Herdsmen: Solders To Take Over Patrol Of Benin, Kajola – Ore Road To Stop Criminality

By Nwangwu Uba

 Travelers between the  Lagos and Benin Express Way are no longer finding it funny.  This is because  of the activities of the Fulani herdsmen between Omotosho and  Igbotako  axis of the road who graze  their cows  on the road , allegedly  strike at their victims and run back into the bush where they were residing.  Residents confirmed that  an undisclosed number of people have met their untimely death in the hands of the herdsmen on the road. The latest victim of the herdsmen  along the Kajola-Ore road  being Mrs. Fuke Olakunrin, the dughter of  Pa Reuben Fasoranti,  an Afenifere, the Yoruba-socio-cultural organisation leader  described as a costly mistake by Emmanuel Abejide, a Clergy man. The killing of the Afenifere leader’s daughter may have  forced him to raise alarm over the state of the nation  that” the country is at war”.

Investigation by The Value News shows that   the herdsmen had been  operating within the area for years  without  any challenge  from the indigenes or  the security agencies.  They were said to have always   had their way in  striking their victims along the  Benin -Ore axis of the  Lagos  -Benin road because they have an established militia Camp in the Ondo state   government reserve area located  in the  Odigbo local government area of the state.  

 Note that Kajola, one of the most notorious spots, used by the killer herdsmen, along the road  falls between  Odigbo and Okitipupa local government areas .  That much was said by  Boluwaji  Kunlere, a one- time Senator , representing  the Ondo south Senatorial district. The Senator collaborated the claims of the people  that  the herdsmen  have been operating in the area for  years without any resistance from the people or the security agencies.

  He reportedly said that when he notice the security challenge in the area , he was in the Senate , he gave  13  Hilux vans to the police  divisions   in his Senatorial district  and motorcycles   to the Department of State Security, DSS,  in the state to enhance their Surveillance operations in the state .

Kunlere, who could not hide his feelings maintain  that the Benin – Ore road  is where the major  security problem is  but regretted that the police  do not have  the manpower to ensure  adequate protection of the area.  Indeed, the killing  of Pa  Faasoranti’s daughter on the road  may have exposed the  obnoxious  activities of the  killer herdsmen in the area.

 But Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and National leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC,  would not agree with Yoruba  leaders  that the Fulani herdsmen killed  the woman. The former governonor  had spoken his mind  when he paid a Condolence  visit to the Afenifere’s leader’s home on Sunday, July 14, 2019. He had asked: where were the cows when the alleged herdsmen killed the  woman?. He had warned that the ”herdsmen issue  should not be allowed to divide the country”.

Mrs. Pa Fasoranti: Daughter, Killed By Suspected Herdsmen.

Appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari, to use the opportunity provided  by the  death  of  Pa Fasoranti’s daughter  as a cure   to the country’s numerous  security problems by  providing additional  police patrols    on the Benin-Ore road  and other flashpoint areas in the country, he insists that . He claimed to have discussed the matter with  the relevant government security agencies and Authorities,   and that Rotimi  Akeredolu, the Ondo state governor appreciates his solo efforts  to solve the security challenge in the state.

Even  the Ondo  state governor  have revealed   his Convoy at one time  had been attacked  along  the  Akure -Ibadan, express way  by unknown gunmen suspected to be herdsmen.  That much was  He disclosed  that  the killer gang ran back  into the bush  when one of his security  personnel  shot into the air to scare them away.  

Worried by the  alleged killings in state which had been  linked to herdsmen,  an aggrieved Akeredolu,  may have gladdened the mind of the Yoruba peole when  he said  the south west  were working towards  ending  the herdsmen siege  of the region.

Yemi Osibanjo, the  country’s Vice President  may have spoken the mind of the Katsina state born Nigerian President  when he paid a Condolence visit to the Afenifere’s leader’s home . He  had said  that the government  would  ”explore all options  , including deploying  soldiers  on the highways, towards addressing  the growing  cases of security  challenges in the country”.

Angered  by the  killing and kidnapping activities on the nation’s highways,  paritcular, the recent killing of  Funke, Pa Fasoranti’s  daughter, along the  Benin-Ore road,  Mohammed   Adamu,  the Inspector General of Police, IGP, who many describe, as a man of his words, has  vowed to crack down the killers . The police IGP, was said to have ordered the deployment  of Special Forces  to key highways in  the south   west  geo-political region   to replicate  the special operation puff adder currently going on along the  Kaduna – Abuja expressway.

Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, and  Police Spokesperson,  reportedly said that  the police boss has also  directed  the Ondo state  police Command would be  backed in the operation  by the Special Forces and seasoned Investigators  from the Force Criminal Investigation Department, FCID,  the Intelligence Response Team , IRT   and the Technical Intelligence Unit, TIU,  from  the Force Headquarters, Abuja, to intensify the massive  search for the Afenifere  leader’s   daughter’s killers.

 The IGP ‘s support  to the Ondo state police Command may have emboldened the officers  to  intensify the manhunt for Mrs. Olakunrin’s killers  with a view  to tracking, arresting  and bringing the suspects to book.

 The efforts may have yielded results as Femi Joseph,  Spokesperson of the state Police Command  on Monday, July 15, 2019, reportedly  confirmed  the arrest of three suspects linked to the killing of late Mrs. Olakunrin  when a team of  security Operatives stormed the forests in the Kajola area near Ore, stating that” investigations are still on going” . The arrested suspects, as revealed by the Nation Newspapers  were:  Mohammed Adamu,  Saliu Ismail and  Adamu Saliu. Already, the Ondo state Police  Spokesperson has assured that the suspects would be paraded as soon as possible” as a deterrence to  others who may want to resort to killing. The arrests of the suspects may have gladdened the heart of the people of the state who are ready to volunteer more information  to the police to do the police  to their work to stop the killings in the state by herdsmen.     

The arrest of the suspects many not be unconnected to the appeal by the  IGP, to the people to provide relevant information to assist the police investigators in tracking the criminals in their hideout in the forests, particular , the residents of the  Kajola Community, an indication that the police could  do their job when  they want to do it as trained  investigators  to fish out Criminals.

 In spite of the fact that Adamu, the IGP, has devised necessary  measures to  stop the killings in the south west, particular, Ondo state, and other parts of the country,  Adeyeye Adewusi, the revered Oni of Ife, had  enjoined the Yorubas  ‘it was high time to get  united  and ”  defend  itself against  bandits killing its people”.  Many believe that  the monarch who is  beating the drum  of war and already has the support of Gani Adams,the Are Onaka Kakanfo, of Youruba land.

The Yoruba Paramount Ruler,  who could not hide his feelings  said the killings in the south west geo-political region   by suspected herdsmen was  enough and would no longer tolerated from any quarter  . He maintains  that  the Yoruba people could no longer fold their  hands and watch their people slaughtered by herdsmen, appealing to them  to” unite to protect their territory”.  The Oni may have sent a signal  to the fulani herdsmen  grazing  their cows in the region that it is no longer going to be business s usual.

Tunde Bakare, a former  Vice Presidential Candidate of President Buhari, in the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in the 2011, Presidential election, and the General Overseer of the Later Day Rain Assembly,  in his sermon , last Sunday, said  the gruesome of of Funke, Pa Fsoranti’s daughter was an indication that ”Nigeria’s cup is full”.

Wole Soyinka, a Nobel   Laureate, may have sensed  dangers ahead as he had made it clear to those that cares to listen   that  the current problems of the nation  are beyond the solution that can be offered  by the  Buhari ”, blaming it on the  ruling APC, thinking as  a partisan government.  

He lamented ,”look at what is happening  in the country today with Cattle all over the place, describing it  as a security issue  which should  not have reached  this damning  level of becoming a threat to the people noting that, ”It has wiped away  a lot of the positive  achievements  of  the government as people have been  killed and  farms taken over by Cattles, he had said.

Recall that these had been the views of Fasranti, the Afenifere leader over the years but the government appear  not  to have paid attention to it, He had sounded a note of warning  when  he saw the danger coming  in the south west that  Fulani herdsmen  were scaring farmers in the region. ”We cannot go to our farms again, he had said. He had expected the government to take action  to nip the crisis on board to avoid it from spreading but that was how far he could go.

It is not surprising why  Soyinka has called  for a national Summit to address the problems of the economy,  security , health and  even the beating of the drums of secession every day in different parts of the country.  It is not certain that the president would not heed  to the call as he had thrown to the dust bin the earlier  report of the  national  Submit conducted by the former President Government Jonathan Administration on how to solve these perennial Constitutional problems that could  have led  to the restructuring of the country.

Even, former President Olusegun Obasanjo,  had  canvassed the need for the government  to open up discussion, debate and dialogue  as part of the consultation  at different levels to solve the country’s security problem. The former President  had suggested  that the” outcome  of such deliberations  should be collated  to form  ”inputs into a National  Conference  that would come up  with the solution  that would  effectively deal  with the security issues and produce a roadmap  that will not  change the whims and caprices of any government”.

He insists that what the country needed now is ”maximum force”  to be able deal successfully  with the menace  of criminality  seperately and together, warning that  this is not the time for” blame game”.  But whether  the Katsina  state born Nigerian President would accept the suggestions  remain to seen. The President may have given a signal  to the Nobel Laureate that he will not take such advices as he  had warned  Political leaders and Religious   to be mindful of their utterances stop politicising the  herdsmen alleged killing of the Afenifer’s lead’ s daughter  because of the potential Consequences. There  are indications that the government may put such people under security watch.  A recent Statement by Itse Sagay,  a Professor and Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption , PACAC, describing Obasanjo’s open letter to Buhari over his performance in office in the last four years  as” inappropriate and insulting” speaks volume.  

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