By Samuel Oyadongha
AGGRIEVED women from Epie/Atissa communities in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest against what they described as the excesses of herdsmen in the area.
The protesting women waving leaves were massed at the strategic Edepie roundabout axis, the gateway to the university town of Amassoma in Southern Ijaw local government area and communities in Ogbia council area of the state.
The protesters also barricaded the road causing serious gridlock on the usually busy route to press home their demand for the herdsmen to leave their farmlands.
The women were chanting “enough is enough, herdsmen should leave our farmland” and pleaded with state government to protect them and their crops from the herdsmen.
“We cannot continue to keep quiet over this issue. We cannot labour only for crops to be destroyed and our means of livelihood destroyed.
“Our very existence revolves around our farmlands. We don’t want cattle in our area again. It is time for government to act and save us from their impunity,” one of the women said.
Though the state government during the administration of former Governor Seriake Dickson had allotted a section of the state-owned Palm estate at Elebele near Yenagoa to the herders as part of strategy to prevent open grazing in the state capital and in the process avert herders/farmers clash.
Also, “no grazing signposts” were erected around farmland areas in Yenagoa and its environs to warn the herders against trespassing of farmlands while a committee was set up comprising representatives of the security agencies, the locals and cattle dealers.
But nothing was done to sanction non-compliance as some herders could be seen moving their cattle along major roads in the state capital and even obstructing traffic.
The local farmers were also not spared as some of the herdsmen grazed their cattle on their farmland destroying their crops.