Ijare community, in the Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State on Saturday witnessed a great shock as lightning struck 36 Fulani herdsmen cows due to grazing on sacred land.
It was gathered that the Fulani herdsmen who were in the area used to lead their cattle to graze on farmlands, which had caused crisis between them and the farmers in the agrarian community.
A source said the herders took their cattle to a bush called Oke Owa, which nobody was permitted to enter except the king because the land was sacred. It was gathered while grazing, lightning struck and killed no fewer than 36 of the cows.
“The whole town shook when the lightning struck and we started wondering what could have happened. But later we heard the herdsmen stepped beyond their boundaries by going to the place to graze. It is a sacred land, we don’t enter there, it is only the king that can go there.”
The source, however, noted that there was no life lost, saying immediately the cows were struck dead, the herdsmen took to their heels.
Confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer of the Ondo State Police Command, Mr Femi Joseph, described it as a natural disaster.
“It was a natural disaster and there is nothing anyone can do about it. It is very unfortunate,” he said.
But one of the traditional chiefs in the town, Wemimo Olaniran, said the cows were killed because the animals were taken to a traditional ‘no go area’.
He said, “We were there this morning and we saw about 36 cows dead apart from the one inside the bush. It has happened and there is nothing we can do; we regard it as the act of God which nobody can query.
“There have been occasions like that but not as massive we have it now. Some individuals who desecrated the land in the past did witness lightning attack.
“Five days before this time, we learnt that Fulani men were there to carry wood to build their tent and we feared they were taking over the land from us? And we pray to God to save us, to intervene because we don’t want anything to desecrate the place because it is a very special place as far as Ijare community is concerned.”
In his reaction, the state Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Bello Garuba, who also confirmed the killing of the cattle, described it as sad.
He said there was nothing they could do about it because it was an act of God, saying, “The owner must take heart.”
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