Farmers, Herders Count Losses After ClashIn Kogi West

***Group blames Governor for incessant clashes

A clash between farmers and Fulani herdsmen has been reported in Ogga, Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State.

A farmer in the area who identified himself as Stephen Adeola reported to National Wire on Monday that a farmer, Ariyo Aina was killed by suspected herders on his farm last week.

“There was an attack of Fulani herdsmen attacking Ogga, a Yagba community killing a young man called Ariyo Aina on his farm,” Adeola told National Wire.

Continuing, Adeola said, “This follows an attack on a man with his wife on their farm too. The man was killed and the woman’s two hands were chopped off.”

According to him, “The Police were yet to make any arrest and the development is worrisome.

“The Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yaya Bello gave seven days notice promising to dethrone the Obas and the Local Government Administrator if the killers of the Fulani men are not arrested.

“The two police stations in the area made no arrest. Soldiers were brought in from Lokoja on Saturday. They invited innocent vigilante men to a meeting in Odo Ere, the Local Government Headquarters and the list of innocent men were given to the soldiers by Seriki Fulani and arrests were made using the list.

“The vigilantes were invited to a meeting in Odo Ere and were to come with their uniforms only to get to the meeting and those from Ogga were all picked up irrespective of where they live.

“The Fulani corpses were taken to Lokoja, the state capital, leaving the corpse of the Ogga man in the mortuary in Odo Ere. About ten people were killed in the clash including Fulani and Ogga people,” he said.

There have been clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the host communities across the country in recent time. The development is said to pose a threat to food production in the near future as farmers now go to farm in fear.

Meanwhile, a Yoruba socio-cultural group, Apapo Oodua Koya (AOKOYA) has blamed the state Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello for the crisis in the state.

In a release published by abujareporters.com, the group expressed displeasure over the incident at Ogga.

Titled, “Blame Yahaya Bello for Kogi violence,” the report says, “The Governor of Kogi State, Mallam Yahaya Bello should be held responsible for the escalation of crisis in Kogi State.”

A statement released by AOKOYA last Wednesday warned that the Governor’s partisan position on the killings in Ogga, a native community in Kogi State will worsen the lingering feud.

Signed by AOKOYA’s Secretary for Strategy, Col Abimbola Sowunmi (retd) and Deputy Secretary for Publicity, Ismail Abiodun, the statement stated that, “On Wednedday morning, the Kogi Governor ordered armed police men to invade Ogga community leading to fracas and shooting of many innocent people.”

Corroborating Adeola’s report, AOKOYA narrated the gruesome murder of Ariyo on his farm.

“A Yoruba man Aina Aiyenigba Ariyo was beheaded in the most savage manner by Fulani herdsmen in Ogga. The said Fulani men had earlier invaded the farm of the late Ariyo prompting the cows to eat up crops belonging to Ariyo. When Ariyo complained, he was met with instant injustice,” the release read in part.

“One of the worst things was that community leaders went to retrieve the corpse but the Fulani men chased them with their cutlasses,” it read further.

According to AOKOYA, the state Governor has done nothing even after the incident was reported to him.

“The whole Yoruba communities in Kogi were perplexed that Mr.Yahaya Bello made no attempt to look for the killers of Mr. Ariyo. He didn’t pay any condolence visit. He felt unconcerned and even mocked the family of the late Mr Ariyo,” the release stated.

Meanwhile, AOKOYA added that, “We are surprised that Mr. Yahaya Bello suddenly realised the importance of human lives when the community retaliated by killing some Fulani herdsmen.

“What the Ogga people did was a preemptive attack. No sooner had Mr. Ariyo was beheaded than the Fulani armed men regrouped and planned to attack the entire community.

“They indeed invaded the community. Youths in the town were already aware and had made preparations for the attack.

“In the ensuing battle, some Fulani men lay dead while many Ogga people were also wounded.

“Since this incidence, Mr. Yahaya Bello has given Ogga community leaders seven days to fish out the killers or he would dethrone the traditional rulers and even remove elected officials in the affected communities. This is nothing but segregation and selective justice.

“Mr. Yahaya Bello is anxious to please the Fulani herdsmen whose lives he thinks are more important than that of the innocent people of Kogi State.

“We wish to notify Nigerians that as early as last year January, a large consignment of Fulani herdsmen had invaded the Government Reserved Forests in the Yoruba part of Kogi.

“They came with a letter written in Hausa to the extent that they were given authority to settle in these forests by a Northern Emir. Ogga, Aginmi, Ejuku and communities in Moppa complained to the governor but he did nothing.

“The armed Fulani had since settled in these communities.

“We say that the Governor must be held responsible for continuous outbreak of hostilities in the Ogga region. The Governor must be held responsible for any further death in these communities,” AOKOYA said.

Photo Caption: A lifeless farmer after the attack

Post Author: Friday Ekeoba