Oyo female farmers cry out over rape of aged women by herdsmen
Female farmers in Oyo State who are members of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, have cried out over the alleged rape of aged female farmers by some herdsmen in the state.
One of the female farmers in Iseyin Local Government Area of the state, Kadijat Odunola, warned the suspected Fulani herders to stop sexually molesting their female farmers.
She said: “Our people have spoken but I want to talk about rape of older women by young suspected Fulani herders. This is abominable and it should not happen again. Some of them would meet female farmers in the bush and rape them.
“Some of these women are old and have stopped mensuration a long time ago and even their husbands don’t touch them again. But they would meet them in the bush and molest them sexually.
“Fulani girls and women are beautiful but despite that, no Yoruba boy or man has even met them in the bush and rape them. It has never happened around this axis.
“So, let us tell them that their children (young herders) must not molest our mothers and other females again. Anybody caught doing this should be heavily punished according to the law and I believe that will serve as a deterrent to others.”
Reacting, the secretary of AFAN in the state, Mr Adewumi Abass, said a meeting would be organised so that stakeholders could say whatever was bothering them, assuring that all the issues would be addressed.
He said everything must be done to ensure peaceful coexistence between farmers and herders because both were into food production.
He said: “There must be a peaceful relationship between herders and farmers. Farm destruction must stop because pastoralists who rear livestock are doing so for money and farmers who grow crops also do so for money. Therefore, we must not allow one to disturb the other.
“Destruction of crops and farmland will aggravate food scarcity and this will affect everybody. Herders must not destroy crops and farmers should also not kill herders’ animals. We have been living together peacefully before and this should continue.”
The leader of Fulani in Iseyin Local Government Area, Alhaji Yakubu Bello, identified the language barrier and ethnicity as some of the factors responsible for the incessant crisis between herders and farmers.
He, however, said such a crisis was not common in the local government area because of the understanding and respect the host community and Fulani people had. He expressed joy about the meeting and said he and his kinsmen would also ensure that the relationship between the two groups got better.
“Anybody who commits a crime should be punished, whether he or she is a herder or a farmer. That will serve as a deterrent to others,” he emphasized.