Some Fulani herdsmen living in southwestern Nigeria’s Oyo State have alleged that they were attacked by thugs claiming to protect the Yoruba tribe on Friday.
The attack resulted in the death of the wife of Mallam Aliyu, the Fulani Emir of Oyo State, according to him. BBC Hausa reported.
The attack comes as Ondo State’s promise to Fulani pastoralists to leave the state’s forests or be forced to do so comes to an end.
The threat appears to have begun, as some Fulani herdsmen living in Igaga, Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo State, alleged attacks on Friday evening, killing some and injuring others. burning the ruins and all their belongings.
The Oyo State government has said it has not ordered or attacked Fulani herdsmen. Yet it is struggling with the problem of criminals ravaging pastoralists in the state.
‘ Everyone is on their own in this time of panic ‘
Sources from Igaga town say Fulani herdsmen have fled their homes and found refuge in the desert.
Aliyu, the Fulani chief of Oyo State, told BBC over the phone, from a source he had hidden.
“I am now in the bush, in a stream. It was the Yoruba nationals who attacked us at around 4pm,” he said.
He described the location of the attack as, “We were attacked in Igaga, Oyo State.”
He said the attackers arrived at the scene carrying guns, and fired shots at the mother-in-law.
According to him: “Our houses have been burnt down, the king’s cars have been burnt down. The children in the room have been burned alive. Some have been cut down, some have been shot and some have been burnt.”
Aliyu, the son of the Fulani king, also said he could not determine the number of casualties: “If I said the number, I was lying.”
But he said their cattle were in the bush for grazing. That is why he said he did not know if they were affected.
He told the BBC that everyone was on their own at this time of panic and violence.
And in confusion and weeping, he said that people had been killed:
“My house was burned down, my wife and the baby she was with were killed. She was in the room when she was supported by a small child behind her.”
Because of the violence, Aliyu was unable to continue to explain his plight to the BBC, as he burst into tears, repeating, “People have been killed, everything has been killed here.”
Aliyu, the son of the Fulani Emir of Oyo State, earlier told the BBC that they had been living in Igaga for more than 50 years.
Oyo State Government Response
When contacted by the BBC, Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Dr Wasiu Olatubosun, distanced himself from the state government and the attack on Fulani herdsmen on Friday evening.
He said their government did not support any individual or people to attack Fulani herdsmen across the state.
The only problem they are talking about is that the herdsmen and herdsmen are committing crimes, such as kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery, attacks with weapons, and so on.
Therefore, the Oyo State Commissioner for Information added that while anyone threatened the Fulani, that he would expel them from the state, the state government believed the security agencies would take appropriate action, since before committing this atrocity today.