During a visit of the state government delegation headed by the new Commissioner of Police in the state Command, Mrs Ngozi Onadeko, to Igangan in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State, residents recounted their ordeals in the hands of Fulani herdsmen.
Presenting pictures and other evidence of ransoms paid to the herdsmen, the community leaders disclosed that they had paid a total of N50m as ransoms for kidnappings carried out by herdsmen in the community.
Kemi Filani recalls that there was violence at Igangan on Friday when a popular Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, alongside his followers, stormed the Fulani settlement in the ancient town to eject Seriki Fulani, Salihu Abdukadir, and herdsmen accused of perpetrating crimes ranging from kidnappings, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands with their cattle.
During the crisis, the Seriki Fulani of Igangan and his family members were evicted from the town and their property torched.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to state Governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, Igangan community leaders on Sunday stated that besides the payment of N50m as ransoms, 15 women were raped by the herders in the town.
But Fulani leaders, who attended the meeting, begged for forgiveness, saying the Fulani were ready for peaceful co-existence with their hosts.
The Secretary of Igangan Development Advocates, Lawal Akeem, said the people were tired of the antics of the Seriki Fulani of Igangan, whom he accused of complicity in different kidnap cases.
He also said that the community had been forced to pay about N50 million in ransoms for different cases of kidnapping, while also accusing Fulani herders of regularly vandalising farms and raping women of the community.
A youth in the town, Taiwo Adeagbo, said that no fewer than 15 women had been raped in recent weeks.
A member of the state House of Assembly, Peter Ojedokun, also told the delegation that the peace in Ibarapaland had been stirred by the Fulani herders with the incessant attacks on members of the community, kidnappings and other crimes.
The Caretaker Chairman of Ibarapa North-West Local Council Development Area, Okediji Olusegun, also corroborated the allegations levelled against the Seriki Fulani of Igangan, saying that the Seriki had been fingered in the series of security challenges in the area many times.
Meanwhile. two Fulani leaders, the Seriki Fulani of Igbo Ora, Alhaji Idris Abubakar, and the Seriki Fulani of Eruwa, Alhaji Sule Mohammed, solicited for forgiveness, assuring the forum that they would facilitate peaceful coexistence in Ibarapaland.
Also during the meeting, those who paid ransoms to the bandits presented pictoral evidence to back up their claims.