The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has disclosed that it has proofs of crops’ destruction in farms all over the country by herdsmen’s cattle.
It, therefore, urged the Federal Government to compensate farmers whose crops have been destroyed.
The MURIC Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola, disclosed this in a statement.
He suggested that the compensation, which may be in installments, should be paid to farmers whose farms were destroyed in all states of the federation.
According to him, MURIC now has concrete evidence of the culpability of herdsmen, including video clips, in which cows destroyed farms belonging to members of the organization.
“MURIC is now in possession of indubitable evidence of the destruction of crops on farmlands by cows brought by herdsmen.
“We sent out feelers to all states where we have branches of MURIC and the reports are overwhelmingly convincing.
“We asked our members to supply information on the activities of herdsmen in their states, including Abuja. In fact, we were stupefied by the outcome.
“The most recent report from a young member of MURIC in Ogun State, who ventured into agriculture, reads: ‘Herders invaded my five hectares of rice farm Sunday, 31st January 2021 and it was totally destroyed.
‘The incident happened at the farm of Sanpro Foods, a rice production company whose premises is located at the Oyan farm settlement, Ibaro Rice Village, Ibaro in Abeokuta North Local Government, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
‘The farm is along Igboora Road after the roundabout’,” Akintola said.
Akintola said that the mudiir (principal) of a local Arabic school in Lagos also reported another sad incident in which herders brought cows to invade his father’s cashew farm in Ijomu-Oro, Kwara State.
He quoted the principal as saying that everything was destroyed, lamenting that his father would have realised millions of naira had he been able to harvest his cashew nuts.
Akintola said: “He [principal] added that the fear of herders has forced farmers in Ido-Oro [also in Kwara State] to abandon their farms.
“This is frightening. Farmers in Kwara State are afraid of going to their farms due to the activities of herders.
“Farmers in Zamfara and Katsina have run away from their farms for fear of being killed or kidnapped by bandits.
“Farmers in Ilesa, Osun State, those in Igangan, Oyo State and those in Ebonyi live in palpable fear of herders.
“From where shall food come to our tables? Famine is coming! Cows and bandits have taken over Nigerian farms.”
‘Take responsibility now’
He, therefore, urged the federal and state governments to take responsibility.
He said that it was clear that the Federal Government is yet to appreciate what farmers are going through in the hands of marauding herdsmen.
He said: “How would you feel if someone just walks in and smashes all that you have been putting together for months or years?
“We, therefore, declare that farmers have been patient enough. FG should do something urgently.
“We recall our advice to FG two days ago in which we advocated for payment of bailout for herders to enable them to buy land from private owners for use as ranches.
“The compensation we are now asking for farmers, who lost their crops, will be spread to all parts of the country: farmers in Benue, Ondo, Sokoto, Ekiti, Enugu, Ogun, Katsina, among others will be eligible.
“This is the way the government can take responsibility.
“Such compensation will assuage farmers, douse tension across the country and inject a new dose of confidence in Project Nigeria.”
There have been increased clashes between host communities across the country and herdsmen recently.
The Ondo State Government recently ordered herdsmen out of its forests reserves while in Ogun and Oyo states, youths are attacking Fulani settlements and ordering them to vacate their communities.
Also, in Edo, there were protests against herdsmen’s activities within the week.
In the South-east, South-south and North-central states, host communities are in a constant battle with herdsmen.