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Police detain farmer for rejecting hunters association

by Zakariyyah Mukhtar

Police detain farmer for rejecting hunters association

A pastor, David Akinola, was on Monday, April 3, arrested and detained by the Ogun State Police Command over his alleged refusal to join members of the Association of Hunters in the state.

It was gathered that some officers from Ogumakin Police Station stormed his house in the Obafemi Owode his son-in-law, Sunmonu Adebowale, allegedly on the orders of the head of hunters in Abeokuta, Alao Yesuf.

Speaking with our correspondent, Akinola, who is also a farmer in the community, said he was pressured by the hunters’ group to join the association some years ago.

Akinola, who claimed to have repeatedly turned down the request, said members of the group started to victimise him by invading his farm and seizing his traps.

He said, “About nine years ago, the association of hunters in our community approached me to join them. They also said I would be paying dues and also worship the god of iron as a member. But I declined and told them that it was against my Christian faith.

“When I insisted on not joining them, they started entering my farm without my knowledge. That started about four years ago. They would pack all the traps on it and take them away. They did this repeatedly and even sometimes; they took away the traps with the games they caught.

“When the victimisation became too much, I decided to engage officials of Human Rights last week and told them what I was going through. And that was how they wrote a letter to Araba who is their head and requested a meeting for an amicable resolution.

“While we were expecting their response, the next we saw were policemen. They arrested us and when we got to the station, the DPO said what led to our arrest was more than the issue of the traps and that we had disrespected Araba.”

Sunmonu, who used to be part of the association, said he renounced his membership due to the way his wife’s father was treated.

“I used to set traps on his farm until they challenged me to desist from doing so because he refused to join them. I told them that I would pay the dues on his behalf but they insisted that he must join them.

“So I felt there was no need for me to belong to a group that does not support me in assisting my relatives. That was why I left the association in January,” he said.

Yesuf, however, denied forcing the pastor to join the association, adding that he only acted on a report relating to the traps on his farm.

He said, “I did not order his arrest and I did not force him to join our association. The association is divided into zones and the members of the zone in his area were the ones that came to complain about his traps to me.

“They said the traps harm their dogs and are also capable of harming people. I have not been to the farm, but since they came to report him, I asked him to come so that I can settle the matter amicably but he did not show up.

“The hunters in his area were those that seized the traps and took them to the station. Although, a leader in his community told me today that the hunters in his area were forcing him to join their association, that was not my concern. It is his choice to join or not.”

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, denied knowledge of the incident.

“I am not aware of the incident. I will make my findings and get back to you,” he promised.

 

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