Not less than 36 cows, belonging to a herdsman identified as Ladam, were struck dead on Saturday, by lightning at Ijare sacred hill in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Ladan, who is based in Kwara State, had come to the hill, known as Oke-Owa, on the outskirts of the agrarian community, to graze his herd, when the incident occurred.
The hill is said to be only visited by the king of the town and some chiefs once in a year, during the celebration of the new yam festival, to perform some rituals.
The incident was said to have been accompanied by a thunderstorm. When the traditional ruler, Olujare of Ijare, Oba Adegbamigbe Oluwagbenigun, was informed he delegated some chief to confirm. A report was later made to the Police to avoid breakdown of law and order, after which the hill became a tourist centre, as people from within and outside the community trooped to the scene to see the dead cows.
one of the Ijare chief Reacting on behalf of the traditional ruler, Chief Wemimo Olaniran, the Sapetu of Ijare, said it was “an act of God’’: It’s taboo to go there— “The herdsmen had been destroying our farmland for a very long time, leading to confrontations on many occasions.
We have also warned against their cows going to the sacred hill, but they won’t listen.” He said it was surprising to them when they heard, days ago, that some herdsmen were ascending the sacred hill to settle after they had destroyed many farmlands and created fears in the minds of the people. His words: “We were there this morning(yesterday) and we saw about 36 cows dead,
“There have been occasions like that, but not this massive. In the past, we did witness thunderbolt attack when you desecrated any part of Ijare, particularly the sacrifice places; the grove. “The dead cows will be there forever. It is part of the history in our land, for people to see as testimony in future that such a thing happens. A whole Oba was buried there live and heaven did not fall, talk less of ordinary cows.
“Oke-Owa is a sacred hill, where the Oba and some of his chiefs visit once a year during new yam festival to offer sacrifices on behalf of the community. “Even those chiefs accompanying the Oba must not go to the inner part of the hill, because there is a particular place where only the Oba has to enter and spend a night. That is what these herdsmen wanted to desecrate with their herds. It is a taboo. Cattle market in our place is not a blessing, but a curse
“Those cows would remain there and rot because nobody must touch them, otherwise there would be problem.
” However the Chairman of Miyetti Allah in the state, Alhaji Bello Garuba, who confirmed the incident, described it as sad. Garuba said: “There is nothing we can do about it, because it was an act of God. We have told the owner of the cows to take heart.” Police image maker, Femi Joseph, who also confirmed that the matter was reported at Ijare Police Station, described the incident as a natural disaster, that is unfortunate and which nobody can do anything about.