The Seriki Fulani of Oyo State, Alhaji Saliu Abdulkadir, said he has fled into a bush after youths attacked his residence on Friday night.
Abdulkadir’s wives and children were sent out of their settlement, the Fulani chief alleged, adding that 11 vehicles and houses were burnt in the process.
He said the attack took place in the presence of police officers.
“As we speak, we are in the bush,” the Fulani chief told Sahara Reporters in Ibadan, the state capital.
“Our cars, numbering about 11, have been burnt.
“Some of my children sustained injuries and we are looking for a way to get them to hospital. My children have left their houses for the bush. We need the government to help us. Police, Operation Burst and other security agencies were there when they set my house ablaze.”
An image shared on social media showed a cow believed to have been killed during the attack lying on a cleared farming space. It was not immediately clear if the animal belonged to the Fulani chief or to herdsmen who are accused of attacking farms, kidnapping farmers, killing residents and raping girls. There are no reports of human deaths.
Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in the state, Ibrahim Jiji, said the seriki’s allegations are true.
“As we usually say, not all Fulani people are evil,” Jiji said.
“Good people are among us. What can we call this now? The man is a gentleman and see how he was chased out of his house.
“We need the government to act now,” he said.
The alleged attack on the Fulani chief took place after Yoruba activist and Oodua Republic agitator Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, visited Igangan, a community in Ibarapa North local government of Oyo on Friday.
A huge crowd gathered to hear Igboho speak about his determination to expel “Fulani kidnappers” from Yorubaland.
Igboho and his supporters blamed a surge in kidnappings and killings on Fulani herdsmen whom they said were being protected by Fulani communities.
A week ago, Igboho issued an ultimatum to all Fulani settlers to leave Igangan within seven days. He visited the community on Friday to enforce the unlawful mandate.
“The Fulani have gone, we have sent them out of our land and they cannot come back again,” Igboho reportedly told the crowd.
“Kidnappers cannot rule over us, they can’t take over our land from us. It belongs to us; they should stop threatening.
“Those who live with us peacefully; we are not fighting them but how will a visitor claim one’s house from him. If you live with us in peace, we have no problem with you but if you decide to kidnap and kill us, we don’t want you here. I assure Yoruba people, particularly those in Oyo State, that there is no danger.
“This one we have started here in Oyo State will not end here. We are going to other parts of the South-West. Tell Fulani herdsmen in Ekiti State, Ondo State and Osun States; in fact, in all South-West states that they should get ready for us because we are coming.”
Igboho’s actions run afoul of Governor Seyi Makinde’s directive against illegal expulsion of ethnic groups from Oyo.
Makinde, on Friday, ordered new police commissioner Ngozi Onadeko to arrest those stoking ethnic tensions in the state.
But a defiant Igboho dared the governor to attempt an arrest.
“(President Muhammadu) Buhari should come and evacuate his people from our land, we don’t want them again,” he told Sahara Reporters.
“They are just punishing the youths; they have turned us to nothing, why? The educated youth don’t have jobs, nothing, the gain now is to kill and kidnap us.
“We are still on the unemployment issue, we have accepted our fate, should we not be in peace and enjoy security again? It’s enough.”