Herders’ attacks: Farmers in Oyo, Osun, others demand N284bn compensation

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Herders’ attacks: Farmers in Oyo, Osun, others demand N284bn compensation

Herders’ attacks: Farmers in Oyo, Osun, others demand N284bn compensation

•Relive ugly experiences with killer herdsmen

•FEC approved N27.4b as intervention for states, says Garba Shehu

As farmers across the country continue to count their losses arising from the destruction of their crops and farmlands by herders, cultivators in eight of the hardest-hit states claim that about N284 billion worth of products were destroyed. They want the federal government to pay them compensation to cover the losses. But Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, says both sides (farmers and herders) have suffered losses, adding that the federal executive council approved N27.4 billion as intervention funds for states affected by conflicts, insecurity and flooding. Farmers’ associations in Anambra, Benue, Delta, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau and Taraba states said that their members have been going through hell at the hands of herders who wantonly invade farms and let loose their cattle to feed on crops that have taken months of hard labour and sweat to plant and nurture. Scores of farmers, according to the association, have also been killed or maimed by the herders. In some cases, the herders ensure that farmer victims have little or nothing to fall back on after destroying their farms, the chairman of the farmers’ association in Benue State, Aondongu Saaku,said. “In some places, they (herders) burnt houses and dropped chemicals in the wells so that the waters there would not be useful,” he said. “They carry out the attacks in such a way that the farmers would not be able to regain their losses. “We experience loss of human lives, loss of farmlands and loss of crops which could have been used to start fresh planting.” The farmers’ associations estimated their losses at N284 billion and want the federal government to pay them. The Oyo State chair, Ayoola Ajibesin, said: “We know that the government does not care about compensating us for all that we have lost. But going by the volume of what we have lost, if there should be compensation from government to farmers in Oyo State, it should not be less than N40 billion. “Even if this amount is given, it can never replace the lives of our promising members that have been murdered by the herders. His Delta State counterpart, Umunna Anthony, said the state does not deserve anything less than N50 billion as compensation. The same amount is being demanded by the association in Taraba State while Benue wants N45 billion. But the head of Odugbehan Community in Agatu LGA, Bawa Haruna, differed with the Benue State chairman of the association on the figure. Haruna said farmers in Agatu Local Government area of the state alone have incurred losses in excess of N50 billion. His words: “If I would ask for compensation for Agatu alone, it should be nothing less than N50 billion. I cannot estimate the losses in other 22 local government areas. Agatu is well known for farming, and when you talk of Benue State being the food basket of the nation, it is Agatu that contributes the largest part.” Osun State puts its losses at N20 billion, Plateau N4 billion, Ondo N40billion and Anabmra N30billion.

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