Human Rights Activist Whereabouts Unknown After Fulani Herdsmen Attack

By Shakirat Abdulwasiu

ABEOKUTA – A Human Rights Activist and Ogun state coordinator, Yoruba Agenda Movement (YAM), Mr. Awoderu Adewale Oyedele has been declared missing after an encounter with armed bandits suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on his farm.

Awoderu, a notable activist in South West, Nigeria was at the forefront against the open grazing by the Fulani herdsmen.

Recall that, the Fulani herdsmen have waged war against farmers in the South Western region of Nigeria, a development that created room for establishment of many avengers groups with popular Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Igboho leading the cause.

The Fulani Herdsmen have destroyed many farm settlements in the Southwest region destroying goods estimated at N200trillion naira in the last 4years, with farmers unable to go back to the farm for the fear of attack.

However, Mr. Awoderu’s involvement and agitation against the invaders in Ogun state was evident when he led a protest to the Ogun state House of Assembly in February 2022 to kick against Fulani settlements in some major parts of Abeokuta.

Adewunmi Azeez, one of the victims macheted by the herdsmen

Awoderu, a member of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) also championed different advocacy programmes on radio stations in Abeokuta, calling on farmers in Yorubaland to resist any attempt by the Fulani herdsmen to graze on their farms.

This development did not augur well with the leadership of Fulani colony in the South west.

On August 10, 2022, the leadership of Hausa/Fulani colony in Ogun state, headed by Seriki Fulani, Alh. Usman Dangogo condemned the attack on his people.

Dangogo at a press conference held at the secretariat of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ogun state council described Awoderu’s agitation against open grazing as preposterous and impugning their fundamental human rights of cohabitation and ability to live freely in any part of the country.

The Seriki Fulani urged the State House Assembly discountenance the call for ban on Open grazing in South West.

According to him, the ban on open grazing would force his members to go back to crime.

Ever since, Mr. Awoderu has come under intense attack from both and outside Ogun state.

In October, 2022 his cocoa farm at Eleyele village in Ibadan, Oyo state, was gutted by fire and the three-acre farm was razed down to ashes. The Oyo state police command said it cannot ascertain the cause of the fire incident.

In April 13, 2023 some armed men suspected to be Fulani Herdsmen attacked Mr. Awoderu’s farm in Degesin village, Oba, under Obafemi Owode local government area of Ogun state.

The cash crop burnt by the herdsmen

While the attack lasted, some of his workers on the farm were macheted and the farm crops were set ablaze.

One of the injured workers who spoke with our reporter, Azeez Adewunmi said since the incident, the whereabouts of Mr. Awoderu remain unknown.

When contacted, the Police spokesperson in the state, SP Omolola Odutola said the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Abiodun Alamutu has launched an investigation into the incident.

SP Odutola noted that, a tactical team has been launched to arrest the perpetrators.

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