Residents of Igangan in the Ibarapa area of Oyo State on Sunday recounted their ordeals in the hands of Fulani herdsmen.
The community leaders, who spoke during a visit of the state government delegation to the town, stated that they had paid a total of N50m as ransoms for kidnappings carried out by herdsmen in the community.
The community also presented to the delegation, pictures and other evidence of ransoms paid to the herdsmen.
They accused the Seriki Fulani of complicity in the negotiation of ransoms.
The delegation comprising officials of the state and the new Commissioner of Police in the state Command, Mrs Ngozi Onadeko, on Sunday, visited Ibarapa where violence erupted on Friday over kidnappings and killings by herdsmen.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to state Governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, Igangan community leaders on Sunday stated that besides the payment of N50m as ransoms, 15 women were raped by the herders in the town.
But Fulani leaders, who attended the meeting, begged for forgiveness, saying the Fulani were ready for peaceful co-existence with their hosts.
The Secretary of Igangan Development Advocates, Lawal Akeem, said the people were tired of the antics of the Seriki Fulani of Igangan, whom he accused of complicity in different kidnap cases.
Two Fulani leaders, the Seriki Fulani of Igbo Ora, Alhaji Idris Abubakar, and the Seriki Fulani of Eruwa, Alhaji Sule Mohammed, solicited for forgiveness, assuring the forum that they would facilitate peaceful coexistence in Ibarapaland.
Also during the meeting, those who paid ransoms to the bandits presented pictoral evidence to back up their claims.
The traditional ruler of Igangan, the Asigangan of Igangan, Oba Abdulazeez Adeoye, whose cousin was kidnapped tendered the evidence of the ransom he paid to secure his release.
Residents also stormed the venue of the meeting with photographs of those who were killed and those who suffered attacks in the hands of criminal herdsmen.
Oba Adeoye confirmed to one of our correspondents that victims and their families came to the meeting with photographs to back up their claims.
He said, “Our people brought photos. I also showed the evidence of ransom paid for one of my children.”
Fulani still in Igangan unmolested despite Seriki’s absence
The PUNCH gathered that despite that Seriki Fulani in Igangan had fled, there were still some Fulani living in the midst of the people in the town unmolested.
The Convener Igangan Development Advocates, Mr Oladiran Oladokun, confirmed this to one of our correspondents.
Some youths were also bearing placards, with inscriptions, which condemned the atrocities perpetrated by herdsmen in the community.
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 readiness of the police to carry out a thorough investigation to ensure justice for victims of kidnappings, rape and other crimes committed in the areas.
While addressing traditional rulers, government officials and Fulani leaders in Igangan, Onadeko said, “We have come to assess and listen to you over the incident. 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.