Food se­cu­rity threat­ened as at­tacks on farm­ers con­tinue

Daily Trust - - GOLDEN HARVEST - By Ahmed Dio Agbo

Re­ported cases of clashes be­tween sus­pected herds­men and farm­ers across the coun­try abound over the years, but of re­cent, farm­ers say the at­tacks on them by the herders have as­sumed a very dan­ger­ous di­men­sion, thereby pos­ing a se­ri­ous threat to food se­cu­rity in the coun­try.

From the North­ern part of the coun­try to the South, sev­eral at­tacks on the farm­ers by the herds­men, which re­port­edly led to loss of hun­dreds of lives and prop­erty val­ued at mil­lions of Naira, have been recorded just this year alone.

Find­ings showed that fa­tal clashes have oc­curred at dif­fer­ent times in Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kogi, Adamawa, Enugu, Cross River, Ondo and Ek­iti states, just to men­tion a few.

Even an el­der states­man and a for­mer Sec­re­tary to the Gov­ern­ment of the Fed­er­a­tion (SGF), Chief Olu Falae, was not spared in the at­tacks as sus­pected herds­men al­legedly ab­ducted him from his farm in Ondo State some­time last year. His crops were said to be have been to­tally de­stroyed by the herds­men’s cat­tle.

Daily Trust learnt that in some states of the coun­try such as Benue, Adamawa and Kaduna, among oth­ers, the sus­pected herds­men have warned farm­ers to keep away from their farms or risk their lives.

Farm­ers, who spoke to our re­porter, said they can no longer go to their farms for fear of be­ing killed by the sus­pected herds­men, who storm the farms un­ex­pect­edly with so­phis­ti­cated weapons to carry out dan­ger­ous at­tacks.

The farm­ers main­tained that if the wor­ri­some be­hav­iour con­tin­ues, their farm busi­ness will suf­fer greatly and that could lead to low pro­duc­tion and food in­se­cu­rity in the na­tion.

One of the farm­ers from Nasarawa State, Al­haji Ab­dul­lahi Yusuf, said: “We hear of the killings by the herds­men ev­ery time and ev­ery­body is scared of go­ing to the farm. We are help­less and our farm busi­ness is dy­ing. This could even­tu­ally lead to poverty and hunger in the land if noth­ing is done about it as soon as pos­si­ble.”

An­other farmer from Benue State, Mr. Terfa Unongo, told our re­porter that go­ing to the farm these days is like sign­ing one’s ‘death war­rant’ as “you are not sure of re­turn­ing home alive.”

He de­cried the ugly sit­u­a­tion and called on the gov­ern­ment to act fast so as to halt the at­tacks to en­sure food se­cu­rity and se­cu­rity of lives and prop­erty.

Re­act­ing to the devel­op­ment, the Pres­i­dent of All Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (AFAN), Ar­chi­tect Kabir Ibrahim, said even if the said at­tacks are hap­pen­ing in some states, peo­ple should work with facts, but not ex­ag­ger­a­tion.

He added that steps were be­ing taken by con­cerned author­i­ties to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion.

Mean­while, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has since said it will plant nu­tri­tious grasses in graz­ing re­serves and es­tab­lish cat­tle ranches across the coun­try to end the vex­ing clashes, but the per­sis­tent at­tacks by sus­pected herds­men con­tin­ues to put Nige­rian farm­ers in pal­pa­ble fear.

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