Continuous bloodletting in Nigeria is a currently a matter of serious concern for some young people of the troubled country. A civic group, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) says the security situation in the country does not speak well for the country.
YEAC’s Executive Director, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, who was speaking against the backdrop of the festering attacks in the country, also decried what he described as ‘’the continuous invasion of farms’’ by suspected herdsmen, shooting, raping, abducting and abusing the rights of farmers despite the passage and assent to Anti-Open Grazing Law in some states.
Fyneface who is an environmental justice activist and human rights defender in a statement said Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Thursday, August 19, 2021 assented to the “Open Rearing and Grazing (Prohibition) Law N0. 5 of 2021” among others.
Herdsmen have been shattering the relative peace of the state since the legislation came into force. The Ogoni axis of the state has been bleeding since then. Some farmers on August 23, in Lueku community, where herdsmen have been on rampage in Ogoni, among other areas staged a protest against the atrocities of the herders.
While the Ogoni farmers commended Governor Wike for the legislation, they pleaded for its thorough enforcement as they equally expressed their full-support for the smooth implementation of the law including an offer “to do garri” for the governor in appreciation for saving them from herdsmen through the law now being fragrantly disobeyed and violated by the herdsmen, similar to what is obtained in Benue State, etc.
Herdsmen allegedly invaded farms in Eleme Local Government Area, six days after assent to the Anti-Open Grazing Law, on August 25, attacking farmers, shooting sporadically, creating fear, raping women, abusing their rights and allegedly abducting one of the ladies said to have been hired to work in a cassava farm.
YEAC said the incident took place in Agbon-Chia Farms, pointing out that in the past, precisely on March 15, 2021, ‘’our volunteers had also reported similar incident of herdsmen invading and attacking farmers at the Agbon-Chia Farms, raping women and abusing their rights.’’
A member of Agbon-Chia community who did not want his name in print confirmed the incident, narrating how the herdsmen invaded the community farms, attacking farmers, shooting with different riffles, raping and kidnapped a lady who was hired for job.
Another local source said the woman who was kidnapped by the herdsmen came for a farm job in the community. Some of the women attacked reported that they had their legs and hands tied after raping them and then left to call others to take their turns.
The worried youth group is therefore calling on the Rivers State Government to ensure the implementation of extant law on this and related issues to protect and provide security for citizens in the State to avoid re-occurrence.
‘’The Nigeria Police, Rivers State Command should thoroughly investigate this matter, arrest the perpetrators and determine the whereabout of the woman alleged to have been kidnapped by the herdsmen during the invasion’’, YEAC said.