Residents of Orin Ekiti, in Ido/Osi local government area of Ekiti State, have called on the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi to save the community from rampaging herdsmen who they accused of attempting to forcefully take over the community’s farm settlement and have even hosted a flag there twice.
The people of Orin, comprising old and young men and women, stormed Ado-Ekiti, the state capital and alleged that the suspected herdsmen had destroyed crops worth over N50 million in farms belonging to 70 farmers.
The protesters, who chanted derisive songs against the Invaders, paraded placards with the following inscriptions: “Save Our Lives We are in danger in Orin Ekiti’ , ‘Save Orin Ekiti from Herdsmen invasion’, ‘We are Tired of molestation by Herdsmen’, ‘We Won’t Allow Fulani to Chase us from Our Land’, ‘Government Must Relocate Fulani Herdsmen’, among others.
While addressing newsmen on behalf of the protesting community, the Onikare of Orin Ekiti, Chief Bamidele Fasuyi, alleged that the herders, had occupied and destroyed crops planted on the abandoned 2500 acres of land at Orin Farm settlement .
“What they wanted is to invade our land and chase us away. They even killed one of our able-bodied men this year. They are imposing some curfew in this town because our youths can’t go to farm freely and the government has not been doing something. Several hectares of land had been destroyed. They used to operate at night with AK 47 rifle.
“By our record, over 70 farmers were affected. Crops worth N50 million have been ravaged. They ate up our products like Cocoyam, yam, cassava and others and made us to incur debts.
A youth leader, Omotoso Mathew Kayode, alleged that the suspected herders had hoisted a flag at the farm settlement, where they warned the farmers to keep off or face death.
“They wrote keep off with a picture of a cattle rearer on the flag. This is a serious threat. The police, NSCDC and soldiers removed the flag last year, but they had hoisted another one.
“We used to do nightguard to ward off attacks because the police had found it difficult to arrest them. Our graduates who have no jobs were going into farming, but they are suffering losses because of destruction by cows.
Omotoso appealed to Fayemi to compensate the farmers, for them not to abandon farming outrightly. The Oniwaro of Orin, Chief Mathew Oke, urged Gov. Fayemi fulfil his promise to build a police station in the town and rejuvenate the farm settlement to ward off herdsmen invasion in the area.