By AFAM Echi
An attempt by an Owerri based legal practitioner, Barr. Basil Igwike and wife Dr (Mrs) Maureen Igwike to teach their children how to farm for the first time in their lives ended in an awful experience as they got what they never bargained for.
The lawyer stated that the period of the forced holiday orchestrated by the COVID-19 pandemic had created time for him and so excitedly he arranged to teach his children how to farm. They have never had a farming experience all their lives.
What was an excitement for parents and children eventually turned disastrous as Fulani cattle herders ruined their joy with cows destroying everything in the one and half plots of land located at Avu. Nothing could be salvaged from the effort. Hear his story.
“My brother it is a gory sight, very very unfortunate. During the period of this lockdown I told my kids that I will teach them how to farm for the first time. I went to my land at Avu/Umugwuma area, cleared and cultivated the land, planted cassava, maize, and other crops on the land.
“It took me time and money to ensure that I farmed on the land. My children were very very happy that for the first time they are embracing farming. When the crops were germinating my children were very very excited at the sight. My children planted the maize, the cassava, and the yams. You can imagine their excitement beholding the fruit of their labour.
“Sadly, few days ago when my wife went to harvest the corns, she met our farm in a deserted state. The cows by the herders entered into the farm fed on my crops, destroyed all the corns, uprooted and destroyed the cassava, destroyed the yams and ate them all. It was as if they were stationed there in my farm, my wife and my first daughter who went with her to the farm started crying.
“They were crying uncontrollably. When they sent the video clip to me I shed tears. My worry is that this is what farmers experience in this part of Nigeria and nobody is listening to them. I am not talking about the huge amount I spent in the farm but the psyche and mental trauma the experience has caused my children can never be erased. This is my greatest problem.
“Up till now I am still dumbfounded on the level of destruction. The herders and their cows entered my crops with impunity to destroy. That has opened my eyes for the first time. I was asking myself assuming I was around when this people entered my farm land I would resist them.
“The result could have been disastrous. Perhaps they could have killed me or my family with their AK 47. The worst is that the government doesn’t want to listen. They don’t want to listen to the cries of farmers especially in the Southern part. I don’t know what to say again, I am dumbfounded.”
The lawyer who stated that he lost over half a million in the farm noted that the desertion of farm lands in the area by farmers on account of similar experience which he said is common is the reason why food is scarce and expensive in Imo.
He lamented that government’s lack of protection of farmers is the cause of food insecurity and called on the authorities to take immediate step to re-write the story. As at the time of reporting he was yet to reach the police, local authorities and the state government.