Herdsmen or hard-men?
Who are these that slay without restraint?
Who are these that thirst for blood?
Who are these that plunder the land?
Their herds destroy our land
Turning fields of greens to grounds of ruins
And giving our farms the semblance of siege
As if to say the locusts had stricken
The above two stanzas are from the poem Herdsmen, by
A recent visit to a friend’s farm in Ogoja Cross river state, left me with feelings of pity, not just for him but for thousands of farmers in the region to whom farming is a major pre-occupation and income earner.
Even though i will not categorize my friend as a peasant farmer, the huge losses incurred yearly from the activities of these herdsmen has made a joke of the current agricultural drive of the present Nigerian government.
We have a major problem in our hands, and it will be a great folly to feign ignorance until it spirals into the kind of situation we have in Benue state which is just a few hours away (northward from Ogoja).
The herdsmen set your farm on fire so they can have fresh green grass for their herd.
They pull up your cassava so they can feed their cattle while you starve.
If I may add a few lines to Idowu’s poem…
They choose rather to burn and graze for cattle
As our food burns, we gaze, looking startled
wondering why so easily human life is substituted for cattle’s…
See below pics from my visit…