By Ikechukwu Odu
Four years after Fulani herdsmen massacred the largely agrarian people of Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, some suspected herders have returned to destroy crops with their cattle while also setting farmers’ settlements ablaze at Efu-Ozara and Ugwu-Iga, also in Ukpabi Nimbo community.
The herders also allegedly destroyed crops in Ezi Ani, Nsukka Local Government Area of the state with their cattle, causing panic in the sleepy community.
The traditional ruler of Nimbo community, HRH, Igwe John Akor, while confirming the incident to Vanguard yesterday, said the attack on farmers and destruction of crops by cattle in the community has become persistent.
He also said that he had always charged the herders to avoid people’s farm while their cattle are grazing, adding that they pay compensation to farmers sometimes after destroying their crops.
A member of the community, Uchenna Onyeji, told Vanguard that farmers have lost hope of any solution because after engaging the herders in peace deals, they would still return to destroy their farms.
Onyeji said: “Sometimes, the herders would bring N100,000 and share to 20 farmers as compensation. In the end, a farmer will be getting N3,000 for a farm which would have given him N100,000 to N200,000. We have stopped complaining to authorities because they won’t do anything to stop the menace. Most farmers have given up on farming because of the losses they incurred in the past. All the communities in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area are living in fear of attacks from the marauding herdsmen. It is a very sad development.”
One of the affected farmers, Emeka Okey told Vanguard that three plots of his farm where he cultivated yam and cassava were destroyed, adding that the two suspected herdsmen who were arrested in connection with the incident have been discharged and are now going about their normal businesses.
He said he has become helpless because he borrowed N250,000 to add to the money he invested in the farm, adding that he lost an estimsted N3,000,000 in his crops destroyed by cattle.
On the attack on farms at Ezi- Ani, the traditional ruler of the community, HRH, Igwe, Tony Ezema, said he had reported the development to the police, adding that nobody was attacked during the incident. He also said that the community is negotiating with the herders for settlement.