The Maize Growers Processing Marketer Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN) in Ekiti State has said that its members’ farms worth N10million have been destroyed by suspected herdsmen in the state.
The association, speaking to journalists on Tuesday in Ado Ekiti, said the maize farms, spanning over 235 hectares of land, located in the forest reserve in Aduloju, along Ado-Ijan road, in Ado Local Government Area, were completely grazed and destroyed.
The development follows the controversy arising from a quit order by the Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, asking the herdsmen to leave the state’s forest reserves over issues of insecurity.
The issue of herdsmen has further created tensions in Oyo State after a self-titled Yoruba warrior, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, issued a quit notice for the herdsmen to vacate the state.
The Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, swiftly led other governors to Ondo and Oyo states, where a truce was secured.
Speaking with journalists in Ado-Ekiti, the state secretary of the association, Tope Emmanuel, said the herders had been terrorising the farmers in the last one week, leading to the destruction of the maize farms.
Mr Emmanuel explained that the herders stormed the farms at night with dangerous weapons to feed their cows and “all efforts to stop them were rebuffed.”
He disclosed that members obtained N6.6 million loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) under the anchor borrowers’ programme in September 2020 to plant the maize, adding that the 160 members had been left with nothing to cultivate.
“Last year, we approached the CBN as a group to obtain a loan worth N6.6 million for the maize farm and we planted the maize covering 235 hectares of land,” he said.
“In actual fact, the expected proceeds are over N10 million.
“But unfortunately, when we were preparing for harvest, the herdsmen came and destroyed everything in the farm with nothing for us again.
“Those herders always go there during the night with dangerous weapons in the last few days and nobody can challenge them because of the arms they are holding. We can’t go to the farm now.”
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Mr Emmanuel pleaded with the state government and other stakeholders to come to their rescue in saving them from the hands of the deadly herdsmen and help in recouping their investment.
“Don’t forget that the government always says we should go to the farm and we approached the bank for a loan hoping to pay back after cultivation but nothing to cultivate now as these herders have destroyed everything in the farm,” Mr Emmanuel added.
“We are begging the state government to save us as members are really in a difficult situation now in view of the loan and you can predict what might follow if nothing is done.”
He said the police and the State Security Network Agency, codenamed, Amotekun, had been briefed on the incident but expressed regret that nothing was forthcoming from the security agents.
When contacted, the Ekiti Amotekun corps commander, Joe Komolafe, a retired Brig-General, confirmed the incident.
“We are handling the situation,” he added.
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