Miffed by the recurring herdsmen attacks on members of its church in Oke-Odo Ibore, the Ogun Baptist Conference has called on government to wade in to check the activities of herdsmen in the area.
The church, located at Sangoniko area of Ijoun, in Yewa North Local Government, was attacked in December 2017.
The Conference President in Ogun State, Reverend Dr Segun Jayesimi, led a church delegation on a visit to the affected community to sympathise with victims of the attacks.
He said the recent attack, which occurred mid December last year, resulted in the death of one Goke Olude, aged 27, who was shot at close range. Also, more than 35 settlements were razed by the herdsmen.
“We were told that our people here were attacked and their houses burnt. As a religious organisation, we felt the need to see for ourselves what had happened. We visited victims of the attack, to evaluate the situation and to also encourage our people and the whole community that they should not be discouraged. We would do our best to salvage the situation, although we know what God can do is the best,” the cleric noted
Jayesimi appealed to government to take a swift action over the incessant killings and violence perpetrated by herdsmen in the area.
He said: “I want to seriously encourage the government to do something significant and practical. The rate at which herdsmen operate is alarming. I urge government to take the bull by the horn, and let the rule of law take its full course. When that is done, I believe we would have a peaceful environment. Even government would enjoy leadership.
“People were killed, houses were burnt. These people are human beings, not animals. If what is happening in other parts of the country like Benue and Plateau State is brought to the fore, I believe the same thing should happen here.”
In an emotional outburst, the mother of Goke, Mrs Charlotte Olude, told TribuneChurch that the herdsmen waylaid her son, who had set out on his motorbike to the farm.
“He came to my place and said he was going to the farm after he had eaten. He then set off on his motorcycle. We were told he had barely got to the farm when he was attacked by a gang of herdsmen, who were returning from a neighbouring settlement. He was shot at close range severally. Our efforts to extract the bullets did not succeed,” she explained.
In the same vein, one of the leaders of the area, Moses Elegbede, who confirmed the attacks, said members of the community had been rendered homeless, as a result of the attacks. He said the development forced many to flee their homes.
According to him, sewing machines, clothing materials, motorcycles, bicycles, corn-processing machines, among other household items, were burnt.
Earlier, the conference delegates visited the Onijoun of Ijoun, Oba (Hon) Adewusi Rasak, who condemned the attack.
He said: “This issue has been recurring for a long time now. They’ve been killing our people without the Police apprehending anyone of them so far. The government of the day is not doing well as regards the attacks on our people by herdsmen.”
Oba Rasak, however, reckoned that “those perpetrating these illicit acts are non-Nigerians. The herdsmen are not the real Fulanis living with us here. They break in through the borders of another town.”
Meanwhile, the Ogun Baptist Conference has donated relief items to the victims, advising the community to not get discouraged in God. He also urged them to resist any form of reprisal.