Blood flowed freely in Igangan, one of the seven principal towns of Ibarapaland in Oyo State, on Saturday night, as gunmen dispatched over 45 persons to their early graves in the town.
Besides, the five-hour invasion also led to burning of more than 60 houses, while over 160 vehicles were also destroyed, apart from a petrol filling station and the palace of Ashigangan of Igangan, Oba Lasisi Adeoye, that were also razed.
It was in the same Igangan that angry youths razed the village and vehicles of the Sarkin Fulani of Oyo State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Salihu, in February, this year, after the popular Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, fondly called Sunday Igboho, held a town hall meeting in the town. Salihu was evicted from the town based on allegations of aiding and abeitting killings, kidnapping and destruction of farmland in the area.
Impeccable sources said the invaders stormed Igangan at about 11pm, on Saturday, and operated till 4am, yesterday, before leaving the town in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state.
The bandits, according to sources, were about 50 and they invaded the town on more than 20 motorcycles.
Community leaders speak on bloodbath
The Secretary of Farmers Union in Igangan, Mr Taiwo Adeagbo, said many lives were lost during the invasion, adding that the invaders shot many residents dead, while security agents also neutralised some of the attackers.
The convener of Igangan Development Advocate, Oladiran Oladokun, said: “On numerous occasions, Ibrahim, Seriki Saliu’s son kept threatening that Igangan would be razed down to ashes. He had the audacity to proclaim this on social media as well as on radio shows; perhaps, his words were taken as mere groans, but local vigilantes at Igangan kept receiving the news of impending danger.
“The state, I believe, thought it’s just another hype, for we notified the state of our fears on the 14th of April, when covert information reached us of a meeting of the Fulani, towards fulfilling their oath of allegiance towards reprisals.
“If we had not made a little cover, perhaps, as Ibarahim, son of Seriki threatened, Igangan would have become a dunghill of ashes; or, perhaps, this is just their beginning.”
A former caretaker chairman of Ibarapa North, where Igangan is located, Tunji Omolewu, stated: ”People had barely retired to bed when they said they sighted motorcycles entering the town. Before our people could know what was going on, they had started killing people. I got the call around 11pm. We were on our way from Ekiti, where we had gone to do the Yoruba nation rally. I got to Ibadan around 12am, and when the calls did not stop coming, I decided to come home. The palace of our monarch was torched. Adolak filling station, too, was burnt. We are assembled here.”
Police confirm incident, begin investigation
The Oyo State Police Command has confirmed the invasion of Igangan in Ibarapa zone of the state by unknown assailants during which many lives and property were destroyed.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the command, Mr. Adewale Osifeso, who made the confirmation, yesterday, said the incident began at about 11:10pm, on Saturday.
Asked to comment on the figure of people that were killed during the invasion, Osifeso stated: “Casualty figure would be premised upon the completion of the ongoing comprehensive investigations, please.”
Oyo Assembly Speaker, Allaafin condemn attack
Meanwhile, the Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Debo Ogundoyin, who hails from Eruwa, one of the seven principal towns of Ibarapa, has condemned the fresh attack on Igangan, by bandits and suspected criminal herders overnight.
Also, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, condemned the and call on residents of Igangan and the entire state to be calm.
Governor Makinde calls for calm
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has appealed to residents of the state to remain calm as security operatives have taken control of the situation in Igangan, where people suspected to be criminal herdsmen killed about 20 persons in the early hours of yesterday.