Over 750 hectares of rice farm in Dubale Village of Lau Council, Taraba State, cultivated by Wal-Wanne Nigeria Limited, have been allegedly occupied and completely destroyed by armed herdsmen and their cattle.
The farm Coordinator, Muhammed Musa, at a press briefing on Wednesday in Jalingo, lamented that the rice farm had yielded well and harvest was about to commence when the herdsmen brought about 2,000 cows to occupy and destroy it.
Musa appealed to security operatives to help in arresting the armed herdsmen so as to bring them to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
He called on the government to compensate the company and other affected farmers in the area in order to keep the hope of ensuring food security alive.
“As a company, we have been farming rice in many states of the federation; but we have never witnessed destruction of this magnitude.
“I am so surprised at the manner in which armed herdsmen move about destroying farms in the state.”
The Dubale farm supervisor, Mustapha Mohammed, lamented that their dreams of ranking among the highest rice producing companies in the country had been thwarted by the activities of the herdsmen.
When contacted, the North East Zonal Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Mafindi Danburam, said that he was aware of the sad incident and had directed the farmers to ensure arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.
“The farmers have drawn my attention to what happened and whose rice farm was invaded.
“I have told them to try and identify the herders for arrest because that is the only way we can bring them to book,” he said.
Police Public Relations Officer, ASP David Missal, also urged the company to report the incident to the Lau Divisional Police Station for immediate action.