The farmers, who obtained loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria, said the herdsmen came with dangerous weapons and overpowered the security operatives manning the farm located at Ago Aduloju forest.
One of the farmers, Adekunle Falana, said the invasion shattered his hope of making profit and plunged him into debts.
He said, “When it was about three weeks to the harvest period, the herdsmen invaded the plantation with their cows and they grazed all the crops. We reported the case at the police station when it first happened on the January 18 (2021), we also went to the Amotekun operatives but we were told no bus was available.
“We took all these steps and had no help and as we returned to the plantation, the herdsmen were still there.
“We have been traumatized. We were advised to harvest the rest of the crops as they were, and we hired some Hausa men to do that but the Fulani herdsmen came again in the evening with their cows and chased them all away from the farm and no one could challenge them as they destroyed all the crops.
“The worth of the maize crops destroyed is up to 72 million naira. Because planting on an hectare of land will make us yield about eight tons of maize crops. If the CBN agents take two tons, we have the remaining six tons as our profit and we know how much that is worth when sold.
“We do not have any profit whatsoever and we are unable to pay back the loan we took. This is why we cry to the government that we are not antagonists to them, we are only showing our grievances as we do not have anywhere else to go. We beg everyone to assist us. The only farm work we depend on for our living has been destroyed within just four days.
“We beg the government to assist us, so we do not start committing atrocities in the town.”
Another farmer, Oke Rachael, said had the herdsmen not invaded the plantation with their cattle, MAGPAMAN would have been the largest maize plantation in the south-western part of Ekiti.
“If the cows had not eaten the crops, we would have been the ones with the largest maize plantation in the south-western part of Èkìtì. The passersby who saw the plantation at that time testified to this and joined our business initiative.
“I will like to plead to everyone, especially our governor- Fáyẹmí that they should all assist us and not let us be in absolute debt because we took a loan from the CBN to start the business. I plead to them all to assist us and not let us be in debt,” the female farmer said.
“Nothing was left for us and we are almost in penury and that is why we are crying because we don’t know where to start from,” lamented another farmer, Emmanuel Joseph.