Two killed as herdsmen attack Ekiti community

Capture-15•Dep Gov flays attack as residents flee

A late night attack on Oke-Ako community in Ikole local government of Ekiti State by suspected Fulani herdsmen last Friday has left at least two persons dead.

The attack also left several other villagers injured with many of them fleeing to neighbouring Irele, Ipao, Ikole in Ekiti State and Ponyan in Kogi State.

It was gathered that the mass exodus has turned the agrarian community to a ghost town.

Many residents of Oke-Ako fled following fears that herdsmen might return.

A resident told our correspondent on phone last night: “This is a bad development. People are leaving the town in droves.

“Some are even packing their belongings because of the fear that they could stage more ferocious attack.

“We have been co-habiting peacefully with Fulani herdsmen for long. We didn’t know when things went awry. The security agencies must rise to the occasion. This is a serious threat to Ekiti.”

Deputy Governor Kolapo Olusola, who visited the town yesterday, said the state government would take all necessary steps to avoid reoccurrence.

He said: “We won’t allow strangers to destroy our lives and properties at will.

“This is a sad development that we must tackle to ensure justice and peace reign in the state.”

Olusola during a condolence visit to the Arosanyin’s family prayed God to console the family.

“It is only God that can console you; there is little a man can do.”

The attack came barely two weeks after Governor Ayo Fayose declared war on Fulani herdsmen, declaring Ekiti a “no-go area” for them.

Fayose had during his monthly media chat tagged: “Meet Your Governor” charged the people of the state to lace the rivers with “Gammalin Twenty” to poison the cattle of the Fulani herdsmen.

Indigenes of Oke Ako told our correspondent that the herdsmen invaded the community at about 8.00 pm and launched the attack on the locals many of whom were already asleep at the time.

Oke Ako, a far-flung community located on the northern fringe of the state near the boundary with Kogi State, is about one-and-half hours drive from Ado Ekiti, the state capital.

A resident, Mrs. Grace Olofin, stated that the herdsmen who were armed with guns, bows, arrows, swords and cutlasses killed their victims during the raid.

She identified one of the people slain in the attack as Lekan Arosanyin while at least four others were wounded in the attack.

While the remains of the dead had been deposited in the morgue at a private hospital in Ado Ekiti, the injured were receiving treatment at the same health facility.

Another resident, who narrowly escaped death in the attack, Adebayo Ajayi, said the locals had been having issues with the herdsmen on the destruction of their farmlands by grazing of the cattle.

Ajayi said the people had organised themselves to carry out patrols on the farms, a development which angered the herdsmen who saw the move as a means to deny their animals opportunity to graze.

He added they inherited the lands from their ancestors and won’t cede an inch to “foreigners.”

Other indigenes of the community blamed the Police in the area for failing to act swiftly when the case was reported to them during the attack.

They accused the police of asking for N12,000 to fuel their operational vehicle when contacted.

Indigenes said the attack would have been prevented had the Police responded to the distress call on time.

But the state Police Public Relations Officer, Alberto Adeyemi, denied claims policemen arrived the community late.

He also dismissed the claim that they requested for money before carrying out their constitutional function.

Adeyemi explained that the Commander of Police Safer Highway Patrol and Ikole Area Commander mobilised to the scene as soon as they received distress call.

Former factional Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dele Olugbemi, who is an Oke Ako indigene, confirmed the deaths.

Olugbemi expressed concern on the alleged excesses of the herdsmen who he said had turned themselves to terror in his hometown.

He said government would do everything possible to fish out the killers and bring them to justice.

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