SUNDAY ABORISADE, FEMI MAKINDE, KAMARUDEEN OGUNDELE, TOBI AWORINDE and PETER DADA
The Oodua Peoples Congress and the Agbekoya Farmers Association have agreed to provide adequate security in Yorubaland by protecting farmers and their farms from herdsmen attacks.
This comes after an attack on the farm of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Ondo State penultimate Sunday.
Leaders of the OPC and the Agbekoya across the South-West told SUNDAY PUNCH in separate interviews that they had begun to mobilise their members as a proactive measure against the onslaught of Fulani herdsmen.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Agbekoya Farmers Association, Chief Olatunji Bandele, said as many as 1,000 of his members had already been drafted.
Bandele said, “We have established a vigilance group and it will take off with 1,000 men any moment from now. We are training others who will join later. The vigilantes, who would be on oath, will be deployed in to all the nooks and crannies of Yorubaland.
“Ex-security personnel, who are now our members, are handling the training. Agbekoya from inception was established to fight for human rights. We fought for the rights of farmers during the time of the late Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo in the old Western Region.
“Members of our vigilance group can carry arms; we will get licences for their guns. In any case, we are not solely depending on ammunition. Our forefathers didn’t fight with sophisticated weapons. We can fight without modern arms.”
The Ondo State chapter of the OPC also vowed to stop the activities of the Fulani herdsmen who are terrorising some farmers in the state.
The state coordinator of the group, Mr. Olayemi Egbeola, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said the group was already holding series of meetings to devise means to tackle the herdsmen.
He said, “We have started mobilising our members across the state to flush out the killer herdsmen from our farmlands. We will get to all the nooks and crannies of the state.
“We are not afraid of their weapons. Let them come with whatever weapon they have. Our people should be assured that we will conquer the marauders and flush them out of the South-West.”
Also, the state coordinator of OPC in Ekiti State, Sola Ojo, said the group was ready to secure farmlands against Fulani herdsmen or any criminal gang.
Although he did not mention the strength of his men, he said there were enough hands to do the job at any time.
He said, “OPC is meant to defend the Yoruba and protect our heritage. We are cautious in what we do. We take directives from the Aare Ona Kakanfo, Gani Adams. We are equal to the task even though we don’t carry AK-47 rifles.
“We, however, need government support in terms of logistics so that we can move round the farms without much stress. We don’t need to carry AK-47 before we confront murderers. We conquered Badoo criminal gang in Ikorodu without carrying guns.”
Similarly, the coordinator of the OPC in Osun State, Adedeji Aladesawe, said the leadership of the group had asked its members to be on the alert to defend the state if the herdsmen failed to stop their incessant attacks.
Aladesawe said, “We are prepared for the herdsmen. What I will say is that we are prepared but I will not say more than that. I can tell you that it won’t be easy for them any longer in the South-West.
“We can’t fold our arms and watch the criminals continue to kill our people and destroy farmlands in Yorubaland. We won’t allow that again.”