From Ahmad Ibrahim, Lokoja
Two herdsmen and a farmer have been confirmed killed in a clash in Oforachi community in Igalamela/Odolu local government area of Kogi State.
Peoples Daily reliably gathered that the killing of a farmer, Mr Godwin Egbunu Omale by herdsmen in Oforachi community on Saturday and rumours of reprisal the following day heightened tension across communities in the area.
Residents of the area disclosed that the deceased had gone to report the alleged destruction of his farmland by the cows of one of the herders to the police, and he was asked to come back the following day, the 19th of this month, to enable them visit the farm for on the spot assessment.
According to them, the deceased returned as agreed and a policeman along with some family members accompanied him to the scene of the incident.
As the security agent and some members of the community were trying to track the herders, Mr Omale was ambushed and killed, while the others along the police officer took to their heels to report the development at home.
The National President of the Igalamela Cultural and Development Association (ICDA), Mr Isaac Inna in an interview, said it “took more than five hours to get security agents deployed to the area, which gave the culprits the opportunity of escaping out of the community.
He alleged that in the past one month, not less than 50 cases of “Fulani herdsmen invading farmlands and destroying produce have been reported to the police without proper action.
A police officer in charge of Oforachi Police post, disclosed that they have been facing the problem of shortage of staff to man the area effectively, revealing that only two police officers are deployed to the police post in such a very large a community.
He further asserted that just recently, in his effort to apprehend one of the criminal elements, he faced stiff opposition, as some of them were armed with sophisticated weapon.
He further alleged that there were “cases of people who have had their hands chopped off, many killed and girls and women raped on their farmlands” without adequate government intervention.
Peoples Daily further gathered that the community has been deserted, for fear of reprisal attack, following the killing of two herders in retaliation of the murder of the farmer in the community.
When contacted, the State Police Command confirmed that the corpses of two herders believed to have been killed in a reprisal attack were found in Ofu River near Oforachi community.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP William Aya said the corpses of the herders were recovered with their hands and legs tied to nine inches block, adding that their remains have since been deposited in the mortuary after an autopsy was conducted.