Many people have been left seriously injured after farmers clashed with herdsmen in Oyo state.
The Baale of Araro in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State, Mustapha Ibrahim, on Monday, narrated how seven farmers were allegedly cut with machetes in the past few months by suspected herders, according to a report by PremiumTimes.
He said the herders also invaded and destroyed farmlands over the weekend.
The police confirmed the attacks, which it called skirmishes, but said no one was injured.
Araro, a border town between Oyo and Ogun states, has inhabitants who are mainly farmers.
Mr Ibrahim said his people have abandoned their only means of livelihood out fear of attack by the herders.
He called on the state governor, Seyi Makinde, to intervene.
Mr Ibrahim said the injured, who were allegedly cut by the herders, were rescued from the bush, ”soaked in blood before they were taken to medical facilities by policemen from Omi Adio, police station for medical attention”.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), in the state, Olugbenga Fadeyi, who confirmed ”that there had been incessant skirmishes between the farmers and Fulani herdsmen in the area”, said nobody was cut.
He said, “When the DPO got there, there was no case of anybody being macheted. They said some herdsmen were eating their crops, and one of the rams, not even cow was brought to the station. And it’s there. All I can say is that investigation is ongoing and we will get you informed at the end.”
However, the traditional ruler disagreed with the police and invited some of the alleged victims of the attack to his palace to meet with reporters.
He said about seven people sustained injuries from machete cuts.
One of the victims, Akande Owoyele, said he was cut on his head alongside seven of his farm workers two months ago. He accused the herdsmen of destroying farm crops.
“I told my boys working in the farm, not to challenge or fight with the herdsmen each time they sight them destroying my crops, but instead they should inform the Baale, and he will know the step to take immediately. We are peace-loving people.
“One day, the herdsmen again stormed my farm with their cows. And my boys had to call me, and I called their leader, Babangida, to call his people to order. He told me that they are not his people, so I told my boys to drive them out of my farm and seize their cutlass and some of their weapons, which I took to the police station as evidence.
“The next day, they came and waylaid my boys with dangerous weapons. They were macheted and had deep cuts. They even carried one of them off with ‘okada’ and threatened to cut off his head into the stream before he was rescued.
“We had to mobilise people into the bush to rescue the injured workers and rushed them to hospital. Babangida was arrested by the police, even the matter was transferred to Iyaganku police station. The following day, I was on my farm, when I saw herds of cows again eating up my crops. Immediately, I called the police station, the police said we should arrest and bring one of the straying cows to the station. So, we took one of the cows, and on our way to the police station, the herdsmen waylaid and attacked and inflicted deep machete cut on my head,” he said.
The traditional ruler noted that since the attacks started last year November, ”the herdsmen have not ceased from attacking farmers and destroying farm crops”.
“We don’t want bloodshed and crisis in our community, that why we are begging our people to exercise patience and restraint in the face of provocation,” he said. ”Our people are farmers and the lands they are using to farm are inherited from their forefathers.”
Some of the victims were reportedly treated at Emiloju Hospital, while others were admitted at Precious Hospital, both at Omi Adio, Ibadan.
A doctor, Faleye Jacob, of the Emiloju Hospital confirmed that two of the victims, Ifasesin Salako and Olabode Owoleye, were brought to his hospital in critical condition with severe machete cuts. They were placed on admission for observation and treatment, he added.
Also, at Precious Hospital, another doctor, Kayode Ayoola, confirmed that one of the victims, Akande Owoyele, was brought in a coma with machete deep cuts in the head and injuries.