From Abel Leonard, Lafia
Farmers in Tatara, Angwan Barao, Community, Kokona Local Government Area of Nasarawa State are appealing to the state government and authorities to come to their aid, complaining that Fulani herdsmen have entered their community, destroying over 11 farmlands.
Village head Austin Gyar made the appeal while speaking to Daily Sun on Thursday at Garaku in Kokona, saying that maize he had harvested three days previously were destroyed by herdsmen Sunday night.
He stated that the community is no longer safe, as he called on the Nasarawa State government to protect them.
“We had meetings with herdsmen that we know residing in the community but they said they don’t know the ones that are invading their farmland,” Gyar said.
“We are not safe we cant recall their numbers because I asked them to leave the community but they refused and said they don’t care to die here stating that they are man enough to face them.
“What they do is to wait at night or when we are in the church they will go and clear the farmland. They are chronic people.”
The village head also seek the intervention of the police to ensure justice after arrested some of the perpetrators but the police seems not to be helping them
“We want justice whatever it will take to ensure that this people are prosecuted sent to prison. We are suffering by their hands. As the village head we informed the police but we don’t understand what the police are doing with the case.
“We took the police to the place we don’t understand anymore because as if the police don’t want to do anything,” he said.
He also stressed that the case was later charged to court from the police “but we are not comfortable because the magistrate court in Garaku had said we should pay #40 thousand Naira to go to the farm again,” he added.
One of the farmers whose farm produce was destroyed, Moses Odejie, who is also a vigilante, said: “Last week Wednesday night herdsmen were seen destroying our farm land.”
“You go to farm in the morning you will discover that the farmland is destroyed. It started from Wednesday last week to Sunday.
“As a vigilantes we agreed to organise ourselves to find out who is destroying our farm land, on that night we caught a Fulani man grazing from one farmland to another, when we arrived they ran away and left their cattles.
“When we counted the farmland it was over 11 farmlands as at that night. We took the matter to our chiefs and he called the head of Fulani in the community but they said they don’t know the Fulanis that grazed their land.”
According to Moses, there is an existing agreement between the Fulani’s and the community people that anyone that destroys farmland will be asked to pay for it.
“We now took the cattles to the home of our village head and one of the Fulani herdsmen came and claimed ownership but was taking to the police,” he said.
We decided to take him to the police station where he was detained and all of a sudden was charged to court without trying to resolve the problem.
“Right now the police said the Fulani man only agreed to pay for only three farmland and not 11 so we disagreed with them and the matter was charged to court,” he said.
“The court is asking us again to pay #40 thousand Naira after spending over N21,000 at the police station without getting result. We don’t have such money to pay what we want is justice we can’t say for sure if this Fulani man is the only one in that community.
A police DCO at Garaku Division confirmed the matter, saying the case was charged to court because the both parties refused to settle.
“And they are also working on securing the community to ensure such issues do not arise again.
We are working out modalities to secure the community to avoid such issues. The case was charged to court because we want the court to give them justice and we want all the parties to be treated fairly,” the police officer added.