A multi-million naira maize farm belonging to members of the Maize Growers Processing Marketer Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN) have been destroyed by herdsmen in Ekiti State.
The farm covering about 235 hectares of land is at the state forest reserve in Aduloju farmstead located along Ado-Ijan road in Ado Local Government Area of the state.
Speaking with newsmen, on Tuesday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, the state secretary of the association, Mr Tope Emmanuel, said the herders had been terrorising the farmers in the last one week leading to the destruction of the maize farm.
Emmanuel explained that the pastorals stormed the farm at night with dangerous weapons to feed their cows and, “all efforts to stop them have been rebuffed.”
He disclosed that members obtained about N6.6 million loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) under the anchor borrowers’ programme in September 2020 to plant the maize, adding that the 160 members had been left with nothing to cultivate from the expected proceed worth N10 million.
According to him:-
“Last year, we approached the CBN as a group to obtain loan worth N6.6 million for the maize farm and we planted the maize covering 235 hectares of land the farm.
“But unfortunately when we were preparing for cultivation, the herdsmen came and destroyed everything on the farm with nothing for us again. Those herders always go there during the night with dangerous weapons in the last few days and nobody can challenge them because of the arms they are holding. We can’t go to the farm now.”
Emmanuel pleaded with the state government and other stakeholders to come to their rescue in saving them from the hands of the deadly herdsmen and helped in recouping their investment.
“Don’t forget that government always say we should go to the farm and we approach the bank for loan hoping to pay back after cultivation but nothing to cultivate now as these herders have destroyed everything in the farm.
“We are begging the state government to save us as members are really in a difficult situation now in view of the loan and you can predict what might follow if nothing is done,” he said.
He said the police and the State Security Network Agency code-named Amotekun had been briefed on the incident but expressed regret that nothing was forthcoming from the security agents.
When contacted, the Ekiti Amotekun corps commander, Brig-Gen Joe Komolafe (retd), confirmed the incident, adding that, “we are handling the situation.”