By Ayodele Oni
The sleepy and restive community of Orin Ekiti got more than what it bargained for when some yet to be identified hoodlums whose mission in the town is yet to be ascertained, killed a front line leader and popular activist, Mr Emmanuel Ilori and fled.
Emmanuel Ilori, a retired engineer with the defunct National Electric Power Authority, (NEPA) was destined to die on that fateful day, according to his wife, and children.
As painful as Ilori death to the family and the community, his first son, Olugbenga has vowed to continue where his father stopped, to fight for and defend the community as well as ensure that killers of his father are made to face the wrath of the law.
Olugbenga, who spoke during a visit to the family compound at Orin disclose that it was unfortunate that security agents, army, police and civil defence that came when his father’s death was reported were afraid to enter the abandoned farm settlement bush where the suspected killers were ambushed.
Olugbenga explained that he had to hire an okada rider when the security agents complained of lack of fuel in their truck and joined by some local hunters before they followed them into the bush. He said although he was sad that his father died, but he is happy that he died like a warrior and in the course of saving his people from the menace of invading suspected Fulani herdsmen. He has been a thorn in the flesh of herdsmen in the area.
“My father had all what it take for him to escape unhurt after he was shot with AK47 rifles severally by his killers but none of the bullets penetrated his body. He had to singlehandedly faced them while other hunters that accompanied him had fled,” he stated.
According to him, one of the hunters that called to inform his father about the presence of the strangers in the farm settlement and led the team of hunters showed him the lifeless body of his father inside the abandoned piggery constructed by former Governor Segun Oni but later abandoned.
“From what I saw, I know my father was stabbed with a sharp object after the gun bullets did not penetrate his body. I suspect a collaboration of some natives with the killers because they had been around and some people were supplying them pure water and food. Even I saw leftovers of jollof rice that was served at a party held earlier in the day in Orin at the camp.”
The first daughter of the deceased, Mrs Olanike Akinwumi who collaborated the explanation of his brother said that she never knew that her father later went out on the fateful night as all of them had bidden each other good night. He was said to have received a call informing him of the presence of strange persons at the farm settlement and as one of the hunters, he mobilized others to confront them.
Mrs Akinwumi described her late father as a man of the people loved by all, bold and never run away from challenges. She also confirmed that she had to personally provide fuel for the vehicles brought by the security agents before they were able to go to the scene of the incident.
The only honour, they could do so that her father’s death will not be in vain, according to her, is for the state government to bring back activities at the Orin farm settlement and name the farm after his father. “He is the Jesus Christ of Orin community that came to lay down his life for peace to reign in the community,” she added.
The wife of the deceased, a retired teacher went down the memory lane that some Fulani herds men led by one Abase had been living at the abandoned farm settlement as far back as 1959. She disclosed that one pregnant woman was also butchered there last year and after her corpse stayed at the mortuary for almost eight months, she was buried and up till now, police in Ido/Osi local government are yet to make any arrest.
She said that she got to know about the death of her husband on the next day while going for morning mass. The bereaved wife explained that her husband was not on hunting expedition when he was killed but was invited to confront some strange persons sighted at the farm settlement.
She explained further that it was only last year that her late husband maize plantation of over four hectares were destroyed by cows and up till the time of his death, the owners of the cows were promising to compensate him.
One of the deceased relations, advised that the only solution to put an end to the menace of herdsmen in the community is for the state government to revive the farm settlement, which he described as the largest so far in the state.
He said herdsmen have completely taken over the farm settlement while their cows continue to ravage farmers plantation, as well as terrorize the farmers.
Ekiti state Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi is among those that had paid condolence visit to the family if the deceased at Orin. Dr Fayemi, accompanied by security chiefs directed the commissioner of police in the state to immediately set up a police post in the community as part of measures to check the menace of the herdsmen.
Also, Senator Adetunmbi representing Ekiti north at the Senate and Bishop Felix Ajakaye of Ekiti Catholic diocese joined others to condole the family of the deceased.
Senator Adetunmbi described ad unfortunate for a peaceful community like Orin to experience such a tragedy and charged security agents to unravel those behind the crime and bring them to book.
The lawmaker stated that the issue of a state police need to be revisited to put an end to herdsmen killing innocent people.
Going by the number of those that have signed the condolence register at the deceased family compound, he was actually what people say about him and the vacuum left behind by his death may take a long time to be filled by the family and Orin Ekiti community.