By ZEPH Onyirima
The Fulani herdsmen have taken over a large area of farm lands in Obudi Agwa, Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.
The herders in droves with more than 600 cows from Egbema in Ohaji.Egbema LGA where they were recently chased away after they had clashes with the youths of Obokofia Egbema, had found solace in the vast area of farm lands which stretches from Egbema along Obudi Agwa.
Saturday Nigerian Horn gathered that since late June when they arrived to the place, no farmer or woman has crossed that area to visit or attend to their crops any longer. Several tones of fresh maize and other crops ripe for harvest could not be harvested due to fear of being molested by the heavily armed herdsmen.
A hunter who suddenly burst into one of their makeshift canopies was chased until he reportedly got lost in the bush since three days.
Another source disclosed that a couple of weeks since the herders sojourn in the farm land areas, crops worth millions of naira have been destroyed as the cows feed on virtually every green leaves in the farm area.
You recall that this same group of herders in an attempt to occupy lands in Egbema, Umuekpu Agwa and Oguta farm land areas were met with stiff opposition and eventually left these areas to Obudi Agwa farm land where they are now ravaging crops worth millions of naira without concern of anybody or leader.
Meanwhile a great farmer and cabinet chief in the area, Chief Maurice Orusakwe in a brief comment, to Saturday Nigerian Horn that he would report the matter to the palace of the traditional custodian of the town, Eze I.O Asor for prompt decision and action on the issue.
Orusakwe however bemoaned the presence of the Fulani herdsmen in the area whom he described as undesirable group in the society following their recent activities nation wide.
Saturday Nigerian Horn further gathered that when a phone call was put across one of the cattle owners by one of the community leaders whose name was not immediately captured, by the reporter, the cattle owner responded that the community leader should go to hell; a position that has created more tension amongst the people.
Already, the affected community has appealed to those in authority, including the Transition Committee Chairman of Oguta LGA, Mr. Hilary Eberendu, the deputy-governor of Imo State, Hon. Gerald Irona who happens to be an indigene of Oguta and the Imo State government to quickly intervene in the matter to avoid imminent clashes between the herders and the community.
The road where these cattle herders occupy is the major access road between Agwa to Egbema and the rest of South South geopolitical zone including Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo States of Nigeria and since their occupation of the access road, no meaningful economic transaction has gone across the place.