Ogoni women allege herdsmen invasion, destruction of farmlands

Some farmers in Ogoni land, Rivers State, have raised the alarm over the invasion of their farmlands by herdsmen, saying they allowed their livestock to feed on their crops.

The farmers, all women said they have suffered huge losses due to the destruction of their farmlands, pointing out that they were unable to access their farms for fear of being attacked.

The women who spoke during a one-day sensitisation programme on security, organised by Lokiaka Community Development Centre in Port Harcourt lamented that they now find it difficult to feed their families as their source of livelihood was under threat.

Some of the affected women are Mary Amanikpo, a native of Lueku community in Nyo-Khana, Mercy Glory of Sogho community Khana and Yeye Nkani, a native of Eleme, all in Ogoni land, Rivers State.

Glory said, “When the herdsmen came into my community since last year they have been destroying our cassava to the extent that we could not bear it again.

“Sometimes ago, my son approached them and pursued them out from the farmland but they threatened my son with their daggers and matchets. He narrowly escaped being killed.

“We went to the community and reported to the youth leader and went back to the farm the following day, I personally asked one of the herdsmen what happened to my cassava that they have destroyed and I don’t have anyone to harvest for food or to sell for my children upkeep, he told me that my community chief has collected money from them and they will stay till their money is exhausted.”

She further said all efforts to make their government representatives intervene in the matter and to enable them to return to their farms had proved unsuccessful.

Glory said, “Our local government chairman and our representative at the State House of Assembly are aware of this but have not done anything to help us. We the Ogoni women are all farmers and it is what we profit from farming that we use in training our children and doing all we want to do as a livelihood.”

“The government should send all these herdsmen away from our land and empower our women to return back to active farming.”

Earlier, Executive Director of Lokiaka, Martha Agbani, explained that the meeting was to sensitise them on how to be vigilant and security conscious while in their farms.

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