No fewer than six farmers, traders and passengers were gruesomely murdered in the last two weeks at Arimogija and Molege axis of Ose local government area of Ondo state by suspected armed herdsmen (terrorists).
Narrating the ordeal, a community leader, Mr. Owolafe Folorunsho, said the February 2 attack was triggered by effort by farmers to repel the continued wanton destruction of their crops by the herders.
He said: “The herders have continued to invade our farmlands at night, harvest our crops to feed their cows and in 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 the Fulani herdsmen to come back and attacked us with AK-47, Pump Action, Axes & Cutlasses and killed our people at night.”
According to him, the terrorists, in a broad day light, attacked some traders coming from Akure and killed all the occupants before taking their money and setting the car ablaze.
Confirming the incidence, the Onimoru of Imoru, Oba Rotimi Obamuwagun, lamented the atrocities of the herders in the area.
Expressing his disgust about the criminal activities of the herders in his domain, the first class monarch narrated how they completely destroyed four hectares of cassava farm belonging to one of his subjects who borrowed money with high interest rate from a commercial bank to finance the farm.
This was corroborated by the Odibiado of Ijagba, Oba Andrew Ikioya Ilevare, who added that the terrorists had now resorted to harvesting plantains and bringing them to market to sell.
The royal fathers who queried the decision of the herders to go about with AK-47 rifles to terrorise innocent people, praised Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) for the establishment of the South-west Security Network popIularly known as Amotekun to checkmate the excesses of the herders, especially in the area.
Visiting the troubled villages to commiserate with the victims’ families, the executive chairman of the local government, Prince Adekunle Dennis, expressed the governor’s worries over the security situation in Ose, saying, something will be done urgently to checkmate the excesses of the herdsmen.
He said the council was meeting with the relevant authorities and stakeholders with the aim of redesigning the security architecture of all the flashpoints to nip the security challenges in the bud.
While calling on the community leaders and youth organisations to be more security conscious, the council boss charged them to improve on intelligence gathering that would enable them give correct and useful information to the security agencies as government cannot do it all alone.
He equally advised them to thoroughly profile and search themselves with a view to fishing out informants who may be living among them.
While commending the security agencies, especially the Army, the Police, DSS and Amotekun Corps for a job well done, the chairman said their timely intervention and prompt actions prevented the terrorists from wiping the people of Arimogija from the surface of the earth.
He urged them to intensify efforts and recover the four camps in Molege, Ugboruwen, Elerinta & Adedigba from the terrorists.
While many houses, cars and motorcycles were burnt during the attack, the families of the affected victims also killed some cows as kind of reprisal.
Food supplier, informant arrested in Niger
And from Niger state, Blueprint gathered that the police arrested one Ibrahim Ali accused of serving as informant and food supplier to terrorists in the state.
Police Public Relations Officer of the Niger state Police Command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun stated this at the weekend in a statement issued in Minna.
He explained that the arrest of the suspect followed the confessions of two kidnappers earlier arrested in Lambata area of the state on 27th January2023.
“On 01/02/2023 at about 0530hrs, Police operatives attached to Gawu-Babangida Div arrested one Ibrahim Ali, a.k.a Bajala aged 25yrs of Gwalo village via Paikoro LGA. The suspect was arrested in his hideout at Gwalo village for being a suspected informant and food supplier to the arrested suspected kidnappers,” Abiodun said.
The suspect, according to the police, confessed that he usually monitors targets for kidnappers, and also assists the hoodlums to purchase foodstuffs such as rice, beans, millet and even alcohol of any kind, with cigarettes.
“He was arrested with some quantity of raw rice and beans, which he said he wanted to take to the kidnappers’ hideout in Gwalo forest before their arrest,” the police said.
Meanwhile, the PPRO said the police have also arrested a suspected ritualist found in possession of human skull in Babana area of Borgu local government of the state.
He said: “On 24/01/2023 at about 1400hrs based on a tip-off, Police operatives attached to New-Bussa Div arrested one Abdulrahman Woru, aged 38yrs of Gbesewona village of Benin Republic, but resides in Babana area of Borgu LGA.”
Abiodun explained that the suspect was arrested at Babana for being suspected to be in possession of a human skull, adding that when a search was conducted on his house, a human skull, 3 pieces of suspected human ribs, two idols and cash in the sum of 5000 CFA of Benin Republic currency were recovered.
The PPRO said the suspect, during interrogation, confessed that the human skull recovered belonged to him, claiming that he recently traveled to Benin Republic and while on his way back, before entering Nigeria, he saw a bag on the road, picked and checked, and discovered the skull.
“He said he tied it on his motorcycle and took it home, because he believed it will be useful for his work, and he did not report to the Police,” the PPRO said.
According to the police, the suspect also claimed that he migrated from Benin Rep to Nigeria about four years ago for his business, without any immigration document, and that he is a traditional medicine practitioner.