Some suspected Fulani herdsmen have allegedly invaded a forest reserve in Ekiti State, destroying a multi-million naira maize farm belonging to members of the Maize Growers Processing Marketer Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN).
The farm, covering about 235 hectares of land, is at the state forest reserve in Aduloju farmstead located along Ado-Ijan Road in the Ado Local Government Area of the state.
Tope Emmanuel, state secretary of MAGPAMAN, in a statement on Tuesday said the herders had been terrorising farmers in the area for the past one week, leading to the destruction of the farm.
Emmanuel pleaded with the state government and other stakeholders to come to their rescue and save them from the hands of the herdsmen.
He said, “Last year, we approached the Central Bank of Nigeria as a group to obtain a loan worth N6.6 million for the maize farm and we planted the maize, covering 235 hectares of farmland.
“But unfortunately, when we were preparing for cultivation, the herdsmen came and destroyed everything in the farm with nothing for us again. Those herders have always been going there during the night with dangerous weapons in the last few days and nobody can challenge them because they are armed. We can’t go to the farm now.
“Don’t forget that the government always says we should go to the farm and we approached the bank for loan hoping to pay back after cultivation but nothing to cultivate now as these herders have destroyed everything on the farm.
“We are begging the state government to save us as our members are really in a difficult situation now in view of the loan and you can predict what would follow if nothing is done.”
The governors of the South-West who met in Ondo State capital, Akure, on Monday had banned all forms of open grazing in the region.
The decision was taken during the meeting which was held with the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria as well as security chiefs.
The meeting came after the expiration of a seven-day ultimatum given to herdsmen by the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, to vacate the forest reserves in the state.
According to Akeredolu, criminals masquerading as herdsmen have been using the forest reserves to commit crimes.