In the midst of severe hunger and economic challenges in Nigeria, individuals believed to be herdsmen have allegedly encroached upon agricultural land in the Ndegwu, Amakohia-Ubi, and Orogwe communities within Imo State's Owerri West Local Government Area.
The herders allegedly destroyed crops worth millions of naira, leaving affected farmers in those communities devastated.
One of the affected farmers from the Amakohia-Ubi community, Obiozor Solomon, told journalists in Owerri, the Imo State capital that they were at the mercy of God.
He lamented the activities and damages caused by the herdsmen, which he said had cost farmers in his area more than N20 million
He said because security agencies in the state were only interested in protecting herders to the detriment of the local communities, most farmers had embarked on the early harvest of their farm produce, especially cassava to prevent the crops from being destroyed and eaten by the herders’ cattle.
"Our farmlands have completely been taken over by herdsmen; they rear their cows in our farmland. All we see in the morning when we get there are pieces and crunches of leftovers from the cows.
"Our women and children are even afraid to go to the farms because of the herdsmen. This is a very sad development and we are afraid this might lead to a confrontation by our youths, whom we have been holding back," Obiozor said.
Meanwhile, the President General of the Ndegwu community, Ozichukwu Iroegbulem, told SaharaReporters in a telephone interview that he had made several efforts to reach the concerned authorities to come to their rescue but to no avail.
Iroegbulem said he was disappointed that despite efforts to curb the activities of herdsmen, nothing is done after farmers register their grievances.
He therefore called on the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma and security agencies in the state to come to their rescue before their youths become confrontational.
"I'm really worried by the invasion of these herdsmen that move over 300 cows about in our community. I have tried to lodge my complaints to the right authorities but it appears it is not yielding any result.
"My people are predominantly farmers, and we have lost a lot of money from the activities of these herdsmen. My people are now hungry because the cows have eaten up their crops, and the remnants they have been forced to harvest could not even sustain their hunger, especially now that things are expensive because of the fuel subsidy removal," he lamented.