Curtailing Herdsmen Attack to Prevent Famine

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Curtailing Herdsmen Attack to Prevent Famine

A recurring bane of efforts to maximize livestock and crop potential of the country is farmers herdsmen clashes

Over the years, conflict between farmers and herdsmen has led to loss of lives and property.

Apart from the problem of insurgency, herdsmen clashes could also be described as the deadliest causing havoc to people in some parts of Nigeria.

The groups use guns to attack villages and intimidate farmers.

In most cases, these attacks were accompanied with the burning of homes of the farmers, destruction or looting of their food storage facilities as well as grazing of farmlands by cows.

The destructive activities of the herdsmen have also led to the displacement of thousands of farmers from the rural areas to safe havens far away from their farms.

The conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in the country have grown, spread and intensified over the past decade and today pose a threat to national survival and food security.

Many core farmers in the northern parts of the country have fled their homes for safety, thereby abandoning their means of livelihood and contribution to earnings of Nigeria through agricultural produce.

Agricultural experts say herdsmen attack not only lead to hunger but will have economic implications on the national gross domestic product (GDP).

In January, 2016, about ten Agatu communities in Benue State suffered unprecedented hardship in the hands of herdsmen where over 500 villagers reportedly lost their lives to the clash.

Also in April of the same year, suspected herdsmen invaded Ukpabi Nimbo community in Uzo Uwani Local Government area of Enugu State killing scores of people.

In 2017, some graduate commercial farmers at Oke Ako-Ipao axis of Ekiti State protested the alleged destruction of crops worth n35 million by suspected herdsmen grazing their cattle in their farm.

This year January, 73 people were killed during the violent attacks on logo and Guma in Benue State.

No fewer than 20 people were killed and 10 others injured in an attack by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen in Ancha village in Miango, Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Also, last week, atleast 42 people mostly women and children were killed across 12 villages, the Lau Local Government Area of Taraba State by suspected herdsmen.

However, the effects of incessant farmers/herdsmen clashes include destruction of farmland, loss of millions of farm crop while the incentive to plant new ones dwindles with each attack

According to an agricultural expert, Ojiefoh Enahoro, factors projected to increase high cost of food by 2019 include Fulani/farmers herdsmen activities, increase in farmers’ death, outbreak of pests and diseases, shortage and uneven distribution of rain fall, artificial migration, low turnout of investors in the agricultural sector due to activities of herdsmen and unfruitful government policies.

It is therefore, expedient on government at all levels to tackle the problem of farmers/herdsmen head on to avert projected inflation of food items next year and for the nation to be food sufficient.

There is need to mount security around farm lands so that farmers can farm without fear of molestation, being raped, or being killed.

It is also pertinent to introduce communal farming system alongside farm settlements to encourage local farmers and reduce tension.

Government should as a matter of urgency revamp some silos and encourage storage to prevent famine.

The armed foreigners and their local accomplices must be apprehended and dealt with to serve as deterrent to others.

Plans must be made to resettle, rehabilitate and provide special funding to enable farmers to go back to work in safety and security.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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