By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The evicted Sarkin Fulani of Igangan, Saliu Abdulkadir, has said the Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, must be regretting by now, the role he played in his eviction from the community.
Igboho, who is currently in detention in neighbouring Benin Republic, had stormed Igangan community, in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State, exactly a year ago to evict Fulani herders including Abdulkadir from Igangan.
Trouble started when Igboho gave a week ultimatum to Fulani 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, kidnappings and attacks allegedly perpetrated by herders in the community.
He, however, told Abdulkadir to leave the community within seven days. That was the beginning of tension in the community.
After the one-week quit notice elapsed, Igboho made good his threat, storming Igangan on January 22, to evict the Fulani herders including their leader, who was raised and had lived in the community all his life.
During the eviction, the entire settlement was razed while Abdulkadir, his wives and children and other members of his family scampered for safety.
The Sarkin Fulani, who 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 N500 million was destroyed.
Speaking with Daily Trust, a 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.
The Sarkin Fulani said anytime he remembers the incident, he always burst into tears, maintaining his innocence over the incidents of kidnappings 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, Abdulkadir explained that he did not handle the eviction notice with levity, adding that 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.
“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,” he added.
Abdulkadir said one year later, he still hoped that justice would be done and he would be compensated for the property he lost during the crisis.