A former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Samuel Afolayan, has disclosed how herdsmen destroyed about 45 hectares of his 500-hectare farm.This is following recent attacks by herdsmen in Benue State during which five people reportedly died. Speaking to journalists at Ibbo-Ile, in the Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State, he said, “It (the destruction) has become an annual routine. This will be the first time of letting people know about what has been happening in the last 10 years. The cow rearers have been damaging my crops.
“We believed that it was not deliberate when it first started. When we arrested them, they went to the local chiefs and friends to beg for them. The people that are engaging in this act are people of low means; so when they beg I usually release them. But I discovered that these boys are being sponsored by people of means outside Kwara State. We recently apprehended one of them from Zamfara State. There is another one in court, who is from Niger State. So most of the damage is from the north.“No fewer than 20 hectares of orange farm, five hectares of palm trees farm and 20 hectares of cassava farm had been destroyed this year. I am not an expert, but by my estimation, the current loss is over N200m. The destruction of farmland by herdsmen shows lip service of the agricultural policy of the government. Many of the local farmers around me do not come to farm again because the herdsmen, with impunity, will cut their cassava and other crops for their cows.”