Suspected armed herdsmen a few days ago, allegedly set ablaze one of Governor Samuel Ortom’s rice farms in Gbajimba, Guma Local Government Area of the state.
Conducting newsmen round the burnt farm today, the governor’s farm manager, Hon. Kena Iordzua said the herders came to the farm with a large number of cattle during the day and set the farm on fire at three different points.
He stated that due to the wild nature of the fire as a result of the harmattan, the inferno could not be put off despite concerted efforts by those who were working on the farm.
”I was on the other side of the farm when information got to me that the farm was on fire. Before I could get here, most parts of the farm had been engulfed,” he said.
According to Kena, security agents were mobilized to go after the herdsmen who shot sporadically in the air as they retreated towards the Nasarawa border.
He said, ”When the military arrived at the scene, they had to fire a shot and the herdsmen responded with four shots while they set the bush ablaze and retreated to the Nasarawa axis.”
He estimated the burnt portion of the rice farm to be 250 hectares which worth he said was well over a N100 million.
In an interview with newsmen, Principal Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties, Hon. Abrahams Kwaghngu, described the act as barbaric and a threat to food security.
He stated that a law prohibiting open grazing of cattle was still in force in the state and should be obeyed by all, stressing that the federal government needs to act fast to stop the impunity by the herders.
Hon. Kwaghngu lamented that after displacing the people from their ancestral homes for over a year, the herdsmen would not allow the little that had been cultivated to be harvested.