Akure—KINSMEN of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae yesterday warned that further attacks on Falae or his farm may lead to a civil war.
Olu Falae inspecting his farm after it was set ablaze by herdsmen This came as some traditional rulers in the South West zone have been accused of giving tacit support to Fulani herdsmen who graze their cattle on farmlands that belong to farmers in the zone.
These accusations were made by some stakeholders yesterday at an interactive session involving farmers and herders at the Oyo State Police Command.
Falae’s kinsmen equally vowed not to allow the establishment of any cattle colony in Akure, by the federal government saying it would be resisted at all cost.
Addressing newsmen, yesterday, the Akure Community decried the incessant invasion, harassment, intimidation and threat to the life of the former Minister of Finance. Falae, who is the traditional ruler of Ilu-Abo, in Akure North area of the state had over 125 hectares of his palm oil plantation and crop farmland set ablaze by suspected Fulani herdsmen who invaded his Ilado farm on Sunday.
Speaking on behalf of the community, the Asiwaju of Akureland, Professor Olu Agbi said the spate of attacks on Chief Falae and other people by the herdsmen has become a dangerous trend that needed drastic action. Agbi said: “The attack is not only limited to Chief Olu Falae’s farm but has spread to the farm of a serving judge, Justice Michael Owoyemi, another son of Akure kingdom and former Commissioner for Youths and Sports in Ondo State, Mr. Dayo Awude.
“The palace of Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi Odundun has been inundated with reports on the destruction of farmlands in the kingdom by these Fulani herdsmen. “Reports have indicated that Akure, the Ondo State capital, is unsafe for residents, visitors and businessmen as a result of the recent attacks by these herdsmen.
“We are disturbed by these reports more so that Akure before the recent events has been peaceful. “Apart from killing of hapless people, these herdsmen have made residents to live in fear especially those who reside in our farm settlements. “This, we insist, must stop. We are disturbed that despite the attacks and killings, the law enforcement agents seemed to be helpless in dealing with this menace. “We are uncertain who may likely be their next target as these hoodlums have been going from one place to another attacking harmless people and destroying farmlands.
“Apart from killing people on his farm, neighbouring farms have been subject to attack by these gun-wielding herdsmen. The recent burning of Chief Olu Falae’s plantation by these same elements, call for worry. “We call on the security agencies to protect the life and property of Chief Falae.
“We are making this appeal not only because he is an Akure chief but to prevent tribal war as the Olu of Ilu Abo’s stature transcends Akure and Yoruba.
“We warn the herdsmen not to create an opportunity for a civil war.” Monarchs accused of aiding Fulani herdsmen Meanwhile, the stakeholders meeting, summoned by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abiodun Odude was part of efforts to bring peaceful coexistence between farmers and herdsmen in the state.
In his remarks, a traditional ruler, Chief Jamiu Adedamola Badmus said: “Let there be a forum for traditional rulers across the state where they would be enlightened on what to do. Some traditional rulers have cows which they gave to Fulani herdsmen to breed for them. Let these rulers look for other business to do. With the tensed situation in the country, this is not the best time to keep their cattle with them.” Also speaking, Mr. Wale Idowu from Saki West Local Government said that “Farmers and herders are not enemies. It is our leaders who are our enemies. Some of you our leaders have cattle with these Fulani herdsmen.”
The meeting which was well-attended by herders, farmers, religious leaders and community leaders was a success as both parties purged out their minds and agreed to live together peacefully. Governor Ajimobi’s representative at the meeting, Mr. Segun Abolarinwa said the peace being enjoyed in the state was as a collective effort of both the government and security agencies. On the federal government policy to the establishment of Cattle Colony, Agbi said “the word colony has political connotation not economic.
“A colony is a political entity which someone said he wants to create in the territory of another; that is a provocation; that is a terrible thing for anybody to contemplate. I can tell you that Akure does not have land for being colonized. “We did not find our father as slaves and let us say that we have the capacity to defend our lands against Fulani herdsmen invasion.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police, IGP, the Director General of the State Security Service, SSS, and other security agencies to protect the residents so that people would not be forced to resort to self-help. One of the High Chiefs in the town, the Elemo of Akureland, Segun Adedipe said the community may have to go the traditional way to defend its territories against the rampaging herdsmen.
Adedipe said: “It has gotten to the stage that we have to use what we have to defend ourselves. Akure people may go traditional to protect themselves.”