Elephants, herdsmen on rampage in farmlands in Borno



Gomboru, Ngala, Borno – Herdsmen and elephants have invaded farmlands in and around Gomboru, Ngala Local Governemt of Borno, leaving farmers with little or nothing of the proceeds of their hard investments.

They herd their cattle into people's farm to pasture and destroy their produce.

Our correspondent reports that many farmers have lost significant amount of their farm produce to the overwhelming encroachments.

He added that those who made attempts to resist the attacks, risked violent attacks from the armed herdsmen, often slipping away from attacks by the whiskers.

'You have a situation where those who expect to harvest 100 bags of maize ending up with just five,' our reporter narrated.

'I had already cut down my maize the evening before; but when I returned to the farm the next morning to bag and take them home, I came across herds of cattle in the farm and everything I had left already gone.

'It is such a heartbreak,' Mallam Garba Ibrahim told YEN NG, adding that he was lucky he 'remained calmed, for if I had made moves to talk or stop it, I would have been also long gone.'

Our reporter also reported that after their herds feed in the farms, the herdsmen also load part of the remains in sacks and go away with them.

YEN NG also learned that the people have no support from law enforcers in the area because the incidents occur in areas that are still not fully secure, as both they herdsmen and Boko Haram terrorists operate within stretch of the slightest opportunity available to them.

The cattle also damaged people's hope in successful harvest of their cowpea.

'You know the cowpea is not yet 100% ripe. So the cattle destroyed them even before maturing and so there is no hope of the people ever benefiting from them,’ according what they told our report.

YEN NG can also report a similar incident in around Alau, outskirts of Maiduguri, where herdsmen rampage on people’s farms.

In addition to the herds, there are elements of Boko Haram insurgents, who, out of stock, go after people’s harvest to stack up food and supplies.

This also occurs annually for about a decade now; but the volume continues to decline with increased security.

Elephant encroachment:

Farmers in the axis, stretching from Gomboru down to Kala-Balge, also one of Borno's 27 LGAs, have also been threatened by the encroachment of elephants.

Our reporter narrated that 'when elephants come upon one’s farmland, even if they do not feed on the crops, your goods will be destroyed.

'Often, unlike the cattle, they even remove the produce from their roots so that they are just gone immediately and forever.'

Local efforts to address the situation are overwhelmed by the volume of the encroachments.

Among other local initiatives, our correspondent reports that the people sometimes beat drums or beam torchlights from distance to dissuade the herds from approaching.

While this works, it is not always as effective.

The Government of Borno State has set up Agro Rangers and empowered other security agencies to increase in and around farmlands; but in spite of that, the herdsmen still operated across remote areas as they often annually do.

A herd of about 250 of the elephants were spotted three years ago around this period in the same area (Rann, headquarters of Kala-Balge), with many excited that their population have not been affected by the violent encounters between the terrorists and Nigerian military.

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