Cattle’s remains burnt with two pick-up loads of disused tyres
The leaders of the Fulani community in Osun State have risen in aid of the herdsman in whose custody the 17 cows destroyed by lightning in Iba, Ifelodun Local Government Area of the town last Saturday.
More than 40 cows in the custody of a youthful herdsman named Ismaila Mohammadu were reportedly struck dead by lightning around 6 pm penultimate Friday.
Narrating the incident in a chat with our correspondent, the Baale Fulani of Iba, Jimoh Soliu, said: “It happened around 6:30 pm on Friday. We had just returned to our village after grazing. We tethered the animals and our men had already retired into their huts because it was threatening to rain.
“Suddenly, we heard a loud sound of thunder. We lost 17 cows and two sheep in the incident. Many of our men and animals in our herd suffered shock.
“It was a strange occurrence but we are not blaming anyone.”
The Seriki Fulani for Osun State, Oluwatoyin Suleiman, has sought assistance from the state government, saying that Mohammadu had lost all he laboured for over the years.
He said: “We are very saddened by the incident and we are appealing to the government to help the herder that lost many cows in the ugly incident.
“We have ensured that the affected animals were properly destroyed to avoid health and environmental hazard as instructed by the state government.
“No Fulani man is leaving the state because of the incident. The movement of cows, cattle and other animals is a normal practice by herders to find suitable locations to feed their animals.
“Seeing the movement of our people and cows does not mean we are leaving the state.”
Efforts made by our correspondent to get Mohammadu for an interview during the week were fruitless as he was said not only to have been devastated by the loss, he was also travelling around the state to seek help from some of his kinsmen with a view to mitigating his loss.
The state government and the Iba in Council have since mobilised for the incineration of the bodies of the deceased animals to prevent an outbreak of epidemics.
The Esa of Iba, Chief Gabriel Oyelade, who spoke with our correspondent, said that two pick-up vans were mobilized to convey disused tyres into the town to burn up the dead cows.
But before the exercise, the state governor, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, had sent a delegation led by his Special Adviser on Agriculture and Food Security, Abiodun Ajisefini, to sympathise with the herdsmen and the people of Iba over the incident.
Oyetola commended the people of Iba for living an exemplary life of peaceful co-existence with cattle traders of Fulani extraction in the community.
He said: “Lightning is a natural phenomenon we have no control over. The traders who suffered this loss are part of us. They have lived here for decades and I commend them for their exemplary contributions to peace in Iba community.
“I want to assure them of my support and indeed government’s support at a time like this.”
The Eburu of Iba, Oba Adekunle Adeogun Okunoye Oyedeji, assured that the situation will not create a problem in the community, saying that the people of Iba have been living harmoniously with Fulani natives for years without any issue.
The monarch said: “The death of the cows belonging to the Fulani cattle rearers living among us was a natural occurrence occasioned by a thunder that struck in the town.
“The cows were killed by thunder at Apala farm in the territory of Iba under Ifelodun Area Office.
“The community, in collaboration with the leadership of the Fulani community, is on top of the situation.”