A mysterious thunder struck on Saturday night in Oke Owa, Ijare community in Ifedore Local Government Area of Ondo State, killing at least 36 cows.
Community leaders suggested that the disaster was due to the desecration of the sacred shrine by Fulani herders who intruded into the shrine of the ancient deity.
Despite the supernatural interpretation by the traditionalists, police said the thunderstorm that killed the cows was a natural disaster.
It was gathered that the cows were struck dead at the rocky elevation said to be sacred to the community.
When journalists visited the scene of the incident on Sunday, about 36 dead cows were found littering the place.
The traditional ruler of the community, the Olujare of Ijare, Adebamigbe Oluwagbemigun (Kokotiri II), told journalists that the mysterious incident occurred because of the trespass of the sacred place where people were forbidden to go.
Speaking on behalf of the Olujare, one of the chiefs, the Sapetu of Ijare, Wemimo Olaniran, said the Fulani herders were the ones who came to the palace to report the case.
Mr Olaniran, who is next to the Olujare in rank, described the incident as the act of God which no one could query, saying the place is sacred to the Ijare people.
“We were there this morning and we saw about 36 cows dead apart from the one inside the bush,” said Mr Olaniran.
“It has happened and there is nothing we can do about it, we regard it as the act of God which nobody can be query.
“There have been occasions like that before, but not as massive as we are having it now. Some individuals who desecrated the land in the past did witness thunderstorm attack.
“When you desecrate any part of Ijare, particularly the sacrifice places, the grove, such incident would happen so we don’t allow any person to go there.”
The chief said the place called ‘Owa’ is normally visited once in a year by the Olujare, and he would stay there for a whole day to perform some traditional rites. During the period, no individual is allowed to go there, he said.
“Five days before this time, we learnt that Fulani men were there carrying wood to build their tents, but to our surprise, 36 cows died immediately when the thunders struck,” Mr Olaniran said.
“It is a sign that gods that are there don’t want anybody to move to that place and settle down there.
“The place is not meant for any ordinary person, even Kabiesi himself goes there once in a year and there is a way he will compose himself when he goes there.”
Mr Olaniran narrated an “unforgettable incident” many years ago when an Olujare went up the hill and never returned, saying he was buried there alive.
“So we don’t encourage people to mount that hill and nobody can touch the dead cows, even Fulani people that we met there said it was thunderbolt attack,” he said.
“They even told us that if we see anybody that has interest should go there and take away the cows and we said no that it is a taboo for anybody to touch anything there.
“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 happened. A whole Oba buried there alive and heaven did not fall talk less of ordinary cows.
“When it happened, I and some chiefs went to the police station to make official report, DPO even came to the palace and we explained to him that it is the act of God and he confirmed that it was thunderbolt attack that it wasn’t the handwork of human beings.”
Police Public Relations Officer in Ondo State, Femi Joseph, however said although the incident was strange, it was a natural disaster that nobody could do anything about.
“Yes, I can confirm that it happened. It was a natural disaster that is beyond any human comprehension,” he said.
“It has happened and there is nothing we can do about it”
He noted that the Fulani herders also acknowledged that the incident was a disaster beyond their control and not the work of any person.