By Abdulkadir Jimoh, Abuja
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) says it has proof that cattle owned by herdsmen destroyed crops in farms across the country.
The MURIC Director, Ishaq Akintola, who disclosed this in a statement, called on the Nigerian government to compensate farmers whose crops have been destroyed.
According to him, MURIC has evidence of herdsmen’s culpability, including video clips, in which cows destroyed farms belonging to members of the organisation.
“MURIC is now in possession of indisputable 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. 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 destroyed.
‘The incident happened at the Sanpro Foods farm, 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 a local Arabic school principal in Lagos also reported another sad incident in which herders brought cows to invade his father’s cashew farm in Ijomu-Oro, Kwara State.
The principal claimed 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 had 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 herders’ activities.
“Farmers in Zamfara and Katsina have fled 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.”
Therefore, he demanded swift action over the matter, adding that it was clear that the Federal Government has yet to appreciate what farmers are going through in the hands of herdsmen.
He said: “How would you feel if someone walks in and smashes all that you have been putting together for months or years?
“We, therefore, declare that farmers have been patient enough. The government should do something urgently.
“We recall our advice to the government two days ago in which we advocated 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 douse tension across the country and inject a new dose of confidence in Project Nigeria.”