Hundreds of people, mostly women, Friday trooped to Umuahia, the Abia State capital to protest the invasion of their farmlands by Fulani herdsmen, whom they accused of not only destroying crops but sexually harassing women who go to farms.
The protesters who came from Ahaba Imenyi in Isuikwuato local government took their protest to government house where they recounted their ordeal in the hands of the herdsmen, who act with impunity.
A community leader, Mr. Ikechukwu Orunta said that they decided to come to the seat of government in order to draw the attention of the state governor to the “atrocities being committed by the herdsmen against the people of Ahaba Imenyi.
He said the Fulani herdsmen had taken over the entire community with their cattle which destroy the farms and defecate into the only source of water supply for the community, adding that the security agencies had not been of any help.
“We have made several attempts to stop them to no avail and all efforts to get the security agencies to call them to order have failed,” the community lamented.
A woman leader in the distressed community, Mrs. Victoria Ifeanyichukwu said that the community had been pushed to the wall as women had stopped going to the farms due to the incessant sexual harassments and attempted rape by the herdsmen.
“We can’t go to our farms for fear of being raped by the herdsmen,” she said, adding that there was need for government to come to their rescue and save the community from starvation and disease arising from pollution of their water supply.
In his response, the state Governor, Chief Theodore Orji frowned at the frequent reports of untoward activities of the Fulani herdsmen in Abia communities, saying that the hospitality of the state should not be abused.
The Governor, who was represented by the state commissioner for information and strategy, Chief Anthony Agbazuere, noted with sadness, the destruction of crops by cattle after huge investments by government which had secured N1 billion agriculture loan for farmers in the state.
He urged the aggrieved people of Ahaba Imenyi not to take the law into their hands and assured that government would promptly wade into the matter and resolve it in few days time.
Orji described as barbaric, attempts to rape women who had gone to engage in farming activities, saying that government would never condone such acts.