The residents of Ijagba, Imoru and Arimogija in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State have raised the alarm over the incessant attacks on the communities by suspected killer-herdsmen.
In a ‘Save our Souls’ message to the state government, the residents who are mostly farmers claimed that the killer-herdsmen had been terrorising the communities for over two weeks, killing and destroying properties worth millions of naira.
It was gathered that the herdsmen had allegedly been destroying farmlands and crops which included yam, maize and cassava in the affected communities and if the farmers resisted them, they would attack them.
A source in one of the communities on Wednesday stated that the herdsmen who always kidnapped the residents of the community for ransom had warned them not to go near their farms and local plantation.
Consequently, according to the source, many residents had abandoned their homes and relocated from the affected communities to the neighboring towns and villages for fear of further attack.
The source said, “They recently entered into a house and kidnapped a young girl just hours after they released a man from their captive after collecting ransom which was negotiated from N10 million to N1 million.
“For fear of the attacks, some of the residents of the communities have left the area. We want government and the police to save us in this area.”
In a reaction, the monarch of Imoru town, Oba Rotimi Obamuwagun, confirmed the incessant invasion of the criminal herdsmen, whom he said always entered into the communities through a forest reserve between Ondo and Edo State.
He however commended the state government for its proactiveness in repelling the bandits and protecting the people.
“It is true, the criminals are into our communities ferociously. If not for the state government intervening in the matter, the criminals would have sacked all the communities here and sent everyone away from their homes. But we thank the government for intervening.”
Also reacting, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Security matter, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, said those attacking the communities and villages were not from Ondo State but from neighbouring state of Edo, but the government was already taking action on them.
He explained that the criminals usually entered the state through footpath into the communities and villages, and leave through the same path to their state after committing the crime.
Dojumo stated, “They (killer-herdsmen) have been creating problems for us but our territory is secured with the presence of Amotekun men, but I can assure you that the activities of these criminals will soon be checked.
“But we are not relenting in our efforts to flush out criminal elements from the state to ensure security of lives and property of our people.”
When contacted, the police spokesperson in the state, Funmilayo Odunlami, said the command had not been briefed about the incident, saying the men of the force would be mobilised to the communities to ascertain the true nature of happenings.