Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Herders have destroyed a rice farm with produce worth N17million in Akpugo in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The farm belongs to Mr. Ekene Uzodinma, a former gubernatorial candidate of United People’s Party (UPP) who raised the alarm yesterday that herds of cattle had eaten up over eight hectares of his farmland. He said the herders who invaded the farm threatened to deal with anybody who dared to stop their cattle from grazing.
“I was summoned to the farm by my workers at about 7 p.m., when they were overwhelmed in chasing hundreds of the cattle away, and by the next morning they had devoured and devastated the whole rice farm. From the market value of the local rice, the eight hectares should produce at least 80 tons of rice as finished product, and that is nothing less than N17 million in value,” he said.
According to Uzodinma, the havoc by the herders had created fear among owners of rice farms and workers from going to their farms.
“Initially, we tried our best to wade them off, especially during the raining season. The swampy nature of the rice farm also kept the herdsmen and their herds away. However, when we started harvesting and the dry season rolled in by early December, we were constantly chasing them away until December 15 when they started encroaching into the rice farm late evenings and at night,” he said.