Nigerian Relocates Abroad As Fulani Herdsmen Ruins His Life Investment
A Yoruba Nation agitator, Adewale Olufemi Salami, has described his experience in the hands of Fulani herdsmen in Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, as a chapter he would live with for the rest of his life.
Salami has also called on Oyo State government to render necessary assistance to the people of Igangan, Ibarapa North Local government area of Oyo State as economic activities in the community has continued to suffer due to incessant attack by Fulani herdsmen on people’s farmland.
He said it has become necessary for an intervention having experienced the same, with a threat to his life sometime `back causing him to flee the country.
Salami, said despite the experience he had back home before he fled the country, he would always stand by the truth, canvassing for the emancipation of the Yorubas from the Fulani’s onslaught against the people of South-west Nigeria.
He stressed further that during the menace by the Fulani herdsmen-cum-terrorist, lives were lost, women were serially raped, and economic businesses were in shambles especially those in agricultural produce, putting the community that’s known as the food basket of the region in economic crisis. Excerpt:
May we meet you?
Adewale Olufemi: Adewale Olufemi Salami, is my name, and I am a citizen of Nigeria and no other country. I was born on April 6, 1984, in Ibadan, Oyo State Nigeria, which is part of the Yoruba speaking part of Nigeria. My father, Jimoh Salami, and mother, Mopelola Salami were both born in Ibadan, Oyo State.
I finished my secondary education at Holy Trinity Grammar School, Old-Ife road, Ibadan, Oyo state in June 1999. While at secondary school, I used to assist my parents at the farm at Aba Alfa Village, Off White House, Olorunda, Ibadan, Oyo State. We had a cassava farm, poultry farm, fish ponds, and cattle. My interest in farming grew every day and I saw myself as a successful farmer in the future.
The incident that made you abandon the hope of becoming a great farmer, how and when did this happen?
Adewale Olufemi: My hope was dashed on December 26, 1999, when my father, Alhaji Ishola Jimoh Salami died and this affected the farming business. My dreams were shattered. My mother was not strong enough to run the business neither were any of my siblings. I was the last of six children of my parents and I was the only one that took to farming among them. There was no one to sponsor my university education to study agricultural science which was what I really wanted to study.
In order for me to have an education, my mother in agreement with my siblings had to sell the farmland and the amount of money realized was only able to send me to a Polytechnic. In March 2003, I gained admission into the Polytechnic Ibadan, Eruwa Satellite Campus, Okeogun- Ibarapa Local government area of Oyo state to study Business Studies and by July 2006, I got obtained my National Diploma.
While at the Polytechnic Ibadan, I fraternized with farmers in Eruwa, Igbo-ora, Aiyete, Iseyin, Idere, Lanlate, Igboho, Igangan, and environs with the ambition of going back to my father’s business, my dream of engaging in farming.
Towards the end of my studies, I was given one acre of farmland in the Abojukopo area of Idiyan, a village very close to Igangan by one of the notable farmers in Igangan Village, Oyo State, Alhaji Ajibade Ganiyu and I started off with poultry and cassava farming.
Igangan on the other hand is fertile with arable farmland that birthed Igangan Agro Park Investment. Iseyin is where the dairy business generates cash and peace among Fulani/Yoruba people. Eruwa on her own harbors peaceful co-existence between Fulani herders-farmers/Yoruba farmers in Oyo state.
Over the years, there have been a mixture of peaceful co-existence and somewhat misunderstanding between Fulani herders and Yoruba farmers/land owners, especially in the area of grazing of Yoruba farmers’ land and this has always been settled by community leaders, Chiefs, and Baales.
The sons and daughters of Okeogun are hard-working farmers who do not have other sources of livelihood. Many times Fulani herdsmen also dubbed ‘Bororo” ravaged our farms with their herds, stole our farm produce, beat us, rape our women, kidnapped some of us, and dare whoever comes to face them.
When Okeogun youths, which I am a member of realized that the Elders and Chiefs were overwhelmed with security pressures, we then formed a vigilante group under the aegis of Okeogun Youth Development Association to prevent Fulani herdsmen from attacking, grazing our farmlands, and also stealing and raping our women. The vigilante group became a solid security force for the whole community.
Sometime in December 2017, as we prepared for Christmas Chicken and Turkey sales, I ran into Dr. Fatai Aborode one of the brightest stars of Igangan who had completed his doctorate degree in the United Kingdom, (where he turned down at least two offers from pharmaceutical companies because he wanted to be self-employed. He returned home for the 2015 general elections, in which he contested for a seat in the National Assembly but lost. However, he was encouraged by his father and kinsmen to put politics aside and venture into rural development projects, that was how he came into farming.
Dr, Aborode and I became friends as fellow farmers and we had a lot of progressive plans to boost farming in Igangan and Oyo State in general. Mostly after a busy day at the farm, we would go out to have fun in neighboring villages like Eruwa and Lanlate. My farm was close to his farm.
I was supposed to have an appointment with Dr. Aborode on December 11, 2020, to discuss how to drive away the Fulani herdsmen from our community because of the havoc they commit especially on our farms but he later called to reschedule for December 12, 2020, at 12 noon. Around 7pm on that same day, December 11, 2020, I received a call from one of the youths of Igangan wanting to confirm if I was alive, and I asked why and he said the news around town was that Dr. Aborede and I were killed by Fulani Herdsmen on our way out of Dr. Aborode’s farm.
I was surprised, I even argued with him that Dr. Aborode and I talked on the phone a few hours ago, so I do not believe he was dead. I was at my farm close to Aborode’s farm when I received the call. A few minutes later I saw many youths arrive on motorbikes called Okada with cutlasses, bows, and arrows, chanting songs of vengeance.
Dr. Aborode, the Chief Executive Officer of Kunfayakun Green Treasures Limited, was killed near his farm along Apodun village, Igangan, by suspected Fulani herdsmen according to a villager. Another source said he died at Tapa town, about 15 minutes away from Igangan while they were rushing him to a hospital in Igbo Ora. However, the truth is that he was murdered.
Before the day of his murder, I and Dr. Aborode had an altercation with some herdsmen who had destroyed a part of my farm close to Dr. Aborode’s farm and his 50 hectares watermelon farm and when offered a compensation fee of Fifty Thousand Naira (N50,000) and Twenty Thousand Naira, (N20,000) respectively, we declined, saying we only want them to leave the area. After the killing of Dr. Aborede, I fled to Ibadan, Oyo State in Akaran area the following day.
Sunday Igboho, a well-known Yoruba Nation Agitator, how did he come in, especially in matters that concerned you?
Adewale Olufemi: The killing of Dr. Aborede made us (Igangan/Ibarapa Youths) storm the town and invite Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho to come to our aide. His sobriquet, Igboho, is taken from his town of origin, Igboho in the Orelope local government area of Oyo state. Over the years, he has worked as unofficial security personnel and doing underground jobs for politicians in Nigeria.
He is now being described as a grassroots mobilizer and Yoruba activist, and leader of an ethnic militia by the Nigerian media. His traditional powers have attracted politicians during electoral campaigns. On the streets, there are stories and myths of the manifestations of his powers. He rose to fame following his role in the Modakeke-Ife communal crisis in 1997, where he played an active part. He possesses some spiritual powers and he is most feared and respected by Yoruba people.
On January 15, 2021, Chief Sunday Igboho arrived in Igangan and addressed the youths and elders, he told them they needed to protect and reclaim the Yoruba land from “the invaders,” referred to as Fulani Herdsmen. However, he gave all the Fulani in Igangan/ Ibarapa local government a seven-day ultimatum to vacate.
On Friday, January 22, 2021, Igboho was given a hero’s welcome at Igangan town with pumps, drums, gongs, and pageantry by residents in the afternoon as he began to inspect whether any member of the Fulani community was still around. Scared, Fulanis in the town, including the Seriki, Saliu Abdulkadir fled for their lives before the arrival of battle-ready Igboho. But this did not spare some of their properties as about 11 vehicles and an uncertain number of houses were set ablaze by Igboho’s boys.
On Saturday, June 5, 2021, very close to 12 midnight on that fateful day, we began to hear the sounds of gunshots in Igangan. In our normal characteristics, we began to blow our whistles, beat drums, burn tires and prepare for protection. Mr. Lateef Adeniyi, who is the head of our vigilante group in Igangan mobilized and went ahead of us to fight unfortunately he was killed and macheted because he exhausted bullets in his gun, and the Fulani herders who came in full weaponry overpowered us and we all ran for our dear lives. Later we heard that it was a reprisal attack.
During the attack which lasted till around 3a.m. on Sunday, the Palace of the town’s monarch, the Asigangan of Igangan, one Adolak filling station, and numerous properties were attacked and burnt down.
Ever since this happened, Igangan has become famished. I had no choice but to relocate to Ibadan afterward to join Chief Sunday Igboho’s foot soldiers to resist banditry/herders and agitate for the Yoruba nation, a project initiated by Chief Sunday Adeniyi Igboho. We the Yoruba Nation activists also worked in collaboration with Professor Banji Akintoye the convener of ‘’Ilana Omo Odua’’, now the ‘’Yoruba self-determination Movement’’. I joined others in campaigning for a YORUBA nation all over the Yoruba states, towns, cities, and villages in South-West Nigeria.
All these while, I had to relocate my wife and two children from 10 Akobo Oju Irin, Off Festac Estate, Ibadan to my in-law’s house at Elekuro Village by Akaran Village, Ibadan, Oyo State. I became a devotee and follower of Sunday Igboho because after we have lost all we had; he took up our responsibilities.
On June 30, 2021, an arrangement for the Yoruba Nation mega rally in Lagos on July 1, 2021, was in top gear at about 10:00am. Chief Sunday Igboho told his right hand-man ‘Adogan’ to lead a team to Lagos ahead of the rally on a fact-finding mission regarding the situation on the ground.
Since I was not part of the team that went to Lagos, I decided to travel to Elekuro village to see my family
with the plan of joining other activists at Sunday Igboho’s Soka house en route to Lagos in the early morning of July 1, 2021
Early in the morning of July 1, 2021, as I was preparing to travel to Ibadan, I turned on the radio and tuned to Fresh FM 105.9, Ibadan, and heard the breaking news that Chief Sunday Igboho’s house was raided with sporadic gunshots. The first gunshot pierced through the window leading to Chief Sunday Igboho’s room but he was unhurt. Later there were sporadic gunshots into the building daring to kill anyone, unfortunately, Adogan was shot 48 times and when the bullets failed, Fresh FM reports said he was killed with a mortar. Another aid that was killed was Alfa.
According to the media, how Chief Sunday Igboho who was the main target escaped is still a mirage even to the Department of State Security (DSS). After bombarding the building with gunshots without any glimpse of him they took an innocent black cat away believing he turned into a cat.
The reason for the raid according to the DSS was based on an intelligence report that Chief Sunday Igboho had stockpiled arms in his house in preparation for the Yoruba Nation mega rally in Lagos.
About thirteen (13) people including twelve (12) males and one (1) female, were arrested and whisked to Abuja. The twelve (12) paraded were Abdulateef Ofeyagbe, Amoda Babatunde Aka Lady K (Female), Tajudeen Erinoyen
Diekola Ademola, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Noah, Ayobami Donald, Adelabe Usman
Oluwafelumi Kunle, Raji Kazeem, Taiwo Opeyemi And Bamidele Sunday. Chief Sunday Igboho, the main target was later declared wanted by the Nigerian government. As soon as I had the news of the DSS raid, I took off to Lagos to join Yoruba nation agitators for the Lagos Mega rally. On getting to Lagos, I discovered the raid on Chief Sunday Igboho’s house debarred the rally from taking place on July 1, 2021. So I met with some members of Ilana Omo Oodua at a hide-out in Ojota, Lagos gazing at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park in Ojota, Lagos (the Venue of the Protest).
After a series of meetings and contacts, we were joined by another group of agitators at the Freedom Park, Ojota Lagos on July 3, 2021. Chief Sunday Igboho, the convener of Yoruba Nation, and Professor Banji Akintoye the convener of Ilana Omo Odua were absent at the protest.
It was obvious that the Nigeria Police who had declared Chief Sunday Igboho wanted were also on the lookout for his staunch supporters including me because I was conspicuous at everywhere Chief Sunday
Igboho took the Yoruba Nation rally to the South – West. I was decked in a Jalamia, a bushy beard, and a cap as a means of disguise and no one noticed me even some of the activists who knew me with Chief Sunday Igboho could not identify who I was.
At the Lagos mega rally in Ojota, as early as 6:00am a lot of people including members of the Oodua People’s Congress, traditionalist groups, students, market men and women, transporters, and many more gathered in groups with placards, banners, megaphones and many more.
However, the police disrupted the rally saying they needed to forestall a breakdown of law and order citing the carnage that occurred during the End SAR protest in October 2020 at Lekki toll gate, Lagos. I led some of the protesters in a face-off with the police as they tear-gassed the venue, however, they arrested some of us including some other secessionists but fortunately, I escaped. The names of those arrested according to the press were: Abiodun Taiwo (female), Adagunodo Babatunde, Oluwafemi Adeleye, Oloye Taiwo, Saheed Kareem, Adebayo, Waheed, Akinbode Sunday, Lawal Akeem, Samuel Ire, Ogundile Dare. Others were Tajudeen Bakare, Abiodun Adenuga, Azeez Adetayo, Rasheed Shittu, Quadri Ishola, Oluwasegun Arire, Kunle Aremo, Olamilekan Lolade, Tunde Lawal, Musbau Rasaq and Bamidele Akomolafe.
All those arrested were paraded before the media before they were taken away and the police promised to arrest some of us who were at large in no distant time. After the failed rally, I entered the night bus and fled to Eyenkorin town via Ilorin, Kwara State and I stayed with my sister, Remi Salami for a week. Throughout my stay, my sister never knew about my involvement in the Yoruba Nation protest let alone my association with Chief Sunday Adeyemo. I told her I came to visit her because it’s been a while. But eventually, I told her after I arrived overseas.
Life in the Diaspora, how has it been?
Adewale Olufemi: I have been living a nomadic life, with no clear job. Chief Sunday Igboho who has been sustaining me and some other protesters with financial support throughout the season of protest for the secession of the Yoruba from Nigeria has been in a detention facility in Cotonou, Benin Republic since his arrest around 8pm on July 19, 2021, and the Octogenarian, Professor of History, Professor Banji Akintoye, the leader Ilana Omo Odua whose group have also been supporting us have also absconded to Cotonou, Benin Republic. I was left with no choice but to also protect my own life and travel out of the country for safety after living in fear and being unsettled for a while. I was issued a visa on 23 June 2022 and I left Nigeria for overseas on 25 July 2022, and I arrived on 26 July 2022.