Residents of Imoru, Arimogija and Molege communities in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State have called on the state and federal governments to save them from the incessant attacks of suspected killer-herdsmen.
The residents said no fewer than eight members of the communities had been killed in the last two weeks while about 40 hectares of farmland had been destroyed by the assailants. According to them, the victims were mostly farmers and traders.
Speaking about the incident, a community leader, Owolafe Folorunsho, said the recent attack occurred when the farmers repelled the herdsmen from destroying their crops by the herdsmen.
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He stated, “The herders have continued to invade our farmlands at night, harvest our crops to feed their cows and on many occasions, they will come during the day, force us to uproot the cassava by ourselves at gunpoint, command us to cut them into pieces to feed their cows.
“In order not to take laws into our hands, we reported this act of economic sabotage to the appropriate authority who took prompt action to chase them out of the farming areas only for them to come back and attacked us with AK-47, pump action, axes and cutlasses and killed our people at night.”
He added that the gunmen recently laid ambush along the Akure-Benin Expressway and attacked some traders coming from Akure, killing all the occupants, taking their money and setting the car ablaze.
The Chairman of the Ose Local Government, Prince Adekunle Dennis, who visited the affected communities, expressed worries over the sad development, saying something would be done urgently to checkmate the excesses of the suspected killer-herdsmen. He also expressed concern to the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, over the security situation in the local government.
“The council is meeting with the relevant authorities and stakeholders with the aim of redesigning the security architecture of all the flashpoints in the area in order to nip the security challenges in the bud,” the chairman said.
While calling on the community leaders and youth organisations in the area to be more security conscious, the council boss charged them to improve on intelligence and information gathering that would enable them to give correct and useful information to the security agencies as the government could not do it all alone.
Dennis also commended the security agencies especially the Army, the police, the Department of State Services and the Amotekun Corps for a job well done, saying their timely intervention and prompt actions prevented the terrorists from wiping the people of Arimogija from the surface of the earth.
Confirming the incident, the monarch of the Imoru community, Oba Rotimi Obamuwagun, lamented the atrocities being committed by the suspected killer-herdsmen in the area.
He lamented that they destroyed four hectares of cassava farm belonging to one of his subjects who borrowed money at a high-interest rate from a commercial bank to finance the farm.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer of the state, Mrs Funmilayo Odunlami, said the command had deployed its men in the area.
“We learnt that there were sporadic gunshots in the area and we have sent our men there,” the PPRO stated.