Food security under threat in Oyo as farmers lament Fulani herdsmen invasion of farmlands

Food security in Oyo State seems to be under threat, considering the nefarious activities of Fulani herdsmen which had left majority of farmers particularly in Ibarapa region of the state to abandon their farms for the fear of being killed or kidnapped for huge ransom.

There had been confirmed cases of these herdsmen taking their cattle to feast on farmlands which are ripe for harvest and when confronted by owners of these farms, they attack them and some of these numerous attacks have lead to the death of good numbers of farmers.

On countless occasions, farmers have cried out for help even from law enforcement agents to no avail. The Ibarapa region of Oyo State, which is predominantly an agrarian community which contributes in no small measure to food availability in the state had been battling the farmers/herders crisis for quite sometime now with no end in sight.

Igangan town, in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state, is unarguably the worst hit as cases of kidnapping, rape and killings were highly recorded in this town.

A woman farmer, Mrs Elizabeth Eyinade, while narrating her experience to the Nigerian Tribune in Igangan recently stated that the Fulani herdsmen have been terrorising farmers for a very long time, adding that nothing has been done particularly by government to stem the tide.

She said:”if we cultivate farmlands, they will say the place is meant for cow grazing. They will destroy the crops on the farm and if we report them to their leader, he will tell us that there is nothing he could do and that there was no money to compesate us.

“The fulani herdsmen are not allowing us to fully concentrate on our farming business and they are practicing farming without any hinderance.

“We have reported them to law enforcement agents on countless occasions but instead of them to act accodingly, they will collect money from them and allow them to be moving freely. What we want is that we do not want them in our town again, they should go their way and let us be.”

Another farmer, Mr Tope Olabode, told the Nigerian Tribune that:”The Fulani herdsmen would invade our farms and rape our wives who are assisting us on the farm. If they destroy the farm, the police after collecting bail money would release the culprit. This is giving a lot of confidence to do more harm.”

While narrating his experience, a farmer based in Igboora in Ibarapa Central Local Government Area of Oyo State, Wasiu Saalwu Agbaakin, shared a story of how a co-farmer was matcheted by Fulani herdsmen.

He said:”A colleague of mine was severely matcheted to the extent that the injury affected his rib cage. We took him to the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, where he was rejected. We took him to the University College Hospital, Ibadan, he received treatment there for two weeks before we took him back to Igboora where he was eventually treated.”

He also narrated how the Fulani herdsmen atacked his rice, maize and cassava farmers, a development which made him lost millions of Naira. “I caught two cows right inside my father’s cashew farm of about four acres. I detained them for two weeks before I released them to their owners with a warning that they must not allow them to enter the farm again.” Salawu said.

The farmers concluded that if the activities of these herdsmen are not properly checked, it poses a lot of danger to making food available to the people of the state, adding that the negative impact of what the herdsmen are doing to farmers is being presently felt as majority of them cannot go to the farms again and food items are in short supply.



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