A'Ibom Maize Farmers Decry Destruction By Herdsmen, Seek Govt Intervention

The leadership of Maize Growers, Processors and Marketing Association of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom gathered at the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) office at Atakpo Street, Uyo to condemn the destruction of their maize farms by herdsmen in the state. 

 At an extra-ordinary meeting that was presided over by the state chairman of the organization, Apostle Etop Udoh Affia, with local government area coordinators and members in attendance, they lamented that more than 100 hectares of their land cultivated with maize were destroyed by herdsmen who feed their cattle at the night in those farms, damaging the crops and frustrating their efforts towards reaping bountiful harvests in the state.

 Udo Affia noted with regrets that the menace of herds men has posed a serious threat to the N100,000 interest-free loan the state government granted his members and that of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) for cultivation of maize. He said the meeting with the affected maize farmers was necessary to enable them to present their reports on the negative impact of night grazing by herdsmen in the state, pleading with the state government to intervene to bring the ugly situation under control.

 The coordinator for Ikono chapter, Apostle Smarth Essien Ntuk, who presented photographs on the destruction of his 3.5 hectares of maize farm, said his farm suffered the greatest destruction of crops by herdsmen. Ntuk said his maize farm has been visited twice this year by cattle herders, noting that the latest visit brought massive destruction on his maize farm.

 He said the matter which has reduced him to square one has been reported to the Divisional Police Officer in Ikono Local Government Area and the village head of Ndiya Etok without positive response. 

 The coordinator for Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, Mrs Benedeth Ernest Bassey, while narrating her ugly experience on the activities of Fulani herdsmen, said 5 hectares of maize cultivated by Justin Ekpo; Ernest Bassey and Fabian in Ikot Oku Ikono, Uyo Local Government Area were destroyed by cattle herders.

 Bassey said the matter was reported to the village head of Ikot Oku Ikono who asked her to make money available for the construction of sign post where warn against the operations of herdsmen in the area. 

 The coordinator for Uruan Local Government Area, Engineer Ini Jackson Urua, said large hectares of maize farm in Ituk Mbang were equally devastated by herdsmen who operated in the night. 

 The coordinator for Uyo, Mrs Esther Edet Marcel, also reported that many hectares of her members' maize farm in Mbiokporo 1 community were not spared by the activities of herdsmen, noting with regret that melon crops that were planted along side maize were tactically removed by the Fulani herdsmen in the day time to make for easy passage of cattle into their farms.

 Similar ugly report on the destruction of maize farms were presented at the meeting in Uyo by the local government coordinators in Nsit Atai, Abak and Ukana Ikot Etim in Essien Udim Local Government Area.

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