…As Farmers Decry Destruction of Crops by Cows
By Okereke Wilson Ogbonnaya
Palpable fear is said to have gripped the entire people of Amoso village in Etiti Edda community in Afikpo South L.G.A following the influx of a large number of Fulani herdsmen and their cows in the area allegedly overrunning the residents farms.
Our reporter who visited the area was told by one of the farmers, Mr. Ogbonnaya Nsi that recently, he left for his farm with the hope of carrying out some activities but to his surprise, upon his arrival, he found out that all his crops ranging from cassava stem, potatoes and plantain suckers had already been destroyed by the cattle belonging to Fulani herders who had occupied the vast pieces of land without the people’s consent.
He claimed that the destruction was so pronounced in such a ways that the entire area had already been taken over by the herders who allegedly spread tents and cows across everywhere thereby subjecting the farmers to both fear and hardship.
According to him, in his attempt to satisfy his curiosity, he and other farmers summoned courage and confronted one of the herders whose name was not given called but only received an exclamation “One Nigeria, one Nigeria” as a response from the man.
He added that following his helpless condition he rushed home and intimated some of his counterparts and other residents who immediately left for the place and discovered that their farms had allegedly been converted to grazing field.
Another victim, Mrs. Uduma Regina, told us that she had been seriously dealt with by the Fulani men as her large farm containing potatoes and other crops which were cultivated with the money which she obtained from Umunnabuike Recycling Credit commonly called “Isusu contribution” and another loan from her kindred meeting respectively were destroyed completely.
“I never know that these people can display this level of wickedness on me, now how can I settle these debts which the Fulani men and their cows had landed me into.
“I am appealing to the relevant authorities that the herders should be forced to pay for the damage while they will at the same time evacuate my husband’s land” she said.
The youth leader of the area, Mr. Ndukwe Okonkama Anya corroborated the information given by the victims and also disclosed that his family was not excluded in the menace as his mother’s crops were allegedly destroyed too.
He added that the havoc already caused by the herders and the illegal occupation of their land have the potential of inducing clash between the two parties, but for a peaceful disposition of the youths, he called on government for intervention into the situation.
Mr. Anya further claimed that the cow rearers were still causing problems in the area with impunity as they (Fulanimen) cited some areas within the country which they had conquered when they were confronted, issuing warning that no one should dare them.
Former Coordinator of Edda East Development Centre, Hon. Igwe Uduma frowned at the alleged bold manner at which the Fulani men were threatening the farmers and other residents as a result appealed that the state government should come to their aid so as to prevent possible break down of law and order.
“Whoever that wants to rear cows should first of all make provision for ranch because it is always disheartening one seeing his or her farm being destroyed by another person’s live stock” he said.