How Fulani seized our farms, raped our women, kidnapped and killed our people – Convener, Igangan Development Advocates, Oladokun
The Convener of the Igangan Development Advocates, Mr Oladiran Oladokun, who is also a farmer, tells OLUFEMI OLANIYI the genesis of the crisis in Igangan and other parts of Ibarapaland, Oyo State and suggests the way out of it
Can you trace the genesis of the herdsmen crisis in Igangan?
The crisis has been going on for years and what happened last week, I think, was a reaction to the agelong issues of oppression of the host community by the Fulani herdsmen. The Fulani way of life and the culture of dominating and oppressing their hosts caused the problem. They have committed a lot of atrocities against our people, I mean the indigenes of Igangan and even the entire Ibarapaland.
What are the atrocities?
They started with frequent plundering of farms. It became so bad that at least three or four cases of farm destruction would be reported at the police station everyday. The people are farmers and destroying their only means of livelihood is like killing them. This has been going on for more than 15 years and people became used to it.
At what point did kidnapping come in?
I think they realised that they could make huge money quickly with kidnapping and that was when they introduced kidnapping and armed robbery. Seriki Salihu Abdukadir has been fingered to be behind some wicked acts against the indigenes on many occasions. Anytime any offence was committed, the Seriki would be the one defending the arrested Fulani.
Offences like what?
Offences like farm plundering, rape, kidnapping and so on, Seriki would be the one defending the Fulani that were caught. He would be the one who would make sure that they were not prosecuted. He would throw his weight behind those arrested. Seriki and his sons were the ones accusing Amotekun of killing his people when they came to some settlements to fight kidnappers. That happened recently.
Are you saying he compromised the police to let the offenders go scot-free?
It may not be like that but he has influence. It may not be in the police in the state alone. I believe he has influence above (Abuja). What can a commissioner of police do if he or she is given an order by the superior? We don’t know who he is connected to but he has strong connection and influence.
You mentioned rape among the crimes allegedly committed by herdsmen. Was there any time this happened?
We have had many rape cases, but I cannot go on and be mentioning their names because it will reopen their wounds. There was a woman that was raped in Igangan by Fulani. There are cases of attack, killings and many atrocities being committed against the people. Those criminals are always shielded.
My brother, Sola Akintola was attacked on his farm by herdsmen. He went to his farm with labourers and they harvested cassava in large quantities. After they had loaded some pickup vans, he waited behind for the vehicles to come back and load the remaining. While he was there on the farm alone, the herdsmen came with a large number of cattle and he asked them to take their cattle to another part to feed them but they insisted that their animals would be fed with the cassava he harvested and was waiting to be transported to the market. Can you believe that? He resisted them and they attacked him. Their swords could not harm him so they started beating him with their rods and clubs until they battered the hand he was using to defend his head.
Why did he not report the case to the police?
He did. The police saw that he could die if he was not treated immediately so they wrote down his name and asked him to go to hospital. After that, the police came from the area command to arrest those who attacked him because he knows them. The police said they would arrest him on a particular date at Kara market, they came but could not arrest him. The case was attempted murder but they could not arrest the suspects.
They came and he went with the policemen to where Konga, the master of those who attacked him was. The policemen could not arrest him because the Fulani came out with weapons. The policemen had to go back. If you are an indigene of the place and your brother narrowly survived such a vicious attack and nothing was done to the criminals, will that not discourage you from going to the farm? We have two Serikis: Seriki Ego who is the Seriki Bororo and Seriki Salihu. Bororo is just a sub-ethnic Fulani group, but there is nothing that happens among the Fulani that Seriki Salihu is not aware of. When our own farm was destroyed, it was Seriki’s son that came to defend the Fulani men that did it.
But why do you think he allegedly defends criminal herdsmen?
I think it’s against their culture to point out criminals among them or anyone that does anything wrong. Seriki has never done that. He has never condemned criminality among the Fulani. He will always defend them and this makes us to believe he knows about everything happening.
But Seriki said those perpetrating crimes were not his people. He said some people come from Zamfara State, Kebbi State and other areas. …