By Bright Gbotemi
According to reports, on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 the Ilobu-Asake Development Union alleged that despite the peace accord signed with the State government, the people of Ifon-Osun have continued to attack and destroy properties of Ilobu indigenes.
According to the protesters, the hoodlums suspected to be Ifon indigenes have destroyed their farmlands and carted away their farm produce.
Armed with placards with inscriptions such as; “We call for justice”, “ We farm on Oyo land not Ifon-Osun”, Save Our Soul”, Our means of livelihood is at stake,” the farmers said their farmlands belongs to Oyo State and not Ifon community.
Mr Basiru Adegbenro who spoke on behalf of the protesters, said:
“Since the 4th of October, the people of Ifon have been attacking us on our farms at Abebi, Ologele, Oloso, Idi-Iroko, Baara villages and so on.
We were not farming on their land. The land we are occupying currently belongs to Oyo state.
“They have destroyed our farmlands and taken away our farm produce. They also burnt our houses.
“We don’t have anything to rely on again. We did not know what we did to them to warrant this action.
In his submission, Olawoyin Wakili, who claimed to have been attacked by Ifon people last week Saturday, said he was coming back from his farm around Owode village when he was waylaid by the hoodlums.
He said the hoodlums claimed Ilobu people have been warned not to step on Ifon land again.
“I asked what the problem was and they told me they had announced that any Ilobu indigene should not come near Ifon land again. I told them I didn’t hear about that. They said I have to see the Eesa of Ifon.
“I ignored them and started my bike. I was about to get to Orolu Grammar School when I saw that they had laid an ambush for me. I was beaten mercilessly with cutlass.
The IDU called on the State Government to continue engaging the two communities on the need to sustain the peace.
IDU lamented that no engagement has been held since October 6 when the peace deal was signed.
The National Public Relations Officer of IDU, Mr Tairu Babatunde, made the call at a press briefing on Wednesday.
IDU said: “It is, however, disheartening and shocking that despite this olive branch extended by the people of Ilobu to our neighbours, most particularly, the people of Ifon-Osun, what we receive is more attacks, dehumanisation, destruction of properties and harassment of our people. This is very sad.
“Since the ceasefire was declared, our people who are plying their trades in villages such as Oloso, Idi-Iroko, Owode and several other villages in Oyo State have not been allowed to witness peace. It has been attacks over attacks, harassment and torture. We believe this must stop.
“We call for the immediate arrest and prosecution of everyone mentioned, including Jide Akinyooye and the Eesa of Ifon, Babatunde Oyetunji.
“We want to advise the State Government that peace building is a process and not an action, we want them to continue engagement as no engagement has been held since October 6 when the peace deal was signed.
“We also want the agents of the government, particularly, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security, Adekunle Omoyele, to stop acting like an agent of Ifon people.”
Upon the allegations, the Ifon-Orolu Progressive Union (IPU) accused the Ilobu people of trying to cede a land belonging to Osun State to Surulere Local Government area of Oyo State in a bid to frustrate Ifon people.
The union, in a statement signed by its Secretary, Prince Jide Akinyooye, refuted claims by Ilobu, that Ifon indigenes were intimidating, harassing and looting from farms owned by Ilobu indigenes.
IPU urged the State Government to investigate the claims by the people of Ilobu that Abebi, Idi-Iroko Model Town, Wale, Ologele, Oloso, Molufon, Bolorunduro villages, among other places in the jurisdiction of Olufon Ward 10, Orolu Local Government, Ifon-Osun are covered by Surulere Local Government of Oyo State.
The statement reads in part: “Importantly, we would like to call the attention of the Osun State Government that we have all evidence that the people of Ilobu are relentless to sabotage the ongoing peace efforts and tragically conceding Osun State territory to Surulere Local Government area of Oyo State in a fruitless mischievous trick to frustrate the people of Orolu Local Government area of Osun State.
“There is no iota of truth in the allegations that indigenes of Ifon are intimidating, harassing and looting Ilobu people’s farms. Also, nobody is chasing them out of their farmlands. They have emphatically confused themselves that their people are farming in Oyo State.
“How possible is it that Orolu will be chasing people farming in Oyo State territory? The raw fact is that Ilobu has colluded with some stakeholders in Oyo State to concede some villages under Orolu Local Government, Osun State, to Oyo State out of malice for Ifon.
“We are calling on the Government of Osun State to investigate the calculated mischievous latter-day claims by the people of Ilobu that Abebi Village, Idi-Iroko Model Town, Wale Village, Ologele Village, Olosho Village, Molufon, Bolorunduro Village among other places in jurisdiction of Olufon Ward 10 in Orolu Local Government, Ifon-Osun are covered by Surulere Local Government of Oyo State.
“This wrong impression is not only unfortunate but unimaginable from well-identified Ilobu people that have grossly benefited from the magnanimity of Olufon as Olufon’s customary tenants over decades.
“The Orolu Stakeholders are openly declaring that the people in referred areas of Orolu Local Government area of Osun State have been under the administrative jurisdiction of Osun State and equally participating in voting exercise as a major part of Osun State since 1999.