Following the recent statement by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh saying that farmers would have to pay for their own security in their respective farms, farmers in the country have expressed disappointment with the development.
It will be recalled that recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Interior had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide securities for farmers in the farm, but Ogbe, while addressing journalists at the state house, noted that farmers will have to pay for their own security.
Reacting to this development, a rural farmers mobiliser and the National President of Grassroots Farmers Development Initiative of Nigeria, Eze Anthony, said that rural farmers could not afford to pay for their own security.
He also said if the minister was referring to large scale farmers, who could afford to pay and protect their investment, it was understandable.
“If you alking about the rural farmers who farm what we eat from day to day in this nation, those kind of people cannot pay for their security. If he is charging commercial farmers, large scale farmers for security to secure their farms and investment, that is understandable because those people are making huge benefits and they have the money to pay, but if you are talking about the kind of people we are working hard to address their issues, those people cannot pay for security for securing their farms from the attack of herdsmen or from the attack of other unforseen circumstances, you cannot ask them to pay for such security.
“You cannot tell them to pay before you can help them ensure that erosion does not destroy their farms, you can’t ask them to pay for the security of their farms and their lives, so he needs to differentiate the categories of farmers he is asking to pay for their security,” he said.
A fish farmer Mohammed Sani, expressed sadness over the minister’s statement, he described it as the government being insensitive to the plight of farmers.
“Those people are not serious towards agriculture and they problem farmers are facing in Nigeria, now fertilizer is not even available, they are responsible to ensure circulation of fertilizer in the market but now they come out to tell the farmers to be responsible for their own security and it is part of their assignment,” he said.