Fulani leaders seek forgiveness after Igangan residents present pictorial evidence of atrocities
Fulani leaders in Igangan and Ibarapaland, in general, have asked residents of the community and region fior forgiveness for the atrocities of the marauding herdsmen.
The leaders, the Seriki Fulani of Igbo Ora, Alhaji Idris Abubakar, and the Seriki Fulani of Eruwa, Alhaji Sule Mohammed, promised to prevail on their people to stop any act inimical to peaceful coexistence in Ibarapaland.
They said this on Sunday during a meeting with the Commissioner of Police in the State, Ngozi Onadeko, traditional rulers in Ibarapaland and representatives of the state government who visited Igangan community.
Abubakar and Mohammed tendered unreserved apology on behalf of their people following loads of pictorial evidence presented by the residents of Igangan to back up their claim that Fulani herdsmen are responsible for the spate of kidnappings and killings in their community.
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.
Oba Adeoye confirmed to newsmen 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.”
He also said that the community had been forced to pay about N50 million in ransoms for different cases of kidnapping, while also accusing Fulani herders of regularly vandalising farms and raping women of the community.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Taiwo Adisa said the community leaders disclosed to him that 15 women were raped by the herders in the town.
Residents with photographs of those who were killed and those who suffered attacks in the hands of criminal herdsmen also brought them to the meeting.
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.
The Commissioner of Police, who led senior officers, including Deputy Commissioners, and Mobile Police Commanders on a tour of Igangan, Tede and Ago Are communities, urged the residents to toe the path of peace.
She promised the residents of Igangan and Ibarapaland that the police would carry out a thorough investigation to ensure justice for victims of kidnappings, rape and other crimes committed in the areas.
Speaking after the meeting 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.
“I want to appeal to the youth. We have listened and they have 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.
“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.”
The Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Security, Commissioner of Police Fatai Owoseni (retd.), who led the government’s delegation, urged community leaders, youths and Hausa-Fulani residents to eschew violence and live in peace.
Stating that nobody should take the law into his own hands, Owoseni stressed the need for the people to be vigilant in order to identify criminal elements among them for prosecution.
He debunked insinuations that the Makinde-led government had abandoned the people to their fate, adding that at least, 51 suspected kidnappers, rapists and bandits from the Ibarapa and Oke Ogun axes were in police net.
Owoseni, who said, “If you see something, say something,” added that government would ensure that in the communities.