Farmers under the aegis of the Ijaye Farm Settlement Farmers’ Association have protested against attacks on their farmlands and members by some herders in the community.
The farmers besieged the Oyo State Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan on Wednesday to demand for urgent intervention by the state government as the new planting season approached.
According to the protesters, the incessant destruction of their farms as well as attacks on their lives grew worse as a result of lack of will power by successive administrations to address the menace.
They also expressed their dissatisfaction against the disposition of the security agents to their plights saying this had led to loss of their investments, as well as lives on farms within the Ijaye Farm Settlement.
The Chairman of the Ijaye Farm Settlement Farmers’ Association, Dr. Tunde Tairu, described the invasions of their farms as a sad but recurrent experience saying that they were being treated like slaves by the herdsmen.
Tairu said the herders were feared because they were armed with sophisticated weapons, alleging that “Two days ago, one of our farmers that challenged them on his farm got his left arm amputated.
“The Fulanis have been terrorizing farmers for a long time but the situation has become more precarious as the herders rape and kidnap inhabitants of the community.
“We request massive presence of security personnel on our farmlands and we also appeal to government to ensure that Amotekun officials are drafted into the community in order to curtail criminal elements.
“While stating that no government has ever given us listening ears and opportunity for dialogue, we plead that prompt action should be taken.”
In his response, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ojemuyiwa Ojekunle, assured the farmers that the state government had put measures in place to ensure security of lives of the farmers as well as their investments.
The Commissioner said the administration is interested in growing the economy of the state through agriculture and its value chain in line with its four-point developmental agenda.
Ojekunle said the government would leave no stone unturned at ensuring that farmers and other investors had a conducive environment to ply their trades.
Also in attendance at the peace meeting was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Bolatumi Oloko, among others.