Residents of Igangan in the Ibarapa North-West Local Council Development Area of Oyo State have vowed never to allow the now-ejected Seriki Fulani, Abdulkadri Saliu, to return to the community.
According to them, accepting the Seriki Fulani back in the town was tantamount to self-suicide, adding that they would rather die than to accept Saliu back in the town.
“The entire town would rather go into self-suicide than to accept Seriki back. We would rather lay down our lives than for us and our generations to come to be subjected to the evil reign of Seriki again,” the Convener, Igangan Development Advocates, Oladiran Oladokun, told The PUNCH on Friday.
Oladokun was reacting to a statement made by the Seriki Fulani that he would consider moving back to Igangan.
“If given opportunity to return to the community I would consider moving back to Igangan,” Saliu, whose family members have settled temporarily in Ilorin, Kwara State, had said on Thursday.
The PUNCH earlier reported that a popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, had asked herdsmen accused of perpetrating sundry crimes in Ibarapaland to leave within seven days.
At the expiration of the ultimatum, Igangan residents, emboldened by Igboho’s presence had ejected the Seriki Fulani and his herders out of the rustic town.
Speaking with our correspondent on Friday, Oladokun said the residents of the town have been exhaling breathe of fresh air and relief since the eviction of Saliu and his men.
He said farmers now have renewed hope of returning to their farms to continue agricultural activities without fear of being raped, kidnapped and killed.
The IDA leader said the people of the community would not want any order that would truncate the momentary peace and tranquility that they have started enjoying.
“Our people will not allow that reign, that enslavement to come back now that they have tasted freedom a little.
“We are now relieved. People can’t go to farm for so many months but people are now thinking of going back to their farms and they are now having hope of a better life and you want to take that hope from them? Our people won’t allow that,” the youth leader told The PUNCH.
Continuing, Oladokun said, “In the media, people perceive what happened in Igangan as an exaggeration. But for about 20 years, Igangan lived under the oppressive blood carnage championed by the Seriki himself. How do I know? Why is it that on every occasion, no Fulani has been prosecuted?”
“If the Seriki is really who he claims to be and he cares so much about the town, why did he not bring out at least one culprit and say, ‘Igangan people, this one that you claimed killed a farmer last week, this is him, we got him for you. We don’t want criminals amongst us, we don’t people to tarnish our image.’ Why hasn’t the Seriki done that over the years?
“Seriki claimed he had no control over Igangan but it is a lie; he held control over the town and the killings, he held sway over Igangan, even the Asigangan of Igangan land and the chiefs were helpless and they bowed to him. That is why they (herders) committed a crime, they would go to him (Seriki) and he would ask them to relax even if they killed or raped a woman in the farm. He would tell them it was the Ja’mah (congregation) that did it,” he alleged.
The IDA leader further urged the Presidency and the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, to launch a comprehensive investigation into the allegations levelled against the Seriki Fulani to uncover and ascertain the truth of the matter and bring the culprits to book.