Hoodlums suspected to be herdsmen on Friday attacked farmers at Nirowo forest along Benin – Ore expressway in Odigbo local government of Ondo State.
Some of them were shot in the process and now receiving medical attention in an undisclosed hospital in Ore.
One of the victims, Sunday Wekoyo was said to have narrowly escaped death with gunshot wounds.
Wekoyo, an indigene of Ebonyi State was said to be a farmer and hunter in the forest for about five years.
While narrating his ordeal on the hospital bed, he said “I was in the forest to check my traps before a group of the herdsmen numbering about 12, who I initially thought were local vigilante group, ordered me to come closer before they opened fire on me.
” Out of fear, I moved near them, they pointed their guns, that was how I quickly climbed my motorcycle, and in my attempt to flee, they released the bullets on me. I became so weak immediately but managed to walk some distance to a nearby camp where I sought assistance”
He said this was not the first time herdsmen would be terrorizing them in the forest but has always been lucky.
The leader of the vigilante group in Ore, Olawale Aboyede confirmed the incident.
He said he was on the farm when he heard about the incident and has to quickly mobilize his men to rescue the victim to the hospital.
Aboyede said he suspected that the bandits were syndicate who migrated from another country to unleash terror on them.
He said, “from our finding, we heard that these herdsmen are not from Nigeria, they came from the Niger Republic to kidnap, steal, kill and make money in the forest”.
Aboyede narrated how one of their victims, a pastor, was kidnapped and later killed last year.
He commended the police force for doing their best, stressing that the area is a difficult terrain and the expanse of the forest which he described as very huge with a boundary across Osun, Oyo and Ogun state.
Besides, he urged the state government to come to their aid by empowering the locals with little stipends to construct checkpoints at the old Benin – Ore toll gate to be manned by Military men in order to checkmate activities of criminals
The police spokesman, Femi Joseph, a Superintendent of Police(SP) could not be reached for comments on the incident.