By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—A prominent cassava farmer and the traditional ruler of Oriendu autonomous community of Umuahia North Council, Abia state, Eze (Pastor) Philip Ajomiwe has lamented the destruction of his cassava farm by herdsmen, saying that they destroyed cassava plants worth over N15 million.
The cassava farmer said the herdsmen invaded his massive cassava farm at Amakama in Umuahia South Council and destroyed his cassava plants and roots which he said would have adverse effect on his output this year.
He alleged that the herdsmen invaded the farm with over 300 cows to uproot the cassava stems and leaves.
The traditional ruler-cum farmer has therefore appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to come to his financial assistance to enable him absorb some of the losses.
The royal father who conducted newsmen and policemen round the farm lamented that if the problem of herdsmen destruction of farms and plantations was not addressed urgently, President Buhari’s crusade for people to ‘go back to farm’ would amount to a waste of time and energy as the nation would not achieve the food sufficiency campaign.
Eze Ajomiwe, who is also the chairman of Umuahia North traditional rulers council said that the farm land was part of the 10 hectares of land given to him by the National Research Cereal Institute where he planted “improved variety cassava called TME 419” which he said was good for processing of high quality cassava flour, odourless fufu, great for animal feed, starch, cassava high quality flour.
He said the herdsmen have put him in serious trouble over how to raise money to repay the loan he secured from a bank for the farm project.
According to him,the “International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) visited his farm last month would be shocked when they come back to see that the said TME419 due for harvesting has been wantonly destroyed by cows of herdsmen”.
He alleged that the police men visited the farm after a report was made, they “saw 3 Fulani herdsmen with over 300 cows and when Police called the one carrying bag suspected to be arms and ammunitions, he ignored the call and moved away others followed suit without coming to answer police; this is why I said it is only President Buhari that will call them to order”.
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