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Several women from some communities in Bende Local Government Council of Abia State, yesterday staged a protest against what they termed as massive destruction of their crops and farmland by cows under the control of Fulani herdsmen.
The women also alleged that they were constantly being harassed and intimidated by the herdsmen.
The protesting women, who besieged the gate of Abia Government House, Umuahia, lamented that they had lost fortunes last year as a result of the destructive activities of cows belonging to the herdsmen.
One of the protesters, Mrs. Nwachukwu told newsmen at the protest ground that their crops were always ravaged by cows while some of their kinsmen have been attacked by herdsmen over time, adding that they now lived in perpetual fear of herdsmen attack.
The spokesperson of the women, Lolo Comfort Nwachukwu explained that their visit to the Government House was to appeal to the state government to come to their aid over the massive destruction of their farm land and constant harassment and intimidation by herdsmen.
Receiving the women, the Principal Secretary to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Mr. Emma Nwabuko, condemned the activities of the herdsmen and their cows and commended the women for the peaceful manner they conducted themselves.
Nwabuko said the incessant herdsmen and farmers clashes were unhealthy to Nigeria’s quest for self-sufficiency in food production.
“The anti-grazing bill before the Senate is the antidote that will bring lasting peace to the problem”, he said, and called for accelerated treatment of the bill by the upper chambers.
Meanwhile, Suspected Fulani herdsmen have hacked to death a middle age woman after invading her farm at Arodoye community, in Akure South local government area of Ondo State.
It was gathered that the herdsmen dissected the woman’s body with machete, after destroying over 200 acres of farmlands in the area.
Briefing journalists in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Thursday, a Customary Court of Appeal judge in the state, Justice Michael Owoyemi, lamented the continuous invasion of the herdsmen on their farms.
Owoyemi, on behalf other farmers, listed some of the farm produces destroyed by the herdsmen to include, Cassava, cocoyams, yams, vegetables while some part of cocoa farm was set on fire.
“The herdsmen also returned last December destroying over 5,000 heaps of cassava in my farm. They took the advantage of the break and brought their cattle and uprooted the cassava to feed their cows.
“We have reported the herdsmen to the security agents in the past and also to the traditional ruler of Akure, Deji of Akureland, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo who promised to wade into the matter.
“The herdsmen are determined to send the farmers out of the farm in the south west unless steps are taken by the concerned authorities, hence it will degenerate to ethnic clashes in the south west. What they have destroyed in a twinkle of an eye is worth million of Naira.
“Ondo State government should follow the steps taken by the Ekiti state government by enacting laws to curb the activities of the herdsmen in the state. We are calling on the state government and security agents in the state before taking laws into our hands,” Owoyemi said.
The judge, however, disclosed that the farmers had petitioned the state governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, Security agencies and the Ministry of Agriculture to intimate them on the havoc wrecked on farmlands in the area.