Kogi: Egbe farmers protest against herdsmen


Illustration: Armed herdsman in Nigeria

Illustration: Armed herdsman in Nigeria

Richard Elesho/ Lokoja

Egbe, a quite agrarian community of about 50,000 inhabitants in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State witnessed a controlled display of anger on Monday morning when farmers in the community gathered in their hundreds to protest against the incessant destruction of their crops by herdsmen.

It was gathered that the protest was triggered when some farmers in a part of the town got to their farms only to discover that the bulk of their crops worth millions of Naira had been uprooted or destroyed by persons suspected to be herdsmen.

Two wandering cows were spotted on one of the farms. It was one destruction too many.

The aggrieved farmers with whistles and other traditional means mobilized their colleagues and promptly they started a peaceful walk.

Sensing the danger to public peace, the police attempted to disperse the protesters. It was however a failed attempt.

An eye witness said the farmers continued to wail and chant protest tunes. They then matched to the palace of the Elegbe of Egbe, Oba Ayo Irukera where they lodged their grievances, calling on the government to intervene before the situation degenerates to anarchy.

The spokesman of the farmers, Mr. Wale Oti, who spoke on the incident lamented that the way and manner in which the farms and crops waiting for harvest have been destroyed are unquantifiable.

Oti explained that Egbe is a boundary town between Kogi and Kwara State, with about 50,000 inhabitants whose major source of livelihood is farming.

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He claimed that majority of the farmers have been enduring incessant distraction on their farmlands for years, but the situation became worst with the warm reception by the Kogi state government to the herdsmen who came in droves to settle in their community.

“Majority of the farmers who have been labouring on their farms since the onset of raining season, who are optimistic of having something to harvest got to their farms on Sunday morning to see total grazing down of their farm.

“This brought about the peaceful protest to the traditional ruler of the town. Several reports have been made to the Elegbe of Egbe to call the herdsmen to order, but we are making another one to further buttress our bitterness and pain toward what the herdsmen are doing to us.

“As they began the peaceful protest in the morning, police officers came to dislodge them, but farmers mobilized themselves peacefully and went to the palace of Elegbe.

“While the protest was going on, two Fulani herdsmen were found with a gun, they were disarmed and taken to the police station.” He stated.

Oti, therefore, called on the Kogi state government to call the herdsmen in the area to order to avoid incessant farmers/herdsmen clashes

PM News reports that many communities in Kogi West have been complaining about the activities of herdsmen in the area.

Recently, a community leader, Dr. David Atre raised the alarm about the threat posed by herdsmen in MopaMuro LGA and indeed the entire Kogi West.

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