By Tony Edike
 ENUU – Some unidentified persons at the 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 that was particularly destroyed 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 he suspected be natives of neighbouring Isu-Ehamufu community.

Okim described the act as “economic sabotage” especially at this period that government is encouraging investment in agriculture, saying that 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 that he was sure it were people from Isu that wrecked 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.

“I have already made a complaint to the police informing them that  what the people have done is bad. I don’t want my community to shed any blood again and that was why I reported to the government through the police.

I’ve already told my people not to fight but to wait for government’s intervention,” Igwe Okwor.said.

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