Herdsmen refute crops’ destruction claims in Oyo communities
Fulani herdsmen in Oyo State yesterday denied claims that some of their men were responsible for destruction of crops in Ogbomoso and parts of Oke Ogun area of the state.
Speaking under the aegis of ‘Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria’, the nomads addressed reporters in Iseyin against the backdrop of protests by some students alleging that the grazing activities of Fulani herdsmen have been causing untold damage to their farmlands.
The association’s chairman, Mallam Yakubu Bello alongside the assistant secretary, Mallam Umar Garuba, clarified that none of its members engaged in any destructive activities on people’s farmlands either in Ogbomoso, Oke Ogun or any other part of the state.
Rather than engage in such activities, Bello said the herdsmen were working towards peaceful coexistence with their hosts.
“We have for long remained committed to the peace agreement signed by the stakeholders in farming and cattle rearing, including the state Police Command last year. We challenge the protesters to hand over those arrested to us for scrutiny and the police for prosecution,” he charged.
The herdsmen insisted that there was never a time any of them was found engaged in any acts of destruction as alleged by the protesting students.
“We are always cooperating with our host communities and security agencies in ensuring a peaceful co-existence despite the killing of four of our members.
“When some farmers sometimes reported destruction of their crops, a sum of N4 million was paid to them as compensation in the presence of traditional rulers and security agents. This was done in the spirit of reconciliation and harmonious living,” he added.
Bello maintained that those destroying crops and raping women were “the unscrupulous and criminal elements who are rearing cattle illegally with the intent of causing bad blood and enmity between the law-abiding Fulanis in the entire state and their host communities, particularly in Ogbomoso, Oke Ogun and Ibarapa areas of the state.”
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