A United States of America returnee residing in one of the villages terrorised by suspected Fulani herdsmen on the outskirts of Ibadan, Oyo State, Mrs Olajumoke Awosika, has said the landowners who sold 200 acres of land to the herders brought permitted their criminalities.
Awosika, a resident of Ibaayin village, Elekuru-Olorisaoko axis of the Akinyele Local Government Area said the area has experienced mayhem from the herders since the start of activism of Sunday Igboho.
The farmer disclosed this in an exclusive interview with PUNCH, in which she lamented that the criminal activities of the herdsmen were affecting farming activities in the agrarian community.
The 57-year-old caterer, who returned to Nigeria from the United States in 2010, said she invested in organic farming five years ago following her failure to get some fresh farm produce in the market for her catering business.
Awosika said she pumped millions of naira on tens of acres in Ibaayin where she planted palm, turmeric, ginger, cassava, pepper, tomatoes, plantain, amongst others.
She said, “The first day they (herders) entered, they destroyed farms. This was on February 10, 2021. As soon as they (herdsmen) entered, they went into people’s farm, harvested their plantains for their cows and uprooted cassava on their farms. Those are farms around me.
“These are old men, people in their 60s, 70s and the herdsmen destroyed on a massive scale. They ate the crops, marched their cows to the two main rivers in the village, very clear and clean water that the villagers drink, the herders destroyed the water completely; their cows defecated and polluted the water.”
She went further to say that the villagers had a consultation and followed the pathways of the cows and discovered that they were owned by a Fulani herder who owns over 200 acres of land in the community.
She said the villagers told the herder to provide a ranch for his cattle on his extensive land but he disagreed, preferring them to graze on people’s farmlands.
“Some villagers around us sold this Fulani man 200 acres. They know he is a cow herder yet they sold the land to him. With 200 acres, can you tell me there is nothing for those cows to eat? But they have to come outside to destroy people’s farms, of course, it was just sheer wickedness,” she said.
The US returnee said the Nigeria Police and the Amotekun were aware of the activities of these criminal herders but seemed helpless, making the herders to become more wicked in their murderous activities which had resulted in the death of scores of farmers in the agrarian village.