Farmers Protest Destruction Of N35 Million Crops By Herdsmen In Ekiti
Some graduate farmers who are into large scale farming for commercial purpose in Ekiti State, yesterday protested the destruction of their crops worth over N35 million by suspected herdsmen.
The farmers, who are operating at Oke Ako–Ipao axis in Ikole local government area of the state, on Tuesday took their protest to the State House of Assembly and also visited the offices of the Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose and the Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Kehinde Odebu to register their grievances over the activities of some cattle rearers grazing their flocks in the area.
The herdsmen, according to the farmers destroyed their maize and cassava farm planted on vast expansive land of over 50 hectares .
They told the Speaker, Hon Kola Oluwawole that they started the programme, being undertaken under Ipao Youth in Commercial Agriculture Cooperative in partnership with Matna Foods in Akure, Ondo State with a sum of N3 million for the plantation of the crops, saying their hopes of improving their lives from the agric business have been dashed.
Mr Rotimi Fapohunda, who spoke on behalf of the victims said : “Shortly after we started planting , we noticed that some herdsmen used to come for grazing around that area at night. Later, we started noticing the presence of cows on the farms at noon, but we didn’t see the owners.
“But last weekend, we went to farm and saw that all the cassava and
maize that had grown up had been destroyed by cattle and efforts to
get the owners were futile.
“We were even afraid to kill the cattle because the herdsmen used to go about with guns despite the law prohibiting that, because they can turn against us and start shooting. We are jobless graduates and this is what we do for survival .Our lives depend on this and the government of Ekiti State must save us”, he said.
Condemning the destruction, Hon Oluwawole who posited that the action could dissuade young graduates from engaging in commercial farming being encouraged by government added that the state government will bring to bear the anti-grazing law in curtailing the situation, saying the law is no respecter of anyone.
“The law is no respecter of anyone. We can’t fold our arms and allow people to be frustrating the efforts of our young generations. How can this happened at a time when government was making efforts to persuade the youths to go into farming.
“We are not unaware of the colossal damage these herdsmen are doing to
our crops, but this has to stop. The government of Governor Fayose is
making frantic efforts in this regard and this led to the enactment of anti-grazing law and the implementation I want to assure you won’t spare anyone”.