Ondo Villagers Flee As Amotekun Struggles Against Bandit Onslaught

In a desperate bid to escape the relentless attacks orchestrated by herdsmen-cum-bandits, some villagers in Ondo State are abandoning their homes.

 This alarming development follows a series of reported incidents, including kidnappings, killings, and disruptions to business activities, which have not only displaced a significant number of inhabitants but also raised concerns about the safety of lives and property.

Research reveals that over 4,000 farmers have lost their lives in the South Western part of Nigeria since 2015. 

The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data reports that Nigeria has witnessed the loss of at least 8,343 lives in the farmers-herders conflict since 2005.

In response to the escalating invasion of herders in the Southwest, governors of the six South-West states, along with traditional rulers, established the Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed ‘Amotekun,’ on January 9, 2020.

 Despite receiving support from state governments, this regional security outfit is grappling with persistent attacks from herdsmen, leaving some residents skeptical about its effectiveness.

Concerns about Amotekun’s ability to control areas dominated by herdsmen are growing among residents. 

A resident named Tinu expressed fear about travelling on a lonely road leading to Ifon, where Amotekun’s presence seems overpowered by the herdsmen, turning the area into a no-go zone.

A monarch, choosing to remain anonymous, disclosed employing additional local security to assist Amotekun but admitted to the struggles in keeping the herdsmen at bay.

While Amotekun’s security corps remained tight-lipped about their challenges, residents, such as Joe, highlighted the powerlessness of Amotekun in certain parts of the state. 

Joe revealed that bandits continue to wreak havoc in specific communities, forcing his parents to abandon their home due to the security crisis.

The dire situation extends beyond residents, affecting travellers and farmers alike. Farmers recount tales of attacks, killings, and destruction of farmlands. 

Femi Adeyele, a farmer with 50 hectares of farmland, described an encounter where herdsmen uprooted his cassava to feed their cows, resulting in injuries when he attempted to defend his property.

Another farmer, Yele Adaranijo, highlighted the herdsmen’s tactics, mentioning ambushes and threats to farmers’ livelihoods. 

The prevailing insecurity in Ondo State paints a grim picture, urging authorities to address the challenges faced by Amotekun and restore safety to the affected communities.

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