The people of Ayegbaju Ekiti in the Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti State staged a violent protest over alleged killing of a farmer, Elijah Ogor, by suspected herdsmen.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ogor, in his 30s hailed from Benue but was residing in Ekiti, where he was engaged in farming.
He was allegedly killed on his farm, located between Ayegbaju and Ido Ekiti communities late on Wednesday after his attackers had allowed their cattle to destroy his farm.
The aggrieved residents blocked Ifaki-Ayegbaju and Ayegbaju-Oye highways and prevented vehicular movements in and out of the town.
One of the protesters, who identified himself simply as Adeleye, told newsmen that Ogor was shot at point-blank range by his assailants and that he died on the spot.
He said: “All we want is justice. How can any Fulani cattle rearer go to someone’s farm and destroy it and still go ahead to kill him? This is unjust and callous.
“This issue must be investigated thoroughly and whoever was involved should be prosecuted accordingly and without delay.”
It was learnt that immediately the death of the young farmer was reported to the Seriki Fulani in Ekiti State, Alhaji Abashe Adamu, he directed the task force of the Ekiti State Chapter of the Gan-Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria to swing into action.
The association was said to have consequently, combed Ayegbaju-Ido-Iludun expansive farmlands and arrested a man, identified as Umar Abubakar Sanda, in connection with the death.
Confirming Sanda’s arrest on Friday in Ado Ekiti, the Secretary of GAFDAN in Ekiti, Toyin Ibrahim, said: “We got information from the Seriki Fulani that a farmer was killed in Ayegbaju”.
He added: “Our taskforce, comprising virtually all the ethnic groups in Nigeria moved into that bush and arrested Umar Sanda
“At the point we saw him, he was holding a rifle and with live cartridge inside.
“We queried the rationale behind the carrying of firearm which contravened Ekiti State Anti-Grazing Law but he gave no reason.
“He was just raising issues that would make him look innocent.
“The reason why we suspected him was that two other people were with the deceased when he was shot, they escaped from the scene and the description they gave showed that the suspect was involved.
“As a law-abiding group, we immediately took Sanda to the police station at Ido Ekiti where he was detained.
“Part of our mandate in GAFDAN is to arrest cattle rustlers and errant herdsmen, who destroyed farmlands or commited other offences against our host communities.”
Ibrahim appealed to the Ekiti government to empower the group to be able to carry out the mandate of ensuring harmonious relationships between farmers and herders.
He said the group would also support the security agencies to reduce senseless killings by errant herdsmen.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Ekiti State Police Command, DSP. Caleb Ikechukwu, confirmed the incident, saying that suspect had been arrested in connection with the killing.
Ikechukwu said: “We learnt a farmer was killed on his farm. The suspected killer had been apprehended and brought to the police.
“He is presently being detained in our custody and once we conclude investigation, we will charge him to court.”
Killing of farmers by suspected herdsmen has been rampant in Nigerian communities in recent years.