1,623 total views, 9 views today
We have stopped farming for fear of being raped, killed by herdsmen – Edo women
Female farmers in Uromi , Edo State recently took to the street to protest against the alleged destruction of their farms by Fulani herders , who they also accuse of kidnapping , killing and maiming residents . ADEYINKA ADEDIPE spoke to some of the protesting women
What is your name?
My name is Edit Oke .
What is this protest by Uromi women about?
We don’ t want the Fulani here anymore . We can no longer go to our farms because the Fulani have taken over our farms . Before now , one person could go to the farm and do her job . But now , a woman can no longer go to farm alone, because when they meet her on the farm , they will rape her, irrespective of her marital status . Sometimes they will climb trees and monitor women who come to the farm with the sole aim of raping them and they also kill such women even after raping them . They have destroyed many things in our farms , we no longer have cassava to harvest, we no longer see anything to harvest.
What loses have you incurred due to these attacks ?
As I speak to you, they have killed many people and are still killing people . When you go to the farm , they will chase you away and if you are adamant , they will kill you . We have reported to the police and the Ojuromi ( monarch ) in the past , but they did not do anything about it . That was why we came out to protest against this injustice .
What do you think should be done ?
As far as I am concerned , the Fulani should be sent away because there are no good Fulani in Uromi . We are pleading with the Ojuromi and the government to save us from the hands of the Fulani by sending them away from our land so that we can be free . We are not asking for compensation , we want them to leave our land , that ’s all .
We want Fulani herdsmen out of Edo – Female farmer
What is your name?
My name is Deaconess Patience Atijie .
Why have you and your fellow women taken to the street to protest?
We are here on the street protesting against atrocities by Fulani herdsmen. When we venture into farming and plant cassava, they will enter the farm , uproot the cassava and feed their cattle with it . When they meet a farmer on the farm , they will kill or maim the farmer with a machete . Women no longer go to the farm out of fear . When they meet a woman alone in the farm , they will rape the woman . These are the reasons we want them to leave our land because we used to have food but we are now hungry due to the atrocities of these herdsmen.
You said herdsmen destroyed your farm . Can you quantify the damage in monetary terms ?
What we have lost is unquantifiable in monetary terms . In the past , we made huge profits from the sale of vegetables and with it we could sustain our families for months not to talk of the profits we made from other farm produce . But now , these Fulani herdsmen feed our vegetables to their cows and destroy our farms . The vegetables alone sustained us before we started harvesting tomatoes, yam and many other farm produce . But today, we no longer see any of these because of Fulani herdsmen. What we have lost in the last two months is so much not to talk of the last five years . With the problem we are facing , we can no longer feed properly and pay the school fees of our children , which leaves many of the children hopeless and they have resorted to treading the wrong path . They are now busy going to Malaysia and Senegal to make money in the wrong way because parents no longer have money to train and feed their children . Due to this hardship partially caused by the activities of these criminals , many families are even afraid to give birth to more kids, even young couples .
Are you really blaming youth migration to foreign lands on herdsmen activities ?
The situation is making our youths to embark on dangerous trip by road to Libya to earn a living so as to rescue their parents from this hardship but some of them die and cause more emotional problems for their parents . Also, children are now stealing, while girls who are supposed to be in school are carrying unwanted pregnancies , with some turning to prostitution . If they had left our farms for us, won ’ t we make profit from the produce to train our children? Will a child who learns a trade and starts working engage in evil things ? The answer is no .
You also said the herdsmen kill farmers . Can you elaborate on this ?
I can ’t really say the number of people that have been killed by these devilish herdsmen. Some of us are afraid to report to the police because we are not literate . And when we summon courage to go to the police station, the police officers on duty will ask for money to follow up the case. So, we no longer go to the police .
If your grievance is against criminal Fulani herdsmen , why then are you demanding that all Fulani should leave Edo State ; are there no good Fulani in Uromi ?
Some have said there are good people among them , but I don’ t know anyone that is good among these people . No one is good among these people who go from one forest to another to harm people and destroy their farms . The Fulani are not good to us at all .
Why don ’ t you ask government to fish out the criminal Fulani herdsmen and order them to pay for the destruction of your farms instead of demanding that all Fulani should be sent out of Edo State?
We will be very happy if we are compensated but we don’ t want to see the Fulani again. If you compensate us and leave the Fulani in our land , the problem will continue . We will not be happy about compensation without the Fulani leaving our land .
But you know that as Nigerians , they can live in any part of the country. How do you want government to handle your demand?
We are calling on the police and government to save us. We want the Fulani out of our land so that we can have peace . We also pray that God give the police , government and our king the power and wisdom to save us from the hands of the Fulani. I don’ t know why people will leave their place , come to other people ’ s land to kill and kidnap and ask for huge ransoms.