For those close to the nation’s farmlands the threat of massive famine in 2018 and 2019 is gradually becoming a reality.
Nigeria is likely to experience the first full blow of famine crisis occasioned by the continuous herdsmen’s attacks on farmers nationwide which has resulted in losses of lives and property and the displacement of thousands of farmers far away from their farms.
In the past, food shortages or low productivity had occurred on account of unfavourable weather or pest infestation.
These attacks in most cases were accompanied with the burning of the homes of the farmers, destruction or looting of their food storage facilities or the occupation and grazing on their farmlands by cows and herdsmen., Vanguard reports.
Even if the ongoing military operations are successful, most displaced farmers will find it difficult to resume their farming.
The government’s tardiness to put a stop to the armed Fulani herdsmen atrocities has created a situation in which farmers are unable to harvest what is left of their ravaged farms because they are either in refugee camps or are on the run for their lives.
Most of them are also not planning to return home soon to start planning for the planting season which starts anytime from now. With millions of farmers not harvesting now and not planting for the next season, it requires no prophet to predict a looming famine.
The blame should lie squarely at the doorsteps of the Federal Government which failed to mobilise the security forces to effectively provide security when the attacks intensified over the past couple of years. Media reports of these attacks were totally ignored, until the Benue State Government decided to conduct a state funeral for the victims of the New Year Day massacres on live television.
We are raising this alarm to enable the Federal and state governments to brace up for the food shortages ahead and plan to mitigate them. All efforts must be made to eliminate the herdsmen threat.
The nomadic livestock operators should be persuaded and assisted to accept the ranching option. There is no other way forward than this.
According to an earlier report by Legit.ng, spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and a former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Professor Ango Abdullahi, has defended herdsmen menace in a recent interview he had with a national newspaper.
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Abdullahi who spoke with Vanguard Newspaper accused Nigerians of bias against the herdsmen. He said many people are not ready to defend the rights of the herdsmen.
"But I tell you, what is happening today is that politicians are dividing this country on the basis of political interests and people are paid to protect the affairs of these politicians. And journalists are also falling into the same trap of tribalism and all sorts of divisive measures."
Victims of Herdsmen killing buried in Benue state on Legit.ng TV: