April 01, 2020 | The Biafra Telegraph

In recent times, the major markets in the Southeast are no longer booming with agricultural products, ranging from Food to materials and other household items. The cost of food items has equally skyrocketed by a 100%.

Today, I saw some farmers whom despite the "Stay at Home" instruction by the State Government, where carrying their farming tools on their heads and walking to their farms. I decided to take a quick interview from them.

Good afternoon Ma, I greeted them. They turned and responded politely but not without suspicion of what I wanted. I introduced myself to them and told them that I have some questions that have been bothering me in the past months regarding the escalating rate of Food items and scarcity, especially in this period of #Covid19 #StayAtHome.

They both looked at me with surprises on their faces. The older woman said, "My Son, are you new to the State?" and before I could respond the second and younger woman said, brother are you a Nigerian? Those two questions threw me off balance. What could be responsible for these replies? Quickly, I responded in the affirmative, just to get to the root of their surprises.

The older woman started by dismissing #Covid19 as the reason behind the high cost of food in the market. She started narrating the ordeals of Farmers in the hands of Fulani Herdsmen in Edo State. In her own words which I am interpreting in good English.

"Fulani Herdsmen have chased us away from our major farmlands, many of our men who attempted to challenge them have been murdered in the farms and others were traced to their houses and killed. We have abandoned so many of our farm locations to them and we dare not move close to those areas again for planting. Even right now, the farm you see us going to, is not far from here and before we left home, we must send our Sons to go and check if the place is safe or not, (From Terrorist Fulani Herdsmen).

We can't just walk to our farms freely. We can get to the farm now and Fulani Herdsmen have harvested our crops or grazed their Cows on our vegetables and fruits and we will return home empty and nobody to complain to. My Son, it is a very bad situation. A time will come, when you will have your money but no food to buy with it. That time is approaching very fast because these Terrorists have taken over everywhere." She paused... "They rape us, they rape our daughters and nobody goes to challenge them, our men have died too much in their hands"

I was dumb. I couldn't find words to express my shock and disappointment. I looked at her with a feeling of shame that the men have failed.

I asked her what the Traditional ruler is saying or the Local Government Chairman, at least they can reach those ones. She smiled and said, my son they are no match to the herdsmen, we are told that those Terrorists have their power from Abuja. Police can't arrest them if they kill anyone or destroy your farm. So, our Traditional ruler is helpless. He will only advise us to be careful and watchful when going to farm.

This is why food items are getting more and more expensive by the day. As she was talking, she was walking away in fast steps and I allowed her to go. I thanked her and prayed she returned safely.

This woman left me with a deep cut in my heart. I walked back home with too many questions in my head. Where did we miss it? Why the conspiracy of silence by our Governors and Representatives? Is it that the State security no longer takes order from the Governors or is it that the Governors have been caged or compromised? What is going to be the fastest way to get this situation solved? I couldn't get answers to any of my worries.

The sad news is, while these ravaging Terrorist Herdsmen are fast stopping our people from farming by taking over our lands, they are utilizing their versed land in the North farming, thereby making us 80% dependent on food from the North. While a 4ltr paint bucket of Garri sells at N1500 today in the East, it sells at N400 in the North. One bag of Nigerian rice sells at N28,000 in the East while it sells at N13,000 in the North. The Northern Governors have invested massively in Farming whereas the Southeast Governors are scared of utilizing their farms because they have been occupied by the Herdsmen from the North. What a shame.

This is a very terrifying situation. I see the repeat of the major reason why we lost the 1967 war, playing out again. Will our people die of Kwashiorkor again?

In my opinion, I will advise IPOB to quickly go into massive and aggressive farming, as soon as possible. These vampires are most likely going to run us out again using Food starvation as a tool.
The situation is a critical one.

Reported by:
Mazi Elvis Chinedu
For: Edo State Media

Written by:
Ngozichukwu Ada-Dav
For: Edo State Media

Edited by:
Lolo Oby Mboma
For: Edo State Media

Published by:
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Edo State Media

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