By Gabriel Ewepu
FOLLOWING the kidnap of 20 Abuja farmers on Thursday, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Friday, warned that it will be difficult for Nigerians to feed themselves if nothing is done to protect farmers across the country.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, the National President, AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, said the plight of farmers, especially in the rural areas has assumed a dangerous dimension, and that food production would be on the lowest ebb in 2022, and would degenerate to starvation triggering more crime if nothing urgent and proactive is done as lasting solution to arrest the situation both at the local, State and federal levels.
Ibrahim lamented that a lot still lies ahead to tackle food security as farmers have used their blood to sacrifice for Nigerians not to fall into the valley of serious starvation, who quietly feed over 200 million mouths on daily basis.
He said even at frightening insecurity they still put their lives on the line to go to their farms to cultivate and harvest produce for Nigerians to eat.
He said these unsung heroes and heroines deserve to be protected, pampered, and honoured publicly.
The 22 farmers were on their farm working at a village called Rafin-Daji in Abaji Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, around 2pm on Thursday, when armed bandits kidnapped them, after shooting sporadically to an unknown destination, while one of the farmers escaped by the whiskers.
Meanwhile, the FCT Command of the Nigerian Police Force has moved into the forest to rescue the kidnapped farmers as they go after their abductors.
He said: “It is very discouraging to the farmers to work assiduously to feed the teeming population of our country when their comrades are kidnapped all over the place.
“Unless proactive action is taken to protect the farmers as they work to produce optimally to bring about food sufficiency it will be very difficult for Nigerians to feed themselves this year.
“Abuja has not been one of the regions prone to these attacks but it is now evident that it is also not spared.”
Meanwhile, the AFAN boss called for decisive action to “stem the tide of incessant kidnapping and banditry if Nigeria is to be food secure if at all.”