The Ogun State Government has debunked on Monday debunked reports being circulated in some news media that people affected by herdsmen attacks in some parts of Yewa North and Imeko-Afon Local Government Areas, have fled their communities to seek refuge in the neighbouring Republic of Benin.
The Chairman, Ogun State Peace Keeping Committee on Farmers/Herders Conflict, Kayode Oladele, made this refutal in his remark at a meeting of the Committee, held at the Obas’ Complex Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
According to him, the purported movement of the people was that of those who were not actual indigenes of the communities, but those who came from the neighbouring country to lease farmlands in the area.
Oladele said that there was no crisis in Yewaland that would warrant its people to flee and become refugees in another country.
He said, “There was a publication that Yewa farmers are now refugees in Benin Republic, that has no iota of truth. Yewa, being a border community also plays host to other people from our sisters and brothers on the other side of the border, that is on the side of the Republic of Benin.
“We have the Hohori and some Eguns who come from time to time to lease farmland in Yewaland, live with us and they have been doing that for years.
“So, when problem and conflict started, the natural thing is for them to return to their home country. Therefore, many of the people that you are seeing are not actually the original indigenes of Yewa, they are the people from the other side of the border, who because of the crisis have moved to their country.
“So, it is not as if Yewa people have relocated, we don’t have refugee crisis in Yewa.”
Oladele also said that the committee at no time asked the people of Yewaland to stop going to their farms, stressing that the committee had no power to do so.
He added that the committee only gave an advice to the people residing in the epicentre of the crisis to stay clear of their farms or go in groups if they must go and farm.
According to him, the advice was meant for the residents of the people in Asa and not the whole of Yewaland.
He further stated, “There was a publication to the effect that this committee has advised Yewa farmers not to go to their farms, indeed, that was inaccurate and misrepresentation of our intent, this committee has no power to order anybody not to go to farm.
“During one of our fact finding visits to the affected areas, Asa village is the epicentre of this crisis in Yewa North Local Government.
“So, when we got there, the acting Baale of the town, after taking us through the wreckage, told us that there were fears of imminent attacks by the herders, but, in the circumstances they found yourselves, we advised them that they can hold on until everything was okay and that if they must go out to the farm, then, they have to go in groups.
“That advice was meant for Asa village and not for the whole of Yewa.”