Five peasant families at risk of hunger as 'herdsmen' mow down multimillion naira farm crops in Plateau

Farm crops destroyed in Sopp village

Central Nigeria: Four farming families in Plateau State might face hunger this year as suspected herdsmen last weekend mowed down crops covering large expanses of land.

About a hectare of already maturing maize farm belonging to a Pastor of the Church of Christ in Nations, Zakka Dalyop was nearly cut to flat by overnight invaders in Sopp village, 20miles Southwest of Jos, the capital of Plateau State.

Another family man in the of Riyom Local Government village, Mr. Sunday Goma, over a hectare of maize farm leveled down same night as the Pastor.

Mr. Clement Pam, another family man with three children also lost about a hectare of Guinea corn farm, just as Mr. Dadongs Moses Goma, 51, a married man with two wives and five children, and Mr. Labi Danjuma, 30, with wife and two children lost a hectare of maize and Guinea corn farm each.

Blades used to cut down crops

Pastor Zakka, 40 has a wife and five children, all of whom depend on the farm for food and other household needs, it was learnt.

Sunday Goma, 39, has five children and a wife, but has no income source aside from the destroyed farm.

Sopp village was attacked several times in 2014 with over 20 people killed. The community has yet to recover from the destructions caused by the attacks.

“This is war, a continuation of what they started in 2014,” said Mr. Dadongs Moses. “They have cut down our only income producing crops, ending our hopes for food and money for other household needs,” said Moses.

“We did not particularly see anyone doing it, but we have had several threats from herdsmen,” Moses told MK.

Mr. Dadongs Moses Goma

In his words, “Last few months, my brother, Sunday Goma had a quarrel with some of them and they told him that he should have been grateful they allowed him to harvest his crops last year.

“Earlier in the year as well, we went to till some of our farms that are a bit closer to their hamlets, which they built on forcefully acquired lands and they threatened us into withdrawing.

“Many other acts and utterances from them, coupled with previous farmland destructions here and in surrounding communities wherein herdsmen were caught red handed, have left us with little to believe they are not the ones that did it.

“We have reported these crimes to securities but often times they ask us to produce the suspects instead of them investigating.”

Aside from farming, women in Sopp only hawk firewood to feed

Two weeks ago, over 50 hectares of farm land was destroyed in similar manner in neighbouring Ncha village in Bassa Local Government Area.

Locals in nearby Bokkos and Barkin Ladi LGAs have reported same acts with increasing indiscriminate grazing by herders, who often threaten or attack when cautioned.

Law enforcements have hardly arrested suspects of the crimes as Officials often link them to clashes, giving a picture of mutual conflicts which are often hard to prosecute.


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