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Rivers State farmers protest herdsmen invasion

By The Citizen
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Farmers in Rivers State have taken to the streets in protest of the invasion of their farm lands by suspected herdsmen.

The aggrieved farmers in Omoku town in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of the state staged the protest on Saturday over the alleged destruction of their farm crops by herdsmen in the area.

The farmers, who were mainly women numbering over 200, matched to the ONELGA Council Secretariat to register their grievance.

It was learnt that there had been cases of conflict between farmers in the area and cattle rearers.

Southern City News also gathered that crops of the farmers had been destroyed by cattle.

It was also gathered that the relationship between the herdsmen and farmers went sour as there was no more trust between both parties.

In the protest, the farmers demanded that the herdsmen should be banished from their communities, noting that they were attacked in their farms on a daily basis.

A leader of the protesters, Mrs. Precious Nze, accused the herdsmen of invading their farms with AK 47 to rape women and destroy their crops.

Nze also accused the herdsmen of harvesting crops, which she said had brought a lot of hunger to the land.

Nze said, 'We, the farmers in ONELGA, are not happy with the activities of herdsmen in our communities. They are causing us pain.

'Our demand is simple; we want the local government authority to help and stop these herdsmen from entering our land. We don't want them again in our communities.

'They are destroying our crops and when you try to approach them, they will bring out dangerous weapons. They are also raping our women in the farm.'

Nze stressed that farmers in the area would not continue to suffer in the hands of those raping them and destroying their food crops.

Responding on behalf of the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the LGA, Isaac Umejuru, Obed Douglas, assured the protesters that the council would not relent in its effort at ensuring peaceful co-existence among the people and the Hausa community in the area.

Douglas told the protesters that the cattle owners, representatives of farmers, security agencies had been engaged in a meeting aimed at finding a lasting solution to avert possible clash between farmers and herdsmen in the area.