By Joshua Chibuzo Andrew, Owerri
Obosa Assa people in Ohaji/ Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State have decried the unlawful occupation of their farmlands and by Fulani herdsmen.
Famers, who spoke in separate interviews to newsmen, urged the state governor, Hope Uzodimma, and the Commissioner of Police in the state, Muhammed Berde, to come to their rescue.
According to them, “said since March this year, the herdsmen had continued to occupy their farmlands and destroy their crops, causing famine in the community.”
The chairman of Obosa Assa Community Security Committee, Monday Oparaji, a retired police officer, said the herders had increased tension in the community with their continuous occupation of their farmlands.
He called on the government to order the herders to vacate their farmlands and stop intimidating their wives and daughters.
“We call on the state government to avert bloodshed in our community by directing the herdsmen to vacate our farmlands. We are restraining our youths from confronting them to chase them out. Our wives and daughters can no longer go to the farm for fear of being molested or raped”, he said.
Another resident, Pastor Reuben Opara, said their wives and daughters no longer go to the farms because of fear of being raped.
He said the herders had been acting with so much impunity and scaring the people away with their guns and other weapons.
The community leader said, “We are calling on the state government and security agencies to come to our rescue. Our people are predominantly farmers but the ugly thing is that we no longer go to our farms because of the annoying occupation of our farmlands and the destruction of our crops by the rampaging Fulani herdsmen.
“Since March, the herdsmen have been occupying our farmlands, harassing and maiming people. They have also been raping our women and daughters. They have been feeding their cattle with our crops. As a result, hunger has come upon us because we are farmers. Nobody is ready to go to the farms because of the fear of the activities of the herders who have taken over our farmlands.”
Another indigene, Chief Luke Obiarije, said that the locals were living at the mercy of the herders who had launched all manner of onslaughts on them.
He said the herders acted in such a brazen way as if they owned the farmlands and the crops planted on them.
Obiarije, therefore, called on the government to immediately order the herders to vacate their farmlands.