MURIC To FG: We have frightening evidence of herdsmen atrocities against farmers

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The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has said that it has overwhelming evidence of destructions of farmlands by Fulani herdsmen across all the States of the federation.

Director of the human rights organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a press statement on Friday, February 2021 said it wants the Federal Government to compensate farming in all the states where herdsmen invade farms with their animals.

“MURIC is now in possession of indubitable evidence of the destruction of crops on farmlands by cows brought by herdsmen. We sent out feelers to all states where we have branches of MURIC and the reports are overwhelmingly convincing. We asked our members to supply information on the activities of herdsmen in their states, including Abuja. In fact, we were stupefied by the outcome.

“The most recent report from a young member of MURIC in Ogun State who ventured into agriculture reads: ‘Herders invaded my five hectares of rice farm three days ago (31 January 2021) and it was totally destroyed. The incident happened at the farm of Sanpro Foods, a rice production company whose premises is located at the Oyan farm settlement, Ibaro Rice Village, Ibaro in Abeokuta North Local Government, Abeokuta, Ogun State. The farm is along Igboora Road after the roundabout.”

“The most heart-rending part of the report was towards the end where it added: “The most frustrating part is am not getting my investment back and I hate this feeling of “nothing can be done” I don’t know what to do, perhaps I should organise a press conference.”

“As if that was not enough, the mudiir (principal) of a local Arabic school in Lagos also reported another sad incident in which herders brought cows to invade his father’s cashew farm in Ijomu-Oro, Kwara State. Everything was destroyed and he lamented that his father would have realised millions of naira had he been able to harvest his cashew nuts. He added that the fear of herders has forced farmers in Ido-Oro (also in Kwara State) to abandon their farms.

“This is frightening. Farmers in Kwara State are afraid of going to their farms due to the activities of herders. Farmers in Zamfara and Katsina have run away from their farms for fear of being killed or kidnapped by bandits. Farmers in Ilesa, Osun State, those in Igangan, Oyo State, and those in Ebonyi live in palpable fear of herders. From where shall food come to our tables? Famine is coming! Cows and bandits have taken over Nigerian farms’ part of the statement read.

The organization called on the Federal Government to roll out a compensation programme, albeit instrumentally, to be paid to farmers of all categories who have evidence of loss of crops due to the activities of herders and bandits. This will make the government’s policy of bailout comprehensive, fair, and balanced.

Akintola appealed to all groups currently agitating for one thing or the other to simmer down and allow the government to handle the situation as it should.

There is no problem without a solution so long as we can have time to sit down and think. We call on the security agencies to descend on criminals among the herdsmen as well as others in society and bring them to book. What we should not do is ethnic profiling.

But no tribe has immunity so long as crime has been committed and evidence has been provided.

“We remind Nigerians that wars and conflicts have not yielded positive results anywhere in Africa. It was Herodotus who said, “In peace, sons bury their fathers, but in war, fathers bury their sons.” The question is: do we want to start burying our sons? May Allah forbid. Neither does anyone know who will survive if we start a war? That was why Bertrand Russell said, “War does not determine who is right, but who is left.” We hope Nigerians still have time to ponder before we start counting body bags” the statement read.

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