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Delta community cries for help as herdsmen invade farmlands

Jul 29, 2023 #News

Obetim-Uno community, Afor in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta has called on the state government to come to its aid over the incessant attack of herdsmen on farms and farmlands in the area.

In a bid to avoid the Benue and Plateau States’ experience, the people of the community have appealed to the state government for urgent intervention to same them from imminently hunger, starvation and loss of lives.

The call was contained in a resolution reached by its Apex body; Obetim National Council (ONC), as efforts of Mr Matthew Ujene, the officer in charged of Delta North operations of Delta State Livestock Management Committee (DLMC) remains true to the State’s Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation Law of 2021 on open grazing in the state.

According to the council, “The call became necessary as all efforts by the DLMC, with the leadership of the community, to nip the tide have been thwarted by the Fulani herdsmen headed by one Yahaya Mohammed who is resident in Kwale in Ndokwa West local government area of the state.

“To avoid frontal confrontation and possible loss of lives between the community and the herdsmen, the leadership of the community in collaboration with DLMC on Monday, July 10, 2023 met with the State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), S.A. Jimoh in Asaba on his invitation based on the arrest of one of the herlders by name Abdul Mohammed”.

The statement, signed by the ONC President, Chief Sony Neme, further explained, “At the meeting that had Mr Bosa, the officer in charged of livestock management, NSCDC Legal Adviser and another officer responsible for Peace and conflict resolution, in attendance, a visibly angry Mr.Jimoh, who queried why one of those arrested was released, ordered for the immediate arrest and transfer of Mr. Yahaya to his Asaba office”.

“The people of Obetim are, however, at a loss, as the same Yahaya was later arrested by operatives of DLMC and released by a directive from Asaba, without due consultation with the community, just as he is now emboldened and have continued to ravage farmlands in the communuty with his cows.”

Confirming the issues at hand, Mr Emmanuel Achado in a statement dated 8/7/23 said,” I ACC Emmanuel Achado hereby transfer one Abdul Mohammed (Herdsman) working for one Yahaya Mohammed grazing in Obetim community and environ in Ndokwa East Local government Council.

”He was arrested as a result of destruction of farm crops with his hands. I hereby hand over to the State State Commandant for further investigation and necessary action please. Items recovered from him are short dagger. Itel. Button phone.”

Meanwhile, Chief Neme who attended the meeting im Asaba with the community secretary, Chief Hope Osanebi and the community woman leader, Mrs. Blessing Odili, confirmed that over 300 farms and crops of the people of Obetim worth over a hundred million naira, have been destroyed by the marauding herdsmen.

Neme in his statement at the NSCDC, said, ”I am here on behalf of my community whose farms and farmlands have been devasted by the Fulani herdsmen and their cows. This issue has been on for more than a year, as they destroyed crops worth over one hundred million naira (N100,000,000).

”As if that was not enough the invaders are ready to kill anyone that dare to question them. As a result, most of the farmers mainly women, have abandoned their hard earned investments in farms and farmlands, just to remain alive, while hunger and starvation stare them in the face, as they have no other means of livelyhood.”

He also said that the entire community being an agrarian space that have nothing else to live on but farm produce are currently helpless, saying, ”Our fear is that these herders are not interested in any form of dialogue. As a result the community has decided to engage relevant government authorities, which culminated in the arrest of a herder, Abdul Mohammed and Ali Abdul.

”All efforts to engage them on peaceful resolution to enable them leave our community in peace have failed.
Obetim is a peaceful community and we need a peaceful resolution, which prompted our visit to the office of the State Commandant of NSCDC, S.A. Jimoh on July 10, 2023 to resolve issues.

”Our demand is that the herdsmen should leave our community and pay compensation to those whise farms have been destroyed by their cows. We also demand the immediate removal of their cows from our land as the community did not give them any part of our land for grazing.”

In the same vein, the Community Secretary of Obetim-Uno, Chief Hope Osanebi in his statement said,” on that faithful day that the cattle herdsmen destroyed a lot of the community lands and crops in my area and when I saw them in the farm, they threatened to fight me.

”I tried to raise alarm which attracted some of the villagers to come and assist me and they destroyed closed to 200 farmlands which is about N100,000,000.”

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