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More Than A Year Later, Oyo Dwellers Still Internally Displaced

Oyo State is a largely homogeneous southwestern state mainly inhabited by the Yoruba ethnic group, primarily agrarian, but with a predilection for living in high density urban centres.

The indigenes mainly comprise the Oyos, the Oke-Oguns, the the Ibadans, and the Ibarapas, all indigenous Yoruba stock.

Of late, the usually serene environment has witnessed rising cases of violence, murder, arson, and mayhem, generally believed to be the handiwork of the nomadic Fulanis, the largely pastoralist group that rears cattle as their way of life.

In February, 2019, Tiamiyu Adeyanju, a Yoruba, from Ago-Oyo, was brutally killed with a machete by a suspected Fulani herdsman who brought his cattle to drink from the village water source. Tiamiyu resisted, and was killed.

In March, 2021, one Omideyi, a Yoruba, of Ibarapa in Oyo State, was tied to a cashew tree in his own cashew plantation, and beheaded by suspected Fulani herdsmen. This extreme and heinous act was because the man met some Fulani women on his farm who were harvesting his crops, and chased them away. He was murdered the very next day.

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The matter was reported by the slain man’s brother to the local leader of the Fulani, Seriki Saliu. No remorse or emotion was shown. Instead, we learnt that Omideyi’s brother was targeted for elimination, and had to leave his community, along with many others who had fled out of fear for their lives.

In Akeetan Tuntun, Oyo Town, in Oyo Local Government Area of Oyo State, indigenes like members of the Oladele family, and some other relatives of the Haastrup and Birch families,have had to flee from their community, following threats by suspected herdsmen to their farmlands and homes.

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The said threats arose due to the fiery preaching of a member of the Oladele family, a pastor, who has been, for many years, preaching strongly against the growing violence and bloodshed unleashed by the suspected Fulani herdsmen against the native populace. It was gathered that Pastor Oladele was also targeted and narrowly escaped being killed. He and his entire family had to go into forced exile to save their lives. Till date, all their family members are unable to go back home.

Even the Yoruba Muslims have had to relocate from their villages.

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Whole families have been displaced from various parts of the area, and they are yet to go back home.

Things have gotten so bad that the Oyo State House of Assembly, in October, 2021, strongly urged the government to address the frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen, which are a problem of access to land, water, and natural resources, in addition to the religious and ethnic aspects.

Only time will tell when this very knotty issue will be resolved.