In Osun state, Farming activities related to food production may be hindered in the next farming season unless a permanent solution is
found to the Herdsmen/Cattle invasion of farm lands in the state.
Some of the large scale farmers whose farmlands were destroyed at one time or the other this year are afraid of returning to the farms unless there is an assurance of adequate security against the incessant herdsmen attack.
Radio Nigeria correspondent visited some of the farms in Songbe in OlaOluwa Local Government from where he files in this report.
Between May and October this year alone, farms land have been invaded and destroyed in Pataara, Ila, Ejigbo, Ilisan, Masifa, Songbe and many farm settlements spread across the thirty Local Government areas of the state.
The lamentation of a female farmer, Mrs Bola Folasade who lost over twenty five acres of Rice farm captures the mood of the victims of the herdsmen attack.
Another farmer, Mr Dele Banji tells a gory story of how he became a tenant in his own farm.
On his part, a maize farmer in Pataara farm settlement, Mr Mudashiru Alagbe explained that life had been unbearable for him since his only means of livelihood was completely eaten up by the cattle.
From the account of the farmers who spoke to Radio Nigeria, over one thousands acres of farmland with food crops such as Yam, Cassava, Rice and Maize were lost to the invasion this year alone.
Who were those responsible for this wanton destruction of the farms? The farmers alleged that Fulani/Bororo nomadic cattle rearers were responsible for the destruction of their farmlands, which sometimes occur in the wee hours of the day and sometimes during the day when they are right on the farms.
However, the Hausa Fulani resident in Osun state denies these allegation and accused the migrating Fulani from neighbouring countries of wrecking havoc on the farms. Mallam Mohamed Sulaiman is the vice chairman of the Hausa/Fulani community in Osun State.
Corroborating this assertion, Chairman of the Osun state Commiittee on peaceful coexistence between Hausa/Fulani/Bororo cattle rearers and farmers, Alahji Oguntola Toogun stated that there were three categories of such herdsmen , describing the normadic migrating herdsmen from the far north and neighbouring countries as those who often perpetrate such criminality.
Alhaji Toogun declared that the state had lost over two billion naira worth of food crops to herdsmen invasion within the last two years.
He said the committee set up by the state government had in the last three years intervened in resolving over five thousand cases of herdsmen/cattle invasion of farms which could have resulted in bloodshed in the state.
But the question is, what could compel an individual to travel hundreds of kilometres on foot across boarders with cattle, passing through footpaths in unknown thick forest?
Alhaji Toogun explained that interaction with some of the invading herdsmen caught suggested that they were in constant search of green grass and water which were becoming a luxury in the desert due to shortage in rainfall and other human activities affecting the climate and the environment.
Explaining factors responsible for the intense south ward migration of herdsmen and their cattle, a Professor of Environmental Sciences at the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU Ile Ife, Bioye Aluko said the changes in the climate caused by uncontrolled human activities had resulted in the shrinking of water and grassing land in the desert which is the natural habitat to the cattle rearers.
Professor Aluko observed that the problem might be worse with the indiscriminate growth in human population in Nigeria which put pressure on natural resources and the atmosphere generally.
According to the environmental science expert, to forestall such incessant clashes as well as prevent imminent food shortage, Nigeria government must adopt practical measures in line global best practises and the Sustainable Development Goals to check harmful environmental practises and reduce population growth.