A’Ibom residents condemn destruction of farms by cattle rearers
By Theresa Ukpong, Uyo
Residents of Akwa ibom State have condemned the destruction of farmlands and crops by cattle rearers.
Some residents who spoke to newsmen recently lamented how the Fulani herders move freely into their farms destroying their crops especially Cassava without remorse.
A female farmer who simply identified herself as Mrs. Imaobong from Ikono Local Government Area said farmers in the area live in fear because the Fulani herders usually carry weapons like guns and knives.
“Sometimes I will ask myself, is it that they feel that this country belongs to them that they will come down here and do as the like? Some farmers have been killed while trying to resist them some years ago.
“And it is unfortunate that our government has not done anything serious about the situation over these years. When you talk or shout nobody will listen to you. That is why it appears as if we are not affected by the herders/farmers crisis in Akwa Ibom.
Another farmer in Okoita Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area who spoke on the ground of anonymity for fear of the unknown said the attack of the cattle rearers in their community was so bad that they prepared and drove them out of the area.
“They used to carry weapons to terrorise our people in their farms. They usually threaten our women and collect their food from them in the farms. Sometimes, they rape them. It was God that helped us from those Fulani herders in December 2017. It is since we succeeded in driving them out of our community later that we now go to farm without fear.
“It was a very serious issue and I thank God that they didn’t not succeed in kill us. Because they carry sophisticated guns you dare not challenge them when they enter your farm. We don’t pray for that kind of experience again.”
However, some indigenes of the state have expressed concern that it is because some top politicians in the are owners of those cows that is why the Fulani herders do what they do.
One of them who simply identified himself as Mr. Effiong stressed that there was need for Government to question rich men and owners of the cows how the Fulani, they hired to take care of their cows get their sophisticated weapons.
Responding to a question on if the Akwa Ibom state police command has received complaints of farmers/herders crisis in the state, the CP Andrew Amiengheme said: “Well there are one or two skirmishes between herders and farmers in the state, but I don’t think anybody has come up in this state to say that they saw them with arms.
On The question of whether the command has arrested anybody in line with FG’s directive that anybody caught with Ak47 should be arrested he responded, ” That directive was given at the federal level. When there is no complaints about such things on the ground, there will be no arrest. But I assure you that any directive we are given, we must comply.
“So if there is any such thing, anywhere, I am urging the people if they see anything of that nature they should tell the security agencies especially the police, and we will make arrest”