By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Monday, expressed sadness over the gruesome killing of 43 rice farmers in Borno State on Saturday while on their farms by Boko Haram insurgents.
This was contained in a statement made available to Vanguard, where the National President of AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, said the killing portends disaster for the food system.
The statement reads in part, “The recent unfortunate slaying of our farmers in Borno State portends disaster for our food system in that the farmers are now very scared to go to their farms to do dry season farming.
“AFAN sympathizes with the families of the departed souls and the Government and people of Borno State.”
However, the association called for security beef up to tackle the worrisome trend of worsening insecurity in that part of the country.
The association maintained that except government deploys bulldozers to clear the forest which bandits and insurgents have used as hideouts over the years carry out their attacks the security of lives and property will not improve.
“The food system of Nigeria which had been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding and insecurity is now further threatened by this development.
“The farmers are pleading with the Government to deal with the Insecurity in the North East by defoliating and the sectorial bulldozing of Sambisa forest.
“The banditry and kidnapping in the North West should also be decisively stemmed by doing the same thing to the forests there.
“It is common knowledge that the insurgents have turned these forests into a safe haven.
“The security forces should make announcements for all persons living in the immediate vicinity of the forests to relocate because there will be air and ground raids as well as complete chemical defoliation of the forests.
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“This will be followed by bull-dozing of sections of the forests immediately afterwards.
“We believe the climate activists will sympathize with us especially if we turn some of the cleared areas into farmland as it is evident that the farm plantations will also mitigate the feared climate change arising from the obvious deforestation.
“The desired food security of the country has several risk factors but the current situation portends real danger to it unless some drastic and decisive actions are taken immediately.
“Against the backdrop of the nearly 12-year old Boko Haram insurgency in the North East and the incessant banditry and kidnapping in the North West it is our informed opinion that the forests of Sambisa and Rugu etc. will have to be bulldozed for any lasting peace to prevail in these regions of Nigeria which contribute to the food system immensely.
“The continued threat to lives and livelihoods of the people living in these areas far outweighs the presumed effect of climate change after defoliating the forests.
“The time to take action is NOW otherwise we will all die from the dehumanizing pain of hunger in these regions because the farmers cannot produce the required food for even subsistence”, it pointed.