By Segun Elijah
Following the arrest of the dreaded Fulani herdsman Isikilu Wakili and three of his men at Kajola, Ayete, on Sunday morning, the Oyo police command has given its reason for detaining the suspects and three members of the OPC that invaded the herders’ enclave.
The command’s PRO Fadeyi Olugbenga stated in a press release Sunday evening that it moved in when it first learnt of the Ayete confrontation on Sunday, and confirmed the OPC actually invaded the Kajola area of the town to arrest Wakili.
“While the OPC was there, the house of the Wakili in question was set ablaze while a female, the identity is yet to be ascertained, was burnt in the fire, and Wakili, 75 and blind, with two other persons, was picked up,” the statement read in part.
On receiving them, the command said it immediately directed Wakili be examined medically first, while his men were interrogated.
The OPC members who brought them were detained, too.
Their leader Adedeji Oluwole had claimed earlier their mission succeeded without bloodshed despite one of Wakili’s men shooting at them, and the Fulani leader himself was handed over unhurt, as revealed in a video Oluwole made while interviewing the Fulani herdsmen.
The interview was not conducted on the scene–the residence of Wakili–where the police said there were arson and murder.
Oluwole and his team didn’t recover guns or any weapon from the suspects and their storied shooting and killing. Ayete has been reported to have witnessed series of Fulani herders-farmers crises and all sorts of banditry for years.
It appears the stories might be difficult to ascertain now as the OPC mission yielded nothing incriminating against Wakili and his men—at least for now.
“Anybody that has any case against Wakili should report it to the state Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku, Ibadan,” CSP Olugbenga said.
The Fulani herders’ violence in Ibarapaland has been stewing for a while, and the National Daily investigation revealed nether the government nor the ethnic groups involved has fully calibrated the temperature of the crisis.
While the government and its security agencies believe it is all exaggerated, the people of Ibarapaland are claiming they have been pushed to the wall, and will resort to self help.
The first instance of this was the eviction of Abdulkadri Salihu, the serikin Fulani of Oyo, from Igangan, near Ayete, on January 26, by Yoruba activist Sunday Adeyemo aka Igboho and the Igangan youth.
Salihu had similar alleged notoriety as Wakili’s.