Wednesday, June 30, 2021 9:44 am
By Okafor Ofiebor Port Harcourt
An elite group of elders of Ogoni known as ‘Gbo Kabari Ogoni”, has raised the alarm over alleged invasion of their communities by armed herdsmen who they accused of forceful occupation of their farmlands with their livestock.
The group raised the alarm in a statement released in Port Harcourt on Monday, titled, ‘Before we are killed again’ signed by their Chairman, Chief Monday Abueh, and Secretary, Desmond Nbete.
The Ogoni elders said for several weeks, the armed herdsmen had chased farmers and occupied vast areas of farmlands under effective cultivation across five communities in Khana and Eleme local government areas of the state.
They added that after occupying the farmlands, the herders graze their cows on crops in the affected communities, an action they described as a threat to peace and security of the area, as well as deliberate undermining of the livelihood of the people and their existence.
The statement partly reads, “For the past weeks, armed Fulani herdsmen have occupied vast areas of farmlands under effective cultivation in the Ogoni communities of Baa Luekun, Kpaa, Seme Luekun and Dae in Khana Local Government Area and Eteo in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The invaders, armed with sophisticated weapons, especially the dreaded AK-47, some of which are strapped to their cows, have driven away farmers from their farmlands, forcibly occupied the farmlands and are grazing their cows on cultivated crops.
“We are particularly concerned by the fact that when resisted or confronted by community leaders and representatives of our people, they have threatened mayhem and even boasted that the powers-that-be and the security agencies are aware of their presence, and would decisively deal with our people if further confronted.”