Fulani herdsmen gang-rape, deflower 23-yr-old trader in parents’ presence

  • They chased us from our farm, uprooted our cassava for their cows – Victim
  • Rapes, attacks perpetrated by criminals, not our people – Fulani leaders
  • Police pampering herdsmen, oppressing our people – Ayede-Ogbese Monarch 
A 23-year-old petty trader, Miss Esther Olawale, has recounted how she was recently attacked and gang-raped by Fulani herdsmen in a cassava plantation in Ayede-Ogbese, a community in the Akure North Local Government area of Ondo State.
A distraught Esther, in an emotion-laden voice, told our correspondent that she was a virgin until she was violated by four Fulani herdsmen, who raped her in turns.
The victim, who reported her ordeal at the mini-palace of her father-figure, the Odopetu of Ayede-Ogbese, High Chief Oladimeji Abitogun, said her father and mother had yet to recover from the shock of the incident, as she was gang-raped right in their presence.
Recalling the ordeal, Esther said, “On this fateful Saturday, not too long ago, the Fulani herdsmen, numbering six, herded their cows, which were about 25, to our farm. And they knew us; that my father and mother were farmers who depended on their plantations to survive.
“That day, we were on our cassava plantation when they came, armed with a gun, knives and daggers. They chased us out of the farm and started uprooting our cassava tubers and feeding their cows with them.
“It got to a stage that my father could no longer bear it, and he confronted them, saying he was prepared to die.
My mother and I too could not stand it any longer and we joined my father in challenging them. But they pounced and us and attacked us with their machetes, and we started running; my father was bleeding badly.”
On how she lost her virginity to the terrorists, she said, “At a stage, I discovered that four of the Fulani men were coming in my direction, giving me a hot chase. They eventually caught up with me and brought me down. One of them forcefully had carnal knowledge of me while the others held me down. He deflowered me. After him, another came and had it with me, then the third and the fourth, and I fainted.
“After sometime, I found myself in the hospital, with my parents. How can I ever forgive them for making me lose my virginity to an unworthy man?”
Consoling her, High Chief Abitogun, who is the Editor-In-Chief of sharpedgenews.com, an online publication, said he gave Esther’s parents hectares of land where they had corn and cassava plantations, when her father came for help after experiencing bad days in his stone crushing business.
“His father is not the only one I similarly gave land to; there are many of them. And it is regrettable that all of them keep coming to complain of having issues with Fulani herdsmen,” he added.
Abitogun, who conveyed a message from the Regent of the town, Princess Kofoworola Oluyede-Olagbaju, appealed to the Ondo State Government to save the peasant farmers of Aiyede-Ogbese from “oppressive conducts” by Fulani herdsmen grazing in the area.
He said, “What really bothers us is that the police are often unduly excited to take every complaint lodged by the Fulani herdsmen and when we lodge our own, they are always reluctant to intervene.
“They are indifferent to the poor farmers and defenceless folks who suffer huge losses, rape and unexplainable violence. Extensive hectares of farmlands with valuable arable crops are often eaten up by herds of cattle belonging to the migrant Fulanis, and that is why we are seeking paid compensations commensurate with the agricultural losses, on behalf of our people.”
Abitogun, who spoke before a crowd of agitated local folks, said some Fulani herdsmen also recently encroached on a plantation belonging to a couple in the community, at Mile 140, where they attacked them and raped their daughter (names withheld).
He further explained that at the same location, a fight broke out between some farmers and a group of Fulanis, in which parties in the brawl sustained severe injuries.
Following the clash, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the homicide section in Ondo State, he said, summoned the Aiyede-Ogbese monarch, chiefs, and all the farmers in the area. The regent could not go in person and had to send two chiefs and the community’s lawyer, Mr. Olumide Ogidan.
“Actually, the invitation to the monarch and the chiefs was not proper, as it was meant to intimidate, subdue and subjugate the indigenes of Ayede-Ogbese, so that Fulani settlers and migrants would be seen as overlords,” Abitogun averred.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Fulani community in Akure North Local Government, which comprises Iju, Itaogbolu, Aiyede-Ogbese, Oba-Ile, Oda, Ogbese and others, have risen in the defence of their clan.
Speaking through their Public Relations Officer, Mallam Adamu, the leaders said those responsible for the reported attacks and rape were not Fulani herdsmen but criminals pretending to be herdsmen.
“They are not part of us, as we know all our people. The Yoruba people are nice, friendly and accommodating, and we will never repay them with evil.
“Even, the Yoruba people are not the only ones suffering from the activities of these criminals. Recently, a teenage Fulani boy, who was minding a herd of cows, was killed with machetes and his body was tied to a log and thrown into River Ogbese. Do we now allege that this was done by Yoruba people? No, these are criminals who should be haunted down by the law enforcement agents,” Adamu defended.
As for the destruction of farmlands by the Fulanis’ cattle, Adamu said the leaders had a firm grip on the herders and had often warned them against encroaching on farmlands.