No fewer than 200 women in the Ogba-Egbema-Andoni Council of Rivers State have protested against the invasion of their farmlands by herdsmen.
They are angered by the destruction caused by the herdsmen and their cattle on their farms.
 
Displaying placards, the aggrieved women blocked the gate of the council headquarters at Omoku, demanding that herdsmen should vacate their farmlands.


One of the placards reads: “We are afraid of going to the farm. Life is difficult now.”
 
The women leader of Obirikom in the Usonmi Clan of the council, Isiodu Nkeiruka stated that residents have suffered untold oppression from herders.
She lamented the destruction caused by herders on their farmlands for the past seven to eight years.


She noted that they had on several occasions sought the intervention of the council chairman, Department of State Services (DSS), Joint Task Force Area Command and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area but that nothing has changed.


According to her, the quantity of cassava they now harvest has reduced due to the activities of herdsmen.
She stressed that they now produce less than a basin of garri because cattle usually destroy their cassava, along with other crops.
 
Nkeiruka described farming as their major means of livelihood, adding that it is what Ogba people are known for.
 
“Herdsmen have been going to our farms, destroying our yams and other crops. They have been terrorising and killing us with knives and guns and raping our women. Enough is enough, even if you do not eat garri or cassava, your children and mothers do.
 
“We plead with the federal and state governments to assist us because we do not want to be tagged lazy, just as President Muhammadu Buhari once tagged Nigerian youths as lazy,” she said.
 
Also speaking, the local government chairman, Vincent Job, described the herdsmen menace as a very disturbing situation in the community.
 
Citing the example of a girl that was beaten brutally, he narrated how herdsmen have been destroying their farm produce and causing them pain.
He called on the Nigerian government to assist, as the people do not want to take the law into their hands.
 
“We hate the activities of the herdsmen. We plead with the federal and state governments to assist us in cautioning the herdsmen. We do not like the way they operate in our area, but we do not want to take the law into our hands,” he said.

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