By Peter Duru
Makurdi- Suspected armed herdsmen have reportedly attacked Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom’s farm in Gbajimba, Guma Local Government Area of the state setting ablaze over 250 hectares of rice farm valued at more than N100million.
The invaders were said to have stormed the farm, known in the state for massive production of rice, from neighbouring Nasarawa state.
Conducting newsmen round the burnt farm Tuesday, the Manager, Mr. Kena Iordzua said the herders came to the farm with a large number of cattle during the day and set the farm on fire at three different points.
“When we realized what had happened we made effort to put out the fire but due to the wild nature of the fire as a result of the harmattan, the inferno could not be put off despite concerted efforts by those who were working on the farm.”
“We alerted security agents who mobilized and went after the herdsmen who were shooting sporadically in the air as they retreated towards the Nasarawa border.
“From our findings, the estimate of the burnt portion of the rice farm is about 250 hectares and the market value of the rice is well over N100 million,” Iordzua said.
Also speaking on the development after touring the farm, Principal Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties, Mr. Abrahams Kwaghngu, described the act as barbaric and a threat to food security.
“We all know that a law prohibiting open grazing of cattle in Benue state is still in force and should be obeyed by all, the federal government needs to act fast to stop the impunity by the herders.”
Mr. Kwaghngu lamented that after displacing the people from their ancestral homes for over a year, the herdsmen would not allow the little that had been cultivated to be harvested.