Suspected herdsmen invade Kwara-Oyo road
SUSPECTED herdsmen have reportedly invaded Ilorin-Igbeti highway since Sunday, thus paralysing socioeconomic activities in boundary communities located between Kwara and Oyo states.
It was gathered that several travellers had fallen victims of the hoodlums who reportedly kidnapped and collected huge ransom from their victims in the recent past.
A businessman in Igbeti, Oyo state, was said to have paid the sum of N70 million to the hoodlums, who residents said had suddenly surfaced along the route.
It was also gathered that newspaper distribution from Ilorin, Kwara state, to communities such as Igboho, Kishi, Igbeti, Igbope, Iya, Yoyin, all in Oyo state, have been affected as commercial vehicles have abandoned the road.
The development had also discouraged several motorists, traders and farmers from travelling on the road.
According to a newspaper distribution agent in one of the affected areas, the news of the invasion first emerged last week Wednesday, lamented that he had been forced to use only motorcycle to move his supply from Ilorin since last week.
He also said that three vehicles were waylaid and passengers held hostage by the armed men, adding that female victims were released after being dispossessed while a ransom of N5 million was placed on each male captive.
“In the recent past, there had been pockets of armed robbery and kidnapping within Olorunsogo, Irepo and Orelope local councils but this one is on large scale”, he said, asking for military and police presence on the route to checkmate the hoodlums.
Also, another source from Igbeti said that the route was deserted by motorists due to a security cordon on the area by a combined team of local vigilance operatives and policemen, adding that the effort had already led to the arrest of about 30 of the armed men.
“We just began to notice foreign invasion of strange faces on the route. They camped along the Igbeti Kishi Forest Reserve Road. Some days they would come out and began to shoot into the air without touching anybody and run back into the forest. But on some other days they will stop vehicles and dispossess the passengers; they have collected a ransom of N70 million from one businessman and N2 million from another victim,” he said.
The affected communities were said to have held a stakeholders meeting on Sunday. The meeting was attended by political leaders and traditional rulers where it was resolved that tough security measures must be put in place to checkmate the armed men.
So last week stakeholders held a meeting and that was where it was resolved that we should take serious measures to put a stop to the menace and one of such measures is that there must be no vehicular movement on that route for now so that we can trap the hoodlums. And we have been succeeding because as at now we have nabbed about 30 of them, some with a huge amount of money and charms.
It was gathered that the affected communities assembled a combined team of vigilance men from the north to tackle the menace. However, when contacted the spokesman for the Kwara state police command, Ajayi Okasanmi, said the command was yet to be informed of the development.
Meanwhile, as part of efforts at addressing the menace of incessant herdsmen attack in the country, the Federal Government has been urged to as a matter of urgency commence the concrete movement and mapping of 500km cattle routes across the nation.
This is part of the resolutions of the House, following a Motion on Need to Address Incessant Clashes Between Farmers and Herdsmen in Kwara State raised by the member representing Kaiama / Kemanji / Wajibe Constituency, Hon Ahmed Ibn Mohammed.
The Deputy Speaker, Chief Mathew Okedare, who presided over the Tuesday’s Sitting, while reading the resolutions of the House, explained that the need became expedient in order to permanently find solutions to the problem threatening the corporate existence of the country.
The legislature equally enjoined the State Government to constitute Farmers Herdsmen Committee in both State and Local Government levels as provided for in the State Farmers and Herdsmen Prevention and Settlement of Dispute Law and Grazing Reserves Law in the State.
The House also called on the state government to direct the State Ministries of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Information, to collaborate with a view to sensitizing the general public especially the farmers and herdsmen on the need to maintain a harmonious relationship to forestall clashes among them.
Hon Ibn Mohammed, had while sponsoring the Motion, recalled the colossal human and material losses the state in particular and the nation had to incur due to incessant farmers and herdsmen attacks and urged government as well as other stakeholders to rise to the current security challenge in the state.
Other members who spoke on the Motion expressed displeasure over lack of political will by the executive arm of government to implement existing laws and resolutions of the House and emphasised the need for the state government to constitute a committee to prevent further farmers/herdsmen clash in the state.
The House equally at its Tuesday’s sitting, mandated its committees on Energy Works and Transport and Health, Environment and Forestry to investigate Matters of General Public Importance raised by members representing Oke – Ogun and Omupo Constituencies, Barrister Kamal Fagbemi and Hon. Mashood Bakare over undue exploitation of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company and indiscriminate felling of economic trees in the state and report its finding to the plenary in the next 2 weeks.