Herders steal our foodstuff, cows destroy our crops in Umueri – Anambra farmers cry out

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The Anambra State government on Friday denied that a herd of cattle invaded the international airport in Umueri and destroyed crops in a nearby farm.

However, farmers in the area said the cows gained access to the vicinity of the airport.

One of the farmers, Ezinne Nwede, who works with Offor Farms, told journalists that they would not let cows destroy their crops again. Prior to Friday, farmers and herders have clashed in part of the state due to the destruction of crops.

This is despite the passage of the Anti-Open Grazing by the State House of Assembly.

It was gathered that the herders gained entry from the Umueri route to the airport, destroying nearby farms.

“We were gripped by fear when the cattle herders climbed the wire fence of the farm into the place to scare the workers,” a farmer said.

A horticulturist, Udochukwu Uzor, contracted to plant palm trees at a farm near the airport, said he was terrified by the “dreaded cattle rearers”.

He said that about two months ago, the herders gained entry into the farm workers’ house to steal foodstuff.

The owner of one of the farms, Ikenna Offor, expressed very concern about the development.

He said he thought that open cattle grazing had been addressed by the Southeast governors.

“So, we need to nip this pending crisis in the bud before it rears its ugly head in a wrong direction,” he said.

Anambra State Police Command, through its spokesperson Ikenga Tochukwu, said the state had set up a herder-farmer committee to resolve any issues.

The committee, he said, comprises government officials and representatives of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN).

“I don’t think there will be any form of trouble between the herders and farmers again. Everyone is working hard to ensure such problem do not arise,” Tochukwu said.

Anambra Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, denied that a herd of cattle invaded the airport.

He told our correspondent: “We refute with all the emphasis at our disposal the report that a group of Fulani herdsmen and their herd of cattle invaded the newly-built and commissioned Anambra State International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri.

“Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Even by the standard of sensational journalism, the report took fiction too far.

“There was no case of cattle herders gaining ‘entry from the Umueri route to the airport, destroying farms close to the airport.’

“The report does not make any mention of cross-checking with the Anambra State government that built the airport and runs it, or the airport security or even the police.

“Some envious elements within the political firmament have gone to great lengths to run down the landmark achievement of building the state-of-the-art airport by Governor Willie Obiano in record time, but it goes beyond the pale trying to manufacture fictions about a fanciful Fulani cattle invasion.

“The cattle being bred in the Umueri area for many years belong to Anambra farmers and investors, not to any imagined Fulani invaders.

“The perimeter fencing of the airport is up-to-date and cannot be breached easily, not by man or even far less by cattle.”

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