Chief Olu Falae, chieftain of Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural group, has narrated how Fulani herdsmen attacked his farm in Ondo State after kidnapping him and killing his security guard, identified only as Ayo.
Falae, a former secretary to the military government of Ibrahim Babangida, said that the killer herdsmen butchered his farm guard and took away his heart and rifle, which was registered with the police.
Speaking during an interview, Falae, a former Finance Minister, said: “Today is exactly 32 years and two weeks that I started operating here. And the cattle and their owners became a veritable threat or tool for harassment in the last four, five years. At first, they would come in the night to drink water. We were tolerant and they did not stay here.
“We told them, just drink water and go; I did not allow them. Later, they would come in the night, eat our maize and go. I complained to their people more than 10 times. Later still, elements of the same people kidnapped me.
“When people say they were Fulani kidnappers, they ask you, how do you know they are (Fulani)? But everybody knows a Fulani man. Fulani himself knows himself. They are not children. When they were brought to court, they said they were Fulani themselves and most of them were jailed by the court.
“I have been at the receiving end a lot of times. After I was kidnapped, they came back and killed one of the guards – Ayo. They killed him, opened his chest and took away his heart.
“The double-barrelled gun, they took it away from him and killed him. It is still an unresolved murder case with the police.
“Is it economic? I am an economist myself. They burnt the non-crop area because the grass was already dry. Cows don’t eat dry grass. They burnt it so that fresh grass will grow. They were already breeding my grass as if it was their land.”
Falae noted that a number of other herdsmen vandalised farms not for the purpose of grazing their cows but out of malice and deliberate sabotage.
“Last year, they burnt my oil palm farm. I videoed it to the Commissioner of Police. I played it also at the Afenifere meeting.
“Why did they do that? To do something that does not enhance their own welfare. I believe they have malice against me. They hate the farmers,” Falae added.