By Nabilu Balarabe
Kirikasamma – The Police in Jigawa said they have deployed a strike force squad to stop more destruction of farmlands in Kirikasamma Local Government Area of the state by nomadic herdsmen.
Its Police Public Relations Officer, SP Abdu Jingiri, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in a telephone interview.
He said the state Police Commissioner, Mr Bala Senchi, mobilized “ a formidable number” of mobile policemen and deployed them to the area to protect lives and property.
“ Even before they started destroying the farmlands, we received an intelligence report that thousands of herdsmen were gathered in the area, which informed the deployment,” he explained.
NAN reports that the council’s Vice Chairman, Alhaji Alasan Matafari, had earlier raised alarm over the invasion of the herders in the area.
He had alleged that over 500 farmlands were on the verge of destruction by the herders if nothing was done to avert the danger.
Matafari said about 1,000 herders, armed with sticks and machete had pushed their animals to graze on farmlands in the area and were currently moving westwards to neighboring Guri Council Area.
“As we speak, nomadic herdsmen, who came through northern Bauchi axis have gathered at the border between Kirikasamma and Guri LGA’s and started crossing into Kirikasamma.
“Each year they gather for grazing at Zagari forest in Guri during the rainy season, but it is their movement into our territory thereafter that has always led to destruction of farmlands and violence.
“Last year lives were lost in confrontation between farmers and these armed herdsmen in Marma and Madachi.
“That is why we have always advised them to pass through the shoulders of the highway where there are no farmlands, but they refused to listen,” he lamented.
A resident, Alhaji Aliyu Makama, who is also the Chairman of Fruits Sellers Association in the area told NAN that the herders had chased one Alhaji Abba Marma, a watermelon farmer in Marma, from his farm and fed their cattle with the fruits.
“They had already started feeding their cattle with the watermelons even before he was chased out.
“There were over 5,000 watermelons in the farm before he left.
“ We have found ourselves in a terrible situation where we cannot harvest our own crops and take home because of the activities of herdsmen.
“We are, therefore, calling on the state and Federal Governments to urgently wade into the matter to stop these armed herdsmen from further destroying our crops” he said