The state coordinator of Oodua People’s Congress, New Era, Bayo Ifabiyi has raised alarm over the rate at which farmlands are taken over by herdsmen in Kwara state.
Ifabiyi lamented that his organization, OPC, warned the government of Kwara ahead when displaced Fulani herdsmen from Igangan were welcome into Kwara adding that the sentiments apllied at that time has become a burden for Kwara state.
The Oodua Peoples Congress Kwara state coordinator, while speaking with reporters in Ilorin said that herdsmen frustrated now graze on farmlands owned by indigenous farmers as a way of chasing them away thereafter take over the land.
He added that these farmlands taken over are cultivated by the herdsmen and now selling products to impoverished indigenous farmer.
He said “It is very sad and provocative that herdsmen come from different parts of the world to chase away indigenous farmer by allowing their cattle to graze on farms and after farmers got chased away and frustrated, these herdsmen take over their lands and farm on it.
“How come that cattle don’t graze on farms cultivated by these herders and they make profit as their harvest are sold in our market to our people, thereby reaping the economy of our geographical zone to their own pockets”
Asked if the traditional rulers in the affected areas have been contacted, Ifabiyi explained that there is a seeming conspiracy between the herders and the traditional rulers for fear of crossing path with the Emir of Ilorin who is the symbolic father of the herders in Kwara state.
“Our Obas are afraid of the Emir. They look away from happenings and aside from that, the herders go to settle them heavily, so it’s a situation that can lead to a revolt in near future.”
The OPC, NEW ERA national officer called on the Governor of Kwara state, Mallam AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman to as a matter of urgency, set up a high ranking committee to look into the issue of invasion of Kwara lands by these herder before matters escalate into a crises.
The Oro Agor Igbomina born OPC leader urge all stake holders in the state to wade in to issues raised to ward off possible violent farmer herders clash, which might not augur well with the state of harmony.
He also called on incoming President Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu to make it a priority to look into the issue of herders in the state to caution them adding that the People of Kwara south and the rest of Kwara are already being agitated over the issue and civil unrest must be avoided at all cost.