Again, suspected Fulani herdsmen yesterday invaded and set ablaze the farm of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae.
This came barely a week after herdsmen invaded, destroyed and set on fire the farm of a serving judge of Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Michael Owoyemi.
Before yesterday’s incident, Falae and herdsmen have been having a running battle over the destruction of farms belonging to the former SGF at Ilado community in Akure North Local Government area of Ondo State.
This development made the governor to promise to defend the right of people in the state to engage in farming, saying security forces had been mobilised to nip the crisis in the bud. Falae had earlier been kidnapped in his farm and spent days in the captivity of his abductors. The culprits are serving life imprisonment having been found guilty of the crime.
The Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the former SGF, Captain Moshood Raji, who confirmed the incident, said he (Raji) was called by a policeman guiding the farm. Raji said the incident occurred about 4p.m. According to him, the razed farm was an oil palm plantation but which also had cassava and yam.
It was learnt that the herdsmen set the farm ablaze to allow new weeds to grow so as to feed their cows. Raji, a retired Army captain, said he and some other people were on the way to assess the damage done to the farm.
The CSO, however, said that nobody was attacked on the farm as workers were not on the farm being a Sunday. When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Joseph, said he was not aware of the incident.
Joseph promised to get in touch with the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area for briefing. Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who hosted the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, earlier in the month, decried the activities of the herdsmen and promised to deal with the situation.
He said: “Our state has had her share of the crisis but not on the horrendous scale whose odious effect continues to reverberate throughout the country. “Our administration is taking proactive steps to ensure that this obnoxious phenomenon is nipped in the bud.
While we encourage all those with legitimate intentions to visit our space, we intend to clear the doubt of anyone who may wish to perpetrate crime under nebulous guises. “We will not tolerate any act of brigandage.
We will defend the right of our people to engage in farming without let or hindrance of any sort. We will sanction with impassioned severity any acts which seek to tilt the balance of harmonious coexistence in the state towards anarchy.
The full weight of the law will be brought to bear on criminal elements. “Security forces have been fully mobilised to prevent the nefarious activities of nation wreckers in our state. We will protect our citizens with such fervour as expected of true representatives.
We, therefore, enjoin our people to go about their normal businesses and report, promptly, any suspicious movement of undesirable elements in their communities. All of us owe our country a duty to ensure peace while not ignoring issues of justice and equity.