Alhaji Saliu Abdulkadir, the Sarkin Fulani of Oyo State who was evicted from his Igangan palace four months ago, has denied media reports that he is behind the recent attacks on the community.
Sarkin Fulani, who also condemned the attacks, called on security agencies to arrest those responsible.
In response to the accusation by the Asigangan of Igangan, Oba Lasisi Adeoye, that he masterminded the attacks that killed scores of farmers, Abdulkadir told our correspondent it was wrong to link the attacks to him.
In reprisal attacks on several Fulani settlements, one Fulani man who was neither a cattle rearer nor a trader, and who has lived in Igangan since the 1960s, was killed on Monday.
According to the Sarkin, he has nothing to do with the attacks, and no mercenaries are attacking anyone on his behalf.
According to him, since the eviction from the community by armed youths led by Sunday Igboho, he has lost fortunes accumulated over several decades.
“They killed my people, destroyed my properties, I don’t know what they did.”. When Sunday Igboho and his men invaded my palace, I would have defended myself if I had the mercenaries.
“I lost everything. My family and I have been living hand to mouth. There are no mercenaries fighting for me. “I leave everything in God’s hands.”
Sarkin Fulani, who is currently in Ilorin, Kwara State, blamed the attack on the security agencies, saying that if the security agencies were proactive, such an attack would not have occurred.
Abdulkadir claimed that the unrest in Ibarapa was worsened by ethnic profiling in which only Fulani herders were demonized.
He said on more than one occasion, the Yoruba people were arrested for kidnapping and other crimes in Ibarapa zone, but their arrests went unnoticed since they were not Fulani herders.
Since his eviction in January, Fulani herders in Ibarapa have lived in fear in Aiyete, Tapa, and Igangan, saying those who are afraid should flee and refrain from violating the law.
Fulani called on the federal government to intervene in the happenings in Ibarapa zone, saying that although the state government is doing its part to restore peace to the warring communities, lasting peace in the region also relies on the federal government’s support.