By Alfred Agudiebube
Women, mostly widows in the agrarian community of Ohuru-Isimiri, Obingwa LGA of Abia State have called on Gov. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu to come to their aide following persistent grazing on their farmlands by cattle.
The widows and the other women cried out against herdsmen’s activities which they claim is causing serious economic damage for them and their households.
They said that herdsmen occupying an empty plot of land owned by Nigerian breweries in Aba have been grazing on and “raiding” their farms daily causing them huge financial and material losses.
The women made their feelings known when our reporter visited Ohuru Isi-Miri Community yesterday during a meeting they held to discuss their farming challenges and solutions in the area.
A widow, Mrs Mercy Samuel said she paid to get two plots of land on lease, employed jobbers to clear and makes ridges on it for N20, 000, farmed on the land and used money to buy fertilizers only for her to lose everything to herdsmen.
In her words, “Why should I be forced into this kind of losses after so much expenditure?
“Please tell Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s to help us remove the herdsmen and their cows for us before they kill us with heart-attack.
“I have no husband and no male child; No one is helping me; I am doing everything with jobbers because I am old now, I cannot endure this anymore.
“I cannot afford food to eat again because of the menace of herdsmen and now when I enter my farm, my heart misses beats and my body begins to shake. Government should please intervene to save our lives.”
Another widow of over 65 years, Joanna Nwankwo lamented that she has no helper hence, she struggles to do most of the farm work by herself.
She said that the herdsmen and their cattle destroying her sweat makes her sick and hopeless.
She pleaded Gov. Ikpeazu to come to their rescue before herdsmen would wipe them out also just like their crops.
Adding her voice, Mrs Peace Moses said “I farm around here, but herdsmen have become a threat to our existence.
“They come into our farms to graze, if you look around this farm you will see how cows have eaten our newly planted crops leaving nothing at best in stumps of crops.
“These maize and cassava should have grown to point of being fertilized but for the constant grazing on our farms by herdsmen who have grazed in my farm for five times.
“We borrowed money to get land on lease and cultivate the crops, but now that herdsmen have turned it to grazing ground, I wonder how we can get money to pay government that lent us money to do the farm work.”
Also, Mrs Charity Bara, Uloma Okezie, Roseline Uduuko and Salome Samuel said they use farm products to take care of themselves and train their children, but regretted that herdsmen have been destroying their works and income.
They begged government to intervene and stop the grazing on their farms in order not to cause famine for them and their families and so turn them to beggars.
They also asked government to ensure compensations for them to enable them repay government loans with which they farmed.
FROM THE TOWER OF TRUTH