By Tony Edike

ENUGU—Some unidentified persons last weekend set fire to the over N20 million Belform cocoa and palm tree plantation at Agboefiugo Umuaram Ikem, Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu state.

The farm’s consultant, Odu Okim, who conducted newsmen round the 4-hectares palm oil plantation, narrated that the over 2000 palm stands were raised as nursery from Ikom in Cross River State and planted early this year.

Okim stated that he and other farm managers were surprised when they came to the farm and met the palms uprooted and set ablaze by people suspected to be natives of neighbouring Isu-Ehamufu community.

Okim described the act as “economic sabotage”, especially at this period that government was encouraging investment in agriculture, saying the incident had constituted a serious setback for the investors and would obviously affect the number of employed farm attendants.

He charged both the Isi-Uzo Local Government, Enugu State government and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to commence full scale investigation into the arson in order to bring the culprits to book.

Traditional ruler of Ikem community, Igwe Francis Okwor, said he was sure the people of Isu  wreaked the havoc, wondering why anybody should embark on such heinous crime when the land in question was not in dispute.

“I am worried because millions of naira had gone down the drain. Even before the discovery of crude oil, Palm oil sustained the economy of Eastern Nigeria that it was even exported.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.