Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti
The death of an 85-year-old peasant farmer in Ipole-Iloro Ekiti, Ekiti West local government area of the state, Pa Julius Awe, is now causing crisis in the community.
The late octogenarian and retired civil servant was said to have left home at the early hour of the fateful day to his farm located along Efon-Alaye express way when he was murdered in his farmland by three teenagers.
The peasant farmer usually employ labourers on yearly basis to cultivate large expanse of yam farm and other cash crops in the area, so as to have bumper harvest during the new yam harvest time.
The late octogenarian, it was learnt, built a hurt in his farm and equipped it with household equipment where he used to relax after the day’s work before he would return home in Ipole-Iloro Ekiti.
According to a source close to the family of the late octogenarian in Ipole-Iloro Ekiti, the old man was on his farm on the fateful day when three teenagers who were said to be students of a public secondary school in the state, suddenly emerged and made efforts to cart away his already harvested yams from the farm.
The late peasant farmer was said to have made frantic efforts to restrain the teenagers who later attacked him and strangled him to death, before they carted away his yams and other farm produce.
The source disclosed that the lifeless body of the 85-year old man was later discovered in the night lying in the pool of his blood in his farm.
The discovery of the lifeless body later threw the entire community into mourning immediately the news concerning the death of the man filtered into the area.
The matter was later reported at a police post in Ipole-Iloro Ekiti, by members of his family. It was gathered that the deceased had written several petitions to the police over several attacks on him by suspected hoodlums in the area.
According to the first son of the late peasant farmer who identified his name as Sunday Awe, he said his father used to obtain loans from the bank to employ labourers to cultivate yam farm on large scale.
He said his late father had lodged several complaints over what he called invasions and attacks by suspected hoodlums in his farm.
Awe who claimed to be the first son of the deceased farmer said the old man had left home on the fateful day to his farm located along old Efon-Alaye highway to work, before three teenagers who are students of a public secondary school came to his farm to cart away his tubers.
“The deceased was said to have resisted the invasion of his farm by the three teenagers before they attacked him and killed him in the farm and later carted away some tubers of yam while they left his lifeless body in the farm.’
The family who waited for the late octogenarian to return home in the evening had contacted the police and reported the matter before his lifeless body was later found in his farmland with several injuries on his body and face.
The Ekiti State Police Command immediately launched manhunt over the incident and later confirmed the arrest of three teenagers who specialize in attacking farmers on their farm lands and stealing their farm produce.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the command, Mr Sunday Abutu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), the suspects of suspects, Ogunlusi Damilola, 17, Olorunsola Segun, 18 are, and Sekoni Tunde, 19.
He said the suspects were arrested in a farm settlement located along Iyin/Ado-Ekiti express road by the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) upon complaints by some farmers in the area.
Spokesperson of the Ekiti State Police Command said during interrogation, the suspects confessed that they had attacked other farmers with machetes and carted away some tubers of yam.
“They also confessed that they recently entered another farm settlement at Ipole-Ekiti where one 85-year-old man, Awe Julius ‘m’ was inflicted with serious injuries and ten tubers of yam were carted away in the process.
“The 85-year-old victim later died while receiving treatment at Ekiti State Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti. The stolen yam tubers were recovered, while effort was still ongoing to arrest other members of the gang at large.”
On when the suspects will be arraigned in court, the Ekiti State Police command image maker said investigation was still ongoing, saying they would be arraigned in court as soon as investigation is completed on the matter.