By Ismaila Akanji, Ibadan
A Fulani socio-cultural group in the South-West, the Jamu Nati Fulbe Association of Nigeria, has sent a petition to Oyo State Governor, Sen Abiola Ajimobi urging him to come to the aid of its members in Ibarapa area of the state.
In the petition, they are urging the governor to put a halt to the wave of alleged killings of their herds of cattle by unknown people.
In the petition jointly signed by Alhaji Saliu Kadir and Mallam Abubakar Banni, the Association’s National Chairman and Oyo State Chairman respectively, the group expressed concern that no fewer than 500 cows had been lost to strange attacks by some unknown people in the last three weeks.
The petitioners lamented that the attacks were being perpetrated mostly in Ibarapa Central and North Local Government Areas of Oyo South Senatorial district of the state.
Copies of the petition were presented to the state Commissioner of Police, the Director of State Security Service (SSS) in the State as well as the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Monday alleged that some unknown individuals poisoned the water reservoir where their cattle usually drink from.
”Your Excellency, farmers are of the habits of using poisonous substances in our grazing land which have caused the death of millions cows since last year against the counter claim by the farmers that it is chemical treatment of farm produce waste. But it is just a deliberate attempt by the farmers to provoke Fulanis so that crisis will erupt and as a result drive us out of Ibarapa zone.
“Also, hunters are in the habit of shooting our people at will and burning our herds. This case happened after Sapoto area of Igangan.
“Your Excellency sir, a certain farmer in this area was quoted as calling Fulanis mere bush meat during a peace meeting held at the local government secretariat in the presence of security operatives and other dignitaries.
“Your Excellency, the farmers are economical with the truth. There is no place or time where they arrest cattle rearers who they claim had destroyed their farms and Fulani refused to pay them. But since last year when they started poisoning our cattle, no farmer has ever paid for killing our cattle.
“The most dangerous part of it is that they have started poisoning herdsmen food (Garri). A case study at Akujo village in Igangan where three boys were poisoned on the 4th January, 2016. These entire claims should be verified and confirmed from the police as well has been reported to them as peace loving people and we don’t want to take law into our hands.
“That is why we are appealing to you sir to intervene in this matter urgently. Conclusively, we want to urge you to use your good office to find us a lasting solution to this menace.”