Herdsmen’s presence puts Abia community on edge

Abia State
The presence of herdsmen in Ohuru Isi-Miri community in the Obi Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia State has put farmers in the community, especially women, on the edge.
A News Agency of Nigeria correspondent who visited the community on Thursday reports that gloom has descended on the community due to the inability of people to cultivate their farms.
The presence of the herdsmen has sparked intense fear among residents, with many of them, especially women, now shunning farming, to avoid getting raped or killed by herdsmen.
NAN learnt that the herdsmen have found a home on an empty land owned by Nigerian Breweries, near Ohuru Isi-Miri town, making the place a no-go area for people.
At a meeting in Aba on Thursday, women from the community pleaded with the Abia State Government to step in to dislodge the herders from their farmlands.
One of the women, Mercy Samuel, said she secured a land to farm in the community but the presence of the herdsmen had prevented her from working on her farm.
Samuel said: “Please tell Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to help us remove the herdsmen and their cows before they kill us.
“I cannot farm because of the menace of herdsmen.
“Each time I enter my farm, my heart misses beats and my body begins to shake.
“Government should please intervene to save our lives.”
Another farmer, Joanna Nwankwo, lamented that watching the animals destroy her crops had always made her sick and hopeless.
Nwankwo pleaded with Ikpeazu to come to the rescue of farmers before herdsmen would wipe them out through destruction of their means of livelihood.
According her colleague, Peace Moses: “Herdsmen have become a threat to our existence.
“They come into our farms to graze.
“If you look around the farm you will see how cows have eaten our newly planted crops, leaving nothing but stumps of crops.
“The maize and cassava you’re seeing should have reached maturity by now but constant grazing on our farms by herdsmen does not allow the crops to grow.
“We borrowed money to buy land and cultivate the crops but now that herdsmen have turned it to grazing field, I wonder how we can get money to pay government that lent us money to do farm work.”
Other women, including Charity Bara, Uloma Okezie, Roseline Uduuko and Salome Samuel, took turns to speak on the development, pleading with government to come to their rescue.
They said government should assist them with loans for them to start all over again during the next farming season.