Ayodele Oni, Ado Ekiti
Few days after Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state had a meeting with leaders of herdsmen in the state on how to curb incessant attacks on farmers, two persons were reported killed in Iyemero raising more questions of the capacity of the police to contain killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
Thus following the attack, the Ekiti state police command has received a haul of condemnation for not doing its job to protect the life of the citizenry and dishing out false information.
The Iyemero community and the police had differed over Monday attack even as watchers of events in the state insist that suspected herds men have terrorized the northern axis of Ekiti state to no end.
The community also disagreed with the police on the number of casualties recorded in the latest incident, barely few days after Governor Fayemi met with the leadership of herdsmen operating in the state.
While the Olu of Iyemero, Oba Ebenezer Ogungbemi insists that two persons were killed in the attack allegedly carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen in a farmstead in the town, the police claimed that nobody died and that it was a robbery incident.
The traditional ruler dismissed the claim by the Commissioner of Police, Asuquo Amba, that preliminary report indicated that nobody died during the attack.
Some suspected Fulani herders on Monday invaded a farmstead called Eda in Iyemero in Ikole local government and shot a seven year old boy during a raid and a couple, the husband later died in the hospital.
The police, in a statement by Amba on Tuesday, dismissed the claim that two people were killed, describing it as mere hearsay.
But the monarch told the delegation sent by Governor Fayemi to commiserate with the town that two persons died, when the governor emissary visited the traditional ruler.
Oba Ogungbemi said the victims confirmed to him that Fulani herders who had been having a running battle with the farmers perpetrated the dastardly act.
“They invaded the community at midnight and shot a seven year old boy and scattered his head.
They also shot a couple in the other house and the husband has died after they were rushed him to Ikole General hospital and the bullets could not be extracted from his body early enough.”
The traditional ruler said further that “They have removed the bullets from the body of the wife and she had been referred to Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti for treatment.
What we know is that, the robbers used to escape through Ikole-Itapaji-Iyemero-Eruku route to Kwara state after robbing banks in Ado Ekiti, it is a fact that we have a porous border.
My people should be on alert and we are already mobilising the local hunters to work with the security agencies to tame the perpetrators.”
Oba Ogungbemi said security should be beefed up in the town to stem the tide of herdsmen regular attacks.
He said “The correct information now is that, two people had died. People can’t go to their camp, because they are afraid.
About 60 of them have been displaced and they were here in my palace till today(Wednesday) before they left.”
Condoling with the monarch, Fayemi, represented by the Information commissioner, Muyiwa Olumilua, said government would take every necessary step to nab the killers and bring them to justice.
Governor Fayemi added that his government would pay the hospital bill of the victims in order to relieve them of the burden.
“We sympathise with you, because lives of Ekiti people are precious to us in this government.
As part of the ways to arrest this situation, the governor has begun the construction of a police post in Iyemero.
We are assuring you that something like this won’t happen again,” the governor said.
On the controversy over the number of persons killed in the attack, Fayemi stated that he “knew there was loss of lives and that was why we are to commiserate with the town.
But in spite of this provocative attack, they should remain calm and be law abiding, particularly the farmers.”