The law banning open grazing in Rivers State has been described as fruitless. This is as herdsmen and their cows invaded and destroyed farmlands and crops of farmers in Omagwa, Airport Road of Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The farmers who took turn to speak with TNN expressed displeasure over the activities, wondering why the local government chairmen and state government is yet to take proactive measures to stop herders from destroying people’s crops with their cows in the state.
Our correspondent visited some of the affected farmlands around FAAN Staff Quarters, Airport Road and was shocked at the level of damages and loss farmers in the state incur following herdsmen activities.
Crops in the waterlogged area which grows mainly maize, vegetable and cucumber were severely destroyed. Speaking in an exclusive interview, Mrs. Gladys Echefuna said “cow has finished our farm, everything, (tears), they have finished my farm. Look at my corn, see, they ate everything and destroyed my cucumber. What kind of thing is this?
“Yes. I know that government banned open grazing but with what is happening, that law is not working, it is useless. I spend money, hundreds of thousands to farm, I buy crops, how will I be happy? See my farm.
“These people are wicked, they are heartless. If not, how will a normal human being with sympathy do this kind of thing? I pay my children’s school fees from here, that is my husband, (points to him) this is what we do to feed, train our children. Government should help us; they should help us.”
Mr. Chijioke Ngozichim who also spoke said “the only thing we can do is to cry, shout, if you fight these people, they will just kill you and nothing will happen. So, we are begging Governor Wike, we are begging our local government chairman, I am even surprised that the local government chairman and state government is not doing anything to stop this. They should help us, we are poor farmers, not politicians.”
Mrs. Chituru Olukwu, “I no wan talk, I just no wan talk. Wetin remain here na? See how them match match my cucumber, my sister who no fit fight and no get who go fight for am, na cry em go cry. We go report, we hear, we go report am. Thank you.”
A woman who introduced herself simply as Mrs. Nkiruka said “Rivers State government should help us. There should be taskforce that will handle this, local government chairmen should take up this responsibility and help us, we are poor people, farming is the only thing we live on.”