– Some residents of Magboro community in Ogun state allege that they saw herdsmen with guns in their vicinities
– One resident, Wole Akinlowo, says the herdsmen returned to the community on Thursday, January 25, after leaving on Sunday, January 21
– ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, the Ogun state police public relations officer, says he knows nothing about the incident
Residents of Magboro, in the Obafemi Owode local government area of Ogun state, have called on the Ogun state government and security agencies to curb the activities of herdsmen in the community.
A set of landlords, who spoke to The Punch on Wednesday, January 31, cried out over the presence of herdsmen in their neighbourhood at an ungodly hour. They claimed that the activities of the herdsmen posed a threat to the community’s security.
They also alleged that some of the men were with guns while grazing their cattle in residential areas. A landlord, Linus Okoye, said he had seen the herdsmen entering into the community with cattle three times in January.
Okoye noted: “I saw them at Magboro town as they grazed their cows and moved to the Abule area to MFM Prayer City, Magada and Onigbagbo areas. I was shocked when I saw them grazing their cows around 3am sometime last week. For the past 10 years that I have been living in this community, I have never seen them within this neighbourhood until now.
“We don’t want cattle in Magboro because there is no farmland here. We are living in this community with our wives and children and there are schools all around. So, what business do cattle have with humans?
“We feel uncomfortable. If they want to graze, they should go inside the bush. This is a town. We are trying as a community to repair our roads and they want to compound the problem; that will not happen. The government should stop their activities here. If we want to buy cows, we know where to get them.”
Another landlord, Wole Akinlowo, who is also a member of the Magboro community development association, described the development as strange, saying reports from residents showed that trouble might be looming.
Akinlowo stated that on Sunday, January 21, the herdsmen were grazing between 4pm and 5pm. He further said that they came back on Thursday, January 25.
He said: “Around 2am on that day, they passed through every nook and cranny of the neighbourhood, searching for where to graze. After they left around 4am, cow dung littered everywhere. What would happen if anyone mistakenly threw a stone at the cows?
“The real issue is that the neighbourhood is not for grazing. Except for few houses under construction, there are houses everywhere. There is no farmland.”
Damola Ojo, a resident, reported that he saw the herdsmen with their cattle on his way home from work.
Ojo said: “I decided to drive slowly to observe the man leading them. I saw him with a gun. He did not hide it. These Fulani herdsmen are getting emboldened and it is sad that nobody is doing anything about them.”
Usman Aliu, the chief security officer of Kara-Ibafo, decried the alleged actions of the herdsmen. Aliu stated: “I support the move to stop their night movements because it is unreasonable. These are difficult times and people are scared. If they want to feed their cows, they should go to the expressway. They should not be entering into people’s houses. I also have cattle and I take them far from residential areas.”
ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, the Ogun state police public relations officer, said the command was not aware of the incident.
He encouraged residents in the area not to hesitate in reporting security issues to the police. Oyeyemi said: “If there are herdsmen carrying guns, residents are supposed to report at the nearest police station. We have security forums and committees comprising traditional leaders and heads of the Fulani community. We are a proactive organisation and we cherish information on any security threat.
“However, people should stop raising false alarms. We once got a report that herdsmen razed a farm in Ijebu Ode, which did not happen. If you see anything that is inimical to your safety, let the police be your first port of call.”
As of the time of filing in this report, Adedayo Adeneye, the state commissioner for Information, had yet to make any comment on the development.