By Emma Una
CALABAR— TENSION is building in Ugaga village, in Yala Local Government Area, in the northern part of Cross River State, after a herdsman hacked off the hand of a farmer who tried to stop cattle from entering his tomato farm.
According to reports from the area, many herdsmen and their cattle who fled from Benue State over the weekend following the implementation of the anti-grazing law in the state, have besieged the northern part of Cross River State prompting farmers to guard their farms from being destroyed.
“The man was in his farm harvesting tomatoes when the herdsman and his cattle invaded the farm and he warned the herdsman to take his cattle away but the man felt offended and brought out his long dagger and cut off the man’s hand,” Ochuole Odey, a teacher in the area told Vanguard.
She said the incident angered the youths in the village who mobilsed for a counter attack but the herdsman had fled to unknown destination with his cattle.
The Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in the area intervened and calmed the youths down assuring them that the herdsman would be arrested and brought to book.
The state governor, Senator Ben Ayade, in response to the situation, has directed the state Commisioner of Police, Mr Hafiz Inuwa, to deploy additional security men to the area to forestall further attacks by herdsmen and possible breakdown of law and order.
“We, in Cross River State, have lived with the herdsmen peacefully over time but obviously, with passage of anti- grazing law and its full implementation in Benue State, it is having its effect on us. Currently, the situation is where the farmers feel a deep sense of loss with continuous grazing on their economic crops while the herdsmen are desperately looking for pasture to sustain their cattle,” he said.
He said the Federal Government should respond to the plight of farmers affected by the menace of herdsmen across the country.