The farmlands were owned by a resident, John Abonyi.
Tension has engulfed Agu-Ekwegbe community in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State as herdsmen invaded the community with their cattle and destroyed farms allegedly worth more than N50 million.
Vanguard reports that the farmlands were owned by a resident, John Abonyi.
Speaking with newsmen after the destruction, Abonyi lamented that Fulani herders had resorted to grazing their cattle on his farm, regretting that all efforts he and his workers made to stop them from entering his farms failed as the Nigeria Police Force oepratives in the area refused to intervene.
Abonyi added that a few days after he applied fertiliser on the crops, the herders invaded his maize and beans farms that span over three hectares and fed their cattles on the crops.
“The major challenge we farmers are facing in the South East is the issue of herdsmen invasion of our farm. As you can see here, the Fulani headers have invaded this farm three times and it’s really affecting us. I have reported to the police and other security agencies but they didn’t come to our rescue.
“After applying fertiliser last Monday, they came on Thursday and grazed on my farm. They destroyed everything in the farm where I planted maize and beans. I called Area Command Udenu and he directed me to call the DPO. I called the DPO and he said I should come to the station. I told him that they should come to the farm to see the extent the herders destroyed my farm but he insisted I must come.
“The next thing was a call and behold he said he is the chairman of Fulani herdsmen in Nsukka. So, I asked him to come and see what his boys did in my farm, but he said I should come to the police station. Painfully as we are talking of what happened on Thursday, they came back again on Tuesday and grazed inside my farm. There is forest around here but they preferred grazing inside my farm.
“I have suffered; I invested more than N50 million here but look at what Fulani herdsmen have done to me. How will I pay the loan I collected? I left the North because of the Boko Haram issue and came back home to do my business but look at what I have been subjected to by Fulani herders. Where will I run to now?
“Even yesterday, they came back and met my workers who incidentally caught one of them and I called police but they insisted that I should come to the station instead of coming here to take the boy we caught. The boy was released because there was nobody to help us take him to the police station,” Abonyi lamented.
He called on the government at all levels to come to his aide, saying that as a civil servant he cannot buy anything with his monthly salary because of inflation in the country but try to sustain hunger with farming.
The Town Union President of the community, Mr. Ene Uchechukwu, who also spoke with journalists who visited the affected farms, lamented the level of destruction in the farmland and appealed to the state government for intervention.
Uchechukwu said that the community survives by farming but cannot save themselves as Fulani herders continuously invade their farms with AK-47, surround them and graze the farm with their cattle.
He said that “The herdsmen have more sophisticated weapons than the security men. You cannot do anything when they surrender you with their AK-47 gun in your farm. We are suffering in Agu-Ekwegbe because we are using borrowed money (loan) to farm to enable us make some profit and take care of our wards but after farming, the herdsmen will invade and destroy it.
“We need the intervention and help from the Enugu state government. Apart from destruction of farms, they also indulge in robbing and kidnapping commuters in Agu-Ekwuegbe.”