Gov. Peter Mbah
Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State, has been urged to take drastic action to stop the rampaging herdsmen from wreaking further havoc on farmlands in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
Chief Ugochukwu Amaechina, a notable commercial sorghum farmer at Opanda community in Uzo Uwani LGA, made the plea on Tuesday after yet-to-be identified herders led their cattle to graze on his farmland, damaging his crops.
Amaechina, one of the high-profile Sorghum farmers under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase One (ATASP-1), said he lost sorghum and maize crops planted in over four plots of his farmland following invasion of his farm by herders.
“Herdsmen destroyed my farm of over four plots. Three plots was exclusively sorghum while one was a mixture of Sorghum and maize. They destroyed the farmland beyond salvation,” he said.
According to him, “I feel so devastated because what they destroyed was a well developed farmland that I am trying to expand as part of the ATASP-1 efforts to promote sorghum cultivation in the state to boost food and nutrition.
He said that ATASP-1 management had inspected the farm and approved it as one of the demonstration sorghum farms in Adani-Omor Agricultural Zone.
“It is a big set back that herdsmen had ruined the project being sponsored by the Federal Government and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
“Increasing number of farmers were fleeing the area due to heightened attacks by herdsmen. Problem we have is that herdsmen don’t allow us carry out our legitimate farming activities in the area.
“I had earlier gone for peace talk with them to enable us farm and they gave me assurance that they won’t destroy my farm.
“Based on their assurance, I went to farm and two months after when the crops had grown, they led cattle into my farm, clearing the whole crops,” he said.
The commercial farmer disclosed that he lost millions of naira as a result of the damage.
He called for urgent assistance to enable him recover his losses.
“I am begging government to help us recover from what we have lost as well as provide us with safety to farm.
“Right now, it is no longer safe to carry out our legitimate business. There is a need to come up with an urgent solution between farmers and herdsmen to avoid the wanton destruction of crops and even human lives.
“The most painful aspect is that even when you meet them destroying your farm, you cannot drive them out because they are fully armed with Ak-47 riflle which they can use to kill anyone trying to stop them.
“So many people are relocating from the area because of this development,” he said.