Temitope Adedeji, Akure
Indigenes of Araromi Obu community in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State have cried out over persistent attacks on their people by the Ikales of Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state.
With two deaths confirmed, the community leaders, who addressed newsmen in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Wednesday, stated that the social-economic activities of the town crumbled due to the constant attacks.
It will be recalled that fight broke out when farmers of Araromi Obu community were allegedly prevented by their Ikale neighbours from going to the farm in the early hours of Tuesday.
It was gathered that the Ikales were acting based on a court ruling of the Ondo State High Court in Akure, the Ondo capital which declared Ikale community as the real owners of the land being claimed by the people of Araromi Obu.
According to one of the leaders of the community, Senator Omololu Meroyi, who disclosed that their Araromi Obu, which is their ancestral land has been in existence for the past 500 years, stressing that their current monarch, Oba Aderemi Adelola is the 18th Oba of the community without any contention from their Ikale neighbours.
Meroyi, a former senator added that after the High Court ruling, an appeal was filed as well as a stay of execution.
According to him, “Our experience with the last few days has been buttering Araromi Obu because a few people want to drive us away from our homeland.
“Farmers cannot go to the stream. Even workers cannot go to their place of work.
“We’re born in Araromi Obu. We have never had any landlord. What we’ve had were people who beg us to give them land to farm. A court case gave part of our land to Ikale people but an appeal has been filed to that effect.
“History of Araromi Obu span over 500 years. We have about 4000 hectares of rubber plantation, which is one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa as well as oil palm plantation.”
Meroyi added that their resolve not to retaliate should not be seen as that of cowardice but because of their law-abiding nature.
“We have been living peacefully until the unwarranted attacks on us by the Ikales.
“We are not ready to cede our land to anybody; we want the public to know that we are the rightful owners of the land.
“It has never been in the history book that we are tenants on our land. Our current Oba is the 18th Oba and nobody from Ikale has ever been made Ajobu of Araromi Obu,” he said.
Also, one of the sons of the community, who is a former chairman of Odigbo Local Government, Prince Olu Falolu, maintained that the continued harassment and brutalisation on them by the Ikales will henceforth be resisted.
He, however, appealed to the state government as well as security operatives to come to the aide of the community before the situation further degenerates.