Arsonists, suspected to be hunters and herdsmen, have allegedly razed two farms consisting plantains and sugarcane in Sepeti, Papa Lanto area of Ogun state.
The act was allegedly perpetrated in the early hours of Sunday January 26, 2020.
The owner of the plantain farm, Mr Ismail Ogunyomi, told Community Standard that he was in the farm till evening of Saturday and nothing of such happened.
“I was shocked when I received a call from Mr. Okpoto, the manager of our plantain farm, this morning that our farm got burnt. Millions worth of plantains got burnt,” he lamented.
According to Ogunyomi, information gathered from neighbouring farmers and passers-by revealed that the fire must have been set by herdsmen, hunters or the so called ‘Dagbolus’ (sand-packers) who raze farms to make ends meet.
“The herdsmen burn bush to have easy access and get fresh grasses for their cattle when the burnt ones germinate new ones. The hunters of farm animals could also set fire for easy hunting while the Dagbolus also do that for easy access to land where they can pack sand,” he explained.
Community Standard could not independently confirm this allegations.
Mr. John Okpoto, who helps Ogunyomi in managing his farm, also had his sugarcane farm, worth hundreds of thousands of naira, razed.
Okpoto, with two children in higher institutions and others in secondary and primary school, had been counting dates to harvest his sugarcane so that he could pay the school fees of his children.
He is still in shock. One of his sons in higher institution is currently at home waiting to sell from the sugarcane so that he could go back to school.
With this development, he has become helpless.
While accusing fingers are being pointed at hunters and ‘dagbolus,’ the man that leased the farmland to Ogunyomi, known as, Ekerin Sepeti, claimed it could be the herdsmen.
A Community leader called Baba Aro said he was there when the fire was raging but could not trace its source.
He said the ‘dagbolus’ were also there trying to out the fire off but could not help as it was beyond their control.
Ogunyomi appealed to the Federal Government, State, Local and community leaders to help find lasting solution to the destructive activities of herdsmen, hunters and the sand-packers to avoid economic wastage.
He is also appealing to well-meaning Nigerians to assist Mr. Okpoto raise funds, at least to pay the school fees of his children.