Residents of Igangan in the Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo State have narrated how the now-ejected Seriki Fulani, Abdulkadri Saliu, used his son, Ibrahim Saliu, to free herdsmen arrested for various heinous crimes in the area.
The President, Igangan Development Advocates, Wale Oladokun, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘What actually happened between Sunday Igboho, Seriki Fulani and Ibarapa residents’.
According to him, the Seriki Fulani, who had lived in the town for several years before his eviction last week, served as the “protective shield and supreme defender of vicious Fulani herders for several years throughout Ibarapaland”.
Oladokun said, “He (Seriki) would send his children, prominent among whom was Ibrahim Saliu, to serve as the mouthpiece for arrested vicious herders even for grievous offences that ought to be charged to court.
“Once the Seriki Saliu or children stepped into any case involving the Fulani, no matter how grievous, the case was, it would be swept under the carpet as the scale of justice became tipped.
“This heightened the impunity with which these herders unleash terror on the Ibarapa people. They became so emboldened that they started killing and maiming indigenes with glee. And before long, kidnapping too was added as their weapon of subjugation cum business venture.”
The PUNCH had earlier reported that a popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, asked herdsmen accused of perpetrating sundry crimes in Ibarapaland to leave within seven days.
Making a clarification, Oladokun said, “Sunday Adeyemo was not in the midst of those who went to Gaha Seriki to effect the Seriki’s ejection. It was the entire people of Ibarapa themselves that marched there while Sunday Igboho and his boys had only embarked on combing the remote forests serving as hideouts to the bandits to ensure the security of the land.”
The IDA President also said the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, abandoned the people for so many years despite their cries for help against the oppression of Seriki and his Fulani herdsmen.
“The youths of Ibarapa cried to Governor Seyi Makinde in a protest led by Igangan Development Advocates shortly after the murder of Dr. Fatai Aborode. But the deaths of many Ibarapa indigenes occasioned by Fulani bandits never attracted the attention of Mr. Governor.
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“But now, Mr. Governor suddenly woke up and saw the need to visit the hotspot in company of the Inspector General’s representatives and Council of Obas. The question is: ‘where were they since?’
“Mr. Governor should be advised to deal with this crisis in his hands very cautiously and carefully so as not to reignite the fire he claimed he was trying to put out. Arresting Mr. Sunday Adeyemo, for instance, would not solve the problem but escalate it. A word should be enough for the wise,” Oladokun said.