Residents of Molege in Ose council area of Ondo State are still in bewilderment over the unprovoked attack on their community by Fulani herders. ADEWALE MOMOH writes on the siege and commitment of the authorities to apprehend the fleeing attackers
For residents of Molege community in Ose Council Area of Ondo State January 6, 2022 will always be stuck in their minds following the terror unleashed on them by Fulani herdsmen. The residents of the agrarian community had retired to their homes after a tedious and long dayontheirfarmswhentheirvillagewas invaded by the rampaging herders.
The herdsmen killed no fewer than three personsduringtheattackwithhouseswithin the community razed during the dastardly attack. According to thevillagers, the herders mobilized to the community in the evening after previous encounter with the herders when they were prevented from grazing their cattle on farmlands in the community.
It was gathered that operatives of the Ondo State Network Agency (aka Amotekun Corps), whomobilisedtothecommunitywere shot at by the herders which made them to retreat. Accordingtothevillagers, theFulaniherders were about 50 in number and were fully armed to the teeth, adding that after killing the three persons, they came back 30 minutes after to set the entire village ablaze. Narratinghowtheincidenthappened, the Akarigbo of Ute Land, Chief Felix Olabode, said: “I was home when we heard that some gunmen came and killed people here. We came here immediately and we met a dead body. “These buildings have not been razed. When we alerted the Police, the DPO came and we didn’t know that those people were still around.” Not less than 30 minutes after the Police evacuated the dead bodies, the gunmen came back and razed these buildings down.
“They always use guns to scare people away here and then brought their cows to graze on people’s farm and drink water. “When they are leaving too, they also use guns to scare people away and leave. We have seenthelevelof damagehere. Peoplehaveleft here. Wearebeggingthegovernmenttocome to our rescue.” Disclosing that following the attack, the police were alerted after which the DPO lead hismentoevacuatethedeadbodies, thetraditionalruleraddedthatthegunmencameback 30minuteslaterandrazedthebuildingsdown after police left the community Also, the Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, in the area, Folorunso Olofe disclosed that: “This has been happeningforlong.
TheyarealwayscomingwithAK 47, they were more than 50. OneAmotekunofficerwashitwithabullet during the attack. They came and killed the Baale. Police came and evacuated the dead bodies and not up to some few minutes later, they came back and razed this place.” Meanwhile, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu who visited the community to commiserate with the villagers and to assess to level of destruction assured the villagers that he will not relent until the herdsmen would be caught. During the visit, Akeredolu maintained that the herdsmen were becoming problematic, adding that the attack was unfortunate.
The governor, who commiserated with the people over the death of their loved ones, particularly the communityhead, said no government would be happy with the killings of the people. According to Akeredolu concerted efforts will be made to ensure that such attack does not reoccur in the state. He said: “I commiserate with you on the death of your loved ones. May their souls Rest In Peace. No government will be happy with this kind of development. “But you have to be prepared. These herdsmenarebecomingtooproblematic. Wearenot sleeping. You can see Police and Amotekun here. With this one they have done, we will ensure that it is their last evil act here. “Those behind this are criminals. Those supportingthemareallcriminalstoo. Anyone who commits crime will answer for it.
“The Police and Amotekun with other security agencies will set out and bring them to justice. We will treat them like criminals. “Both the Police and Amotekun have briefed me that they were being shot at. But for their boldness and courage, the criminals would have overwhelmed them. I want to assure you, don’t be scared. We are still on their track.
They have ran to Edo now. “For thehousesthatwereraised down, government will bring relieve material. We will rebuild the ones that were razed completely.” Meanwhile, operatives of Amotekun Corps in the state have launched manhunt on the herders who perpetrated the heinous act. The State Commander of the Corps, AdetunjiAdeleye, whostatedthisduring hisvisit totheaffectedcommunity, revealedthattheentire forest within the local government which borders Edo State will be combed to nabbing the herders. Adeleye, whowasaccompaniedtothecommunity by theSpecialAssistantonSecurity to the Governor Akeredolu, Alhaji Jimoh Doju-mo, said following a tip-off about the incident, his men who moved to salvage the situation at Molege were ambushed by the notorious herders who hid themselves on trees by the roadsides. According to the Amotekun boss, “It was an unfortunate situation.
We have chased them across the river into the neighbouring Edo State and we are going to maintain 24 hours vigilance around the community to ensure they don’t come back. “Normalcy has returned to the ravaged Molege community and the situation is now calm as residents who scampered for safety have started returning to their respective homes. “We mapped out the environment and we realised that the herders left some of their cows in the bush and my people are still combing the forest to see if we could make any arrest. “You know we cannot be everywhere at the same time and we encourage the people of Ute, Arimogija and Imoru communities to give us timely information through our distress numbers. “But I can assure, that all the security agencies which include the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Amotekun Corps are on ground to ensure that there is adequate security for the livesandpropertyof thepeopleinOseandthe state in general.” Adeleye, who visited the Olumoru of Imoru, a former Deputy National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oba OluwarotimiObamuwagun, urgedyouths in Ose community to be proactive in providing timely information towards nipping crimes in the bud.
Responding, themonarch, Oba Obamuwagun commended Akeredolu for the establishment of the security outfit. He said: “If there was no such, these herders would have been invading our homes uninvited. “I must commend the Amotekun Corps for their swift responses to distress calls and to crimesscenesandforlivinguptothepurposes for which it was established.” Earlier, thestate’sCommissionerof Police, Oyeyemi Oyediran, had ordered the immediate deployment of men of the Command’s Special Squads to Molege community. ThePoliceCommissioner, whowasalsoon the spot assessment to ascertain the level of damages caused in the area, directed his men to ensure the protection of lives and property in the community. While allaying the fears of the villagers, Oyediran vowed to arrest and prosecute all those involved in the evil act.
He enjoined the people to give the Police genuine information that will help reduce crime to the barest minimum in the State. Meanwhile, the state government has advised residents of the state to desist from confronting invaders and from seeking self-help. Thestategovernmentinastatementissued bytheCommissionerforInformation, Donald Ojogostatedthatanyformof attackshouldbe reported to the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and Amotekun corps among others.
Thestatementread:“Residentsinthestate, especially farmers, are enjoined to report any invasion of farmlands andunauthorisedgrazing to the Police, Nigerian Security and Civil DefenceCorps(NSCDC), SouthWestSecurity Network (Amotekun) and other security agencies. None is permitted to resort to self-help.
“This reinforced directive, which is the outcome of the State Security Council meeting is pertinent following renewed hostilities between farmers and herders resulting in casualties in some boundary towns between Ondo and Edo states. “Undoubtedly, the latest killings are barbaric and condemnable even as efforts have been deepened to apprehend the culprits through inter-state co-operation and synergy. “Government, however, believes strongly that such situations are avoidable if security agencies are always afforded the opportunity to intervene before the escalation of violence. “Residents are, therefore, urged to abide by this directive and trust in the capacity of our security agencies to enforce to the fullest, provisions of the Anti-open Grazing Law that is in operation in the State. “Henceforth, any confirmed report of selfhelp that impairs the operations of security agencies shall be viewed as unhelpful to Government’s efforts at any given instance.”