Olayinka Olukoya – Abeokuta
Traditional rulers in Ketu communities in Yewa North Local Government have written petition to the authorities of the Nigerian Army, over alleged connivance of some officers with herders to harass their subjects.
The traditional rulers in a petition dated January 7, 2021, alleged that herders invaded Iselu; Ibeku; Agbon-Ojodu and Asa communities with soldiers and molested their people, on December 19, 2020.
The traditional rulers were the Oniggua of Iggualand, Oba Micheal Dosumu; the Eselu of Iseluland, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi and the Alademeso of Igan Alade, Oba Gabriel Olalowo.
The traditional rulers in the petition alleged that about10 soldiers suspected to be from 35 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Alamala, accompanied the herders to the affected villages.
In the letter, the traditional rulers said that the herders and the soldiers stormed Ibeku village in a vehicle belonging to the Army and proceeded to the residence of the village head.
“The Baale was asked to gather his subjects and people from nearby villages which he did. The suspected soldiers told the people that the purpose of their visit was to inform them that the Fulani herders would be coming into their communities to graze cows. Thus, the soldiers would ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.
“After their address, they asked if anyone had a question or comment to make in reaction to the information. Expectedly, One Mr Seye Mulero responded by calling the attention of the soldiers to the inherent challenges of allowing the herders in their Communities based on the sad previous experiences in the community.
“That the said Seye Mulero further cited past killings, maiming and destruction of farms to buttress his point. Sadly, at this point, the soldiers seized him and mercilessly beat him up.
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“In the same manner, the Fulani herders in the company of the suspected Soldiers left Ibeku for Asa, the adjoining village to address the Baale of Asa and his subjects as they had earlier done at Ibeku. Shockingly to the soldiers after their address, the people refused to respond, having heard what transpired at Ibeku.
“However, one of the Fulani herders sighted some of the people in the audience and picked on them as those that purportedly shouted on them at Ibeku while brutalising their victim (Seye Mulero). The herders asked the soldiers to also deal with them.
“On hearing this, the people took to their heels. However, one Gabriel Mulero was not so lucky enough as the soldiers grabbed him and ruthlessly assaulted him. He was whisked away in their pick-up vehicle to Agbon-Ojodu, another adjoining village where they compelled the Baale to assemble his subjects for a forceful briefing.
“It was at Agbon Ojodu that the said Gabriel Mulero was dropped off from the Army pick-up following pleadings by some community leaders,” the petition read.
They asked the military authority to identify, investigate and prosecute the suspected soldiers for the alleged connivance and involvement in the attacks on the villagers by the Fulani herdsmen.
The traditional rulers informed that the Police were aware of the accusation against the soldiers.
The traditional rulers further said the State Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun had on January 3, brokered a meeting over the matter at the Police Divisional Headquarters, Eggua.