The Fulani community in Okpanam town, Oshimili North local government area of Delta State has appealed to security agencies to properly investigate the razing of their hamlets and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Fulani settlement in the Obodogba district of Okpanam78 was recently razed by irate youths who allegedly destroyed other properties, stole money and killed one cow in what is believed to be a reprisal attack following the killing of two vigilantes, including the leader of an Okpanam vigilante group by unknown gunmen.
But the president of Obodogba youths, Christopher Agali, has since exonerated the youths of Okpanam from the mob action that led to the razing of the Fulani settlement.
Regardless, the leader of the Fulani residents in the area, Abubakar Haruna, said youths from the community allegedly invaded the camp to destroy their properties on the ground that they were responsible for the killing of the vigilantes.
While appealing to government to provide them with security, Haruna said they were law-abiding citizens who will never contemplate taking the law into their hands no matter the level of provocation.
Counsel to the Fulani residents, Mohammed Elunor, described the mob action as unfortunate, saying that a petition has already be forwarded to the police to investigate the matter.
Elunor stated that it was wrong for Okpanam natives to tag Fulani settlers as criminals, insisting that it was a bogus allegation that kidnappers and killers were from the Fulani settlement.
“It is quite unfortunate because there is no vicarious liability in criminal matters. If there was a kidnapping incident within Okpanam community, it is not sufficient for them to now identify the Fulani settlement and destroy their property, it is not good at all.
“The allegation that the kidnappers are from here and that the people are shielding them is too bogus, it is not correct. Relating kidnapping to Fulani tribe is not peculiar to Okpanam, it is something happening in most rural areas in Nigeria,” Elunor said.
He said he had been able to dissuade the Fulani settlers from avenging the attack to avoid a cycle of violence, adding that “we have written petition to the Commissioner of Police in the state to fish out those who came to set the area ablaze.”