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Open Grazing: We Don’t go to farm anymore, Edo communities cry out

Residents of Ugbogui,Iguobarnor and Ikoha communities have appealed to Edo state government to look into the issue of cattle grazing in their communities.

Some of the residents, in separate interviews on Friday in Benin, said majority of farmers have stopped farming because cows eat their crops after planting.

They said that herdsmen also assault women in their farm lands,destroy their crops and take possession of the farms.

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Apart from herdsmen attack,the villagers complained about a flour mill company which forcefully took their lands.

Florence Erihwo,a farmer in Ugbogui community said Fulani herdsmen destroyed her cassava two days ago.

She explained that the herdsmen take their cow to her farm to feed.

Osayande Evbuomwan, a farmer who also spoke called on the state government to urgently call the herdsmen to order.

He said that majority of farmers in the community had stop farming due to the destruction of their crops.

Earlier in his speech,Titigbe Onyeka Venath, Programs Director of Rural Awareness for Green Environment Initiative(RAGE), a non-governmental organization in Edo, advised the residents to scrutinize companies that comes into the community for business.

Onyeka who spoke during an awareness program, said majority of companies that buy lands in communities,buy the land for the purpose of mining and in the process destroy most natural elements the community gains.

He appealed to the people to report any suspicious company that destroys trees without a report or license from the state government.

He said that RAGE aims at strengthening community voices, influence,transform policies, practices,Structures of Power and decision-making to advance community people’s rights.

“Since inception, we have work in communities in Edo, Delta , Cross Rivers and Niger Delta States”.

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“Our recent community project was done in Ekuri in Akamkpa LGA in Cross River State”.

“We want our people to be aware that if they destroy their trees,it would affect their health,crack houses and create other invisible problems”,he said.

He urged the Edo state government to protect its communities.

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