Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose has warned that there could be reprisal attacks following the attack by assailants suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on Friday evening.
The attackers invaded Oke Ako in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State killing two people and injuring three.
ccording to PUNCH, a resident, Grace Olofin, told reporters that the herdsmen stormed the town brandishing weapons like guns, bows, arrows, sword, machetes and hacked down the victims in the ensued melee.
Another witness, who narrowly escaped being killed, Adebayo Ajayi, described the incident as a reprisal as he said that the herdsmen had previously fallen out with the villagers over their grazing activities in the community.
According to Segun Kehinde, councillor of Ipaoa-Oke Ako-Irele ward:
Around January, the Fulani herdsmen sent a message to us that they were coming to attack us. I informed the chairman who sent a signal to the police. The police came then but the Fulani herdsmen did not show up. We thought the whole thing had ended then.
On Friday they took us by surprise and started the attack from the centre of the town where youths usually gathered. They shot sporadically and had a field day because our vigilante group were not out by them.
When asked how he knew that the criminals were Fulani herdsmen, he said:
Some people that hid in the bush saw their faces. They were also communicating in their language. Besides, they had already sent a message to us that they are coming to attack us.
Last week, six Fulani men that were overheard planning to attack us were handed over to the police, but they were released on Thursday by the police. And the attack took place on Friday. We also recovered the caps of the attackers.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose called on President Muhammadu Buhari to put an end to the situation, as “billions of naira have been destroyed in States in the South-West, South-East and North-Central zones of the country”. He said:
I will not fold my hands while armed herdsmen invade communities in Ekiti, killing people and destroying farmlands at will as they have done in other States.
I have directed the police and other security agencies in the State to fish out the killer herdsmen. I am in constant touch with the security agencies and I hope that the killer herdsmen will be fished out wherever they are and made to face the full wrath of the law.
I am sounding a note of warning to the Fulani herdsmen and those who can talk to them should also do so now. If they continue with these wanton attacks, killing of the people and destruction of farmlands in Ekiti, I cannot guarantee that there won’t be reprisal attacks.
I can also not guarantee the level that the reprisal attacks can get to because as a governor, it is my responsibility to defend and protect my people.
As patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), President Buhari has the capacity to call the herdsmen to order. President Buhari should therefore call his people to order because this is Ekiti; our people have the rights to defend themselves.
Most importantly, President Buhari must be reminded of how he was so concerned about the killing of Fulani herdsmen in Saki, Oke Ogun Area of Oyo State such that he, as a private citizen led Arewa to Ibadan on October 13, 2000, to confront the then Governor of Oyo State, late Alhaji Lam Adesina.