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Saliu Abdulkadir, the evicted Sarkin Fulani of Oyo State, has expressed happiness over the detention of the self-acclaimed Yoruba activist, Sunday Igboho, saying , he must be regretting his role in Igangan eviction by now.
Igboho, who is currently in detention in neighbouring Benin Republic, had stormed Igangan community in Ibarapa axis of Oyo State, where he instigated violence against Fulani residents, exactly one year ago.
Speaking one year after the incident, Abdulkadir said his only consolation was the fact that he was not killed on the fateful day because the intention was to kill him.
He added that anytime he remembers the January 22, 2021 incident, he always bursts into tears even as he maintained his innocence over the incidents of kidnapping and killings in the community.
He said, “It is on record that only three Yoruba persons were kidnapped in Igangan since the problem started; others were Fulani.
“I lost my younger brother in the process. We lost several of my kinsmen. You cannot even count the number of cows that were rustled. It was a sad moment for me. I lost everything I laboured for all my life and life has been extremely hard since last year when Sunday Igboho stormed my settlement.”
Speaking on the earlier quit notice issued by Igboho prior to his eviction, Sarki explained that he did not handle the eviction notice with levity and he got assurance from the state government after the quit notice, but he was surprised that Igboho carried out his threat without anybody challenging him.
He said, “For those seven days, the state government sent 14 police officers to us and they were guiding us but the police officers were overpowered by Sunday Igboho’s men. This is why I don’t support the call for the release of Igboho.
“I am sure he must be regretting his actions now. Any Nigerian can live in any part of the country and I have always said that there are criminals everywhere. There are criminals among Yoruba just like we have among the Fulani people. This is where we expected the government to come in and fish out those who are criminally minded.”
Abdulkadir said one year later, he still hoped that justice would be done and he would be compensated for the properties lost during the crisis.
It will be recalled that the trouble started when Igboho gave a week ultimatum to the herders in the community to vacate their settlement.
Before giving the ultimatum, Igboho had stormed the Gaa Seriki (the Sarki’s settlement) with dozens of youths to register his displeasure over killings, kidnapping and attacks allegedly by herders in the community.
He, however, told Sarkin Fulani to leave the area in seven days or he will deal with them. That was the beginning of tension in the community.
The one-week quit notice elapsed and Igboho made good his threat, storming Igangan in the early hours of January 22 to evict the Fulani including their leader and Sarkin Fulani for Oyo State, who was raised and had lived in the community all his life.
After the quit notice was issued, it was learnt that the state government mobilised mobile police officers to guide the settlement but the police were overpowered by the rampaging youths of the town led by Igboho.
At the end, the entire settlement was razed while the Fulani leader, his wives and children and other members of his family scampered for safety.
The Sarki, who narrowly escaped death as he relocated to Ilorin, Kwara State, said at the end of the Igboho-led invasion to his settlement, seven of his kinsmen died while his property worth over N500million was destroyed.
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