EMBATTLED Sarkin Fulani of Igangan in Ibarapa North Local Government of Oyo State Alhaji Salihu Abdulkadir has surfaced in the Kwara State capital Ilorin saying he had to flee because he feared for his life and those of the members of his community.
Over the last week, tension has been high in Oyo State after local Ibarapa strongman Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, asked all Fulanis to vacate the area. His call, which has massive local support, came in response to increasing incidences of violent crimes by Fulanis including rape, kidnapping, armed robbery and murder.
Since the crisis began, Igboho’s house in Ibadan has been burnt, after it was firebombed by arsonists and there have been calls for him to be arrested. Governor Seyi Makinde is believed to have travelled to Abuja for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to find a solution to the problem.
After fleeing for dear life, Alhaji Abdulkadir appeared in Ilorin and said: Given the conspiracy by the police with the natives of Igangan, I and my people will not feel comfortable returning to Igangan. We have learnt that the government had deployed over 200 Amotekun personnel to the forests in Oyo.
“Who will these Amotekun men meet in the forests other than the Fulani? On the issue of the killing of one Dr Aborode, I don’t know anything about it and where Dr Aborode was killed is very far from my village.
He denied conniving with kidnappers operating in the Igangan area as alleged by Igboho and said he had no knowledge of the killing of Dr Aborode. Alhaji Abdulkadir said all the allegations against him were concocted by Sunday Igboho with the sole aim of getting the Fulani out of Igangan and other parts of Yorubaland.
He asserted that he and his family have been living in Igangan for over 50 years without any challenges from the people or any other places. Alhaji Abdulkadir appealed to emirs and other traditional rulers in the 19 northern states to come to the rescue of the Fulani residents in the southwest.
In addition, he equally called on the federal government to probe the burning of his house, vehicles and the killing of seven of his men in Igangan by men thought to be agents of Igboho. When the crisis begun, Igboho had confronted Alhaji Abdulkadir over the killing of Dr Aborode and asked he and his people to leave within seven days.