PRO of Omu Aran Development Association was contacted, he said the organization is currently investigating the matter before an official action will be taken.7066