Farmland: Imo women in pains over devastation by herdsmen

Scores of women from Amakohia-ubi community in Owerri West Local Government, protesting at the front of Imo Government House. Photo by Chinonso Alozie

Farmers in Imo State, particularly women, said they are in search for an end to the destruction of their farmlands by the dreadful herdsmen.

The women who are from Amakohi-ubi community in Owerri West Local Government Area, led by Betty Uneze, told South-East Voice in Owerri that the damages in their farms by suspected herdsmen have been a recurrent story.

This time around, the women in their hundreds trooped to the Imo Government House to express their dissatisfaction over what they had gone through over time in the hands of the herders.

The first report on the attacks on the farms of Amakohia-ubi community, was in August, 2017.

According to the President-General of the invaded community, Cyril Ndumanya: “What we are seeing in the hands of these herdsmen is causing us unforgettable pains.

“Last month, we reached an agreement to stop this ugly trend but you can see that they have started again. This time around, they have destroyed goods worth millions of naira. No issue of rape and killings but the level of destruction may bring hunger.

“Our cassava, vegetables and maize have been completely destroyed and used by herdsmen to feed their cattle.”

As if that was not enough, South-East Voice was told that the suspected Fulani herdsmen after the report, moved out of the community and after some days, they returned.

Uneze told South-East Voice that they were faced with unimaginable threats to their lives as their farmlands which remain their main source of food, had been destroyed.

“We are in Imo State Government House to tell our Governor, Rochas Okorocha that Fulani herdsmen have destroyed our farms. This is not the first time it is happening.

“Our farms have been destroyed and we do not know when this suffering will end. As we are talking to you now, the herdsmen are still in our farms. Please, we want them to leave.

“If our grieviaces are not proactively addressed now that it has not gotten to a dangerous point, is it when we are physically attacked and killed that the government will come to our rescue?” asked Uneze.

However, some of the members of the community who spoke to South-East Voice said they were worried over the silence from relevant authorities whom they expected long ago to halt the evil done to them by the suspected Fulani herdsmen.

More worrisome is the fact that there may be possible shortage of food supply in the Amakohi-ubi community as they approach the time for harvest.

They also feared that having suffered several attacks which largely  caused a heavy damage to their farms, they may be heading to a serious food crisis.

Some of them said they were forced to abandon their farmlands due to possible attacks by the herdsmen, while some said that at the moment, they may be persuaded by the unfortunate circumstance to go outside the community to buy cassava and other farm produce for domestic use.

Some of them cried out that the problems in which they currently find themselves, caused by the activities of the cattle rearers, have affected their other plans for the upkeep of their families, as monies budgeted for different projects would likely be channeld to foodstuff.

This was as some viewed their predicament from the number of times they had cried out to the government to put a stop to their agony, adding that the level of insensitivity may have created an impression that they have been abandoned by the government.

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