Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Farmers in Ondo State, who are of Ebira extraction in Kogi State, have protested an alleged invasion of their farm land and attack of their members by herdsmen.
Daily Sun gathered that about 20 Ebira farmers, dealing in food crops, are already receiving medical treatment at various hospitals across the state as a result of the attack by the herdsmen.
The aggrieved farmers are operating in Elegbeka, Agogboro, Oba-Ile, Iju Itaogbolu, Ologido, Malege and Ogbese all in Akure South and North local government areas of the state.
The farmers pleaded with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to intervene in the incessant attacks on them and their crops by the herders.
Ebira Farmers Association (EFA) Chairman, Amuju Ovoro, said: “Fulani herders are attacking us on regular basis. They will invade our farms with their cows and uproot our crops prematurely, causing unprecedented losses to us.
“As at today, 20 of our members are being hospitalised following attack by Fulani herdsmen on our farms.
“Our crops are being destroyed and our water contaminated. The herdsmen will arm themselves with offensive weapons in the night with their mission of massive destruction on our farm crops and assault on us.
“They even went to the extent of raping our women. We, therefore, plead with the governor to rescue us. We are peace-lovers and have been operating in Ondo State for several decades without molestation from any quarters.”
Also, Ebira Community President, Abdulsalam Dagana, who described Ondo State as their second home, said he was born and trained with proceeds from his parents’ farm in the state.
“The herdsmen are committing many atrocities against my kinsmen, Akeredolu should kindly wade into this matter before it gets out of hand.
“We want peace in Ondo State, we are sojourning here for our daily bread. Ebira people are no cowards, but we don’t want to create tension in the state. The governor should intervene immediately as an advocate of peace,” he said.
Special Assistant to the Governor on Ebira Community Matters, Hassan Ahete, however, pleaded with his kinsmen, urging them to remain calm.
He said he has been meeting with his people, pleading for peace in spite of the recent development.
He said the herdsmen had attacked his people several times in the past and promised to take their case to the appropriate quarters for prompt action.
Ahete assured the people that Akeredolu would not tolerate breach of peace in any part of the state, adding that the governor would take swift action on the matter.
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Femi Joseph said the matter had not been officially reported at the police command.
He said if such incident happened, the farmers should let the police know, stressing that offenders would be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
The police spokesman said the command would not tolerate any act capable of disrupting the peace of the state.