- Pledge Peaceful Co-existence
By Abiola Olawale
Fulani leaders in Oyo State have appealed for forgiveness over recent attacks allegedly linked to their kinsmen in Ibarapa, promising to live in peace with their host communities.
The peace appeal was made by the Seriki Fulani of Igbo Ora, Alhaji Idris Abubakar, and the Seriki Fulani of Eruwa, Alhaji Sule Mohammed, on Sunday during a peace parley conducted by the Oyo State government delegation and the police.
In the quest to calm the tension in Ibarapa area of Oyo State, major stakeholders which include, the Commissioner of Police Ngozi Onadeko, Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde, Fatai Owoseni, the Asigangan of Igangan, Oba Abdulazeez Adeoye and members of the Fulani community rallied for peace at the meeting.
At the meeting, community leaders, youths and Fulani residents were urged to eschew violence and live in peace.
Tension had reached its peak, Friday, when an O’odua activist, Sunday Adeyemo, otherwise known as Sunday Igboho, alongside his followers, stormed the Fulani settlements in Igangan to follow through on an earlier ultimatum he gave herders to vacate the community.
Locals had alleged that herdsmen in the area are perpetrating crimes ranging from kidnappings, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands with their cattle.
At the peace meeting, the Punch reported that residents of Igangan in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State recounted their ordeals in the hands of herdsmen.
Members of the community were reported to have also presented to the delegation, pictures and other evidence of ransoms paid to the herdsmen. They reportedly accused the Seriki Fulani in the area, Salihu Abdukadir of complicity in the negotiation of ransoms from victims.
Also, victims of kidnapping who had paid ransoms to the bandits in the past to regain freedom presented pictorial evidence to back up their claims, according to the Punch report.
The Commissioner of Police, who led senior police officers, including Deputy Commissioners of Police and Mobile Police Commanders on a tour of Igangan, Tede and Ago Are communities, urged the residents to toe the path of peace.
She expressed the police’s readiness to carry out a thorough investigation to ensure justice for victims of kidnappings, rape and other crimes committed in the areas.
In her words, “We have come to assess and listen to you over the incident that happened. I want to appeal to everyone of us to be calm and ensure there is peace. If there is no peace in the community, there won’t be growth and development. I want to appeal to the youth. We have listened and they interpreted all your complaints and I want to say you should not spoil your case by using force. We are a new team. Bring out all the cases you have, put them in an orderly manner and we will make sure that justice is done. So, I want to enjoin all of you to be peaceful and live with one another in a peaceful manner. If we live in peace in this community, we should be able to identify kidnappers, robbers, and rapists. It does not matter where you come from, whether you are from Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa. Actually, we have the good and bad ones. Criminality is not only ascribed to a particular ethnic group, it cuts across all the ethnic groups. I want to assure you that all the cases you brought up, thorough investigation will be done on them and you will see that justice will be delivered. We will having more of this interactive session and consultative gathering so that we will be able to sit down, talk and iron things out without resorting to violence, which does not pay.”
She disclosed that no fewer than 51 suspects had been arrested by the police over different criminal cases including kidnapping and rape in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State.