There is tension mounting in Anambra East communities where the traditional rulers and community leaders have warned the government and herdsmen that they will not tolerate cattle grazing on their land this dry season.
They feared that as the dry season approaches, ushering in limited amount of pasture for cattle grazing, Fulani herdsmen might fall back on their land located on the bank of Anambra River.
But the communities namely: Aguleri Otu, Mkpunando and Eziagulu Otu, said they were still “recuperating from the wounds of hardship, incessant threat to life and colossal damage to our crops suffered last dry season” and so cannot take further damage.
In a communique issued after the meeting of Aguleri-Otu leaders of thought, chaired by the traditional ruler of Mkpunando, Igwe Alex A. Edozieuno, with his deputy, Igwe Udorji Ikegbunam of Eziagulu Otu, the people resolved never to allow the herdsmen return to their land.
Part of the communique read: “We agreed that we are no longer ready to live in perpetual fear of the herdsmen or condone unwarranted destruction of our crops, hence, the decision not to allow Fulani herdsmen graze on our land as from this season.
They added: “The Igwes and the entire community in Enugwu-Otu, Eziagulu-Otu and Mkpunando, therefore, in the interest of peace call on the Anambra State Government and all relevant security agencies to warn the herdsmen to steer clear of our land from this dry season.
“We will not take it lightly if we see any cow, cattle or herdsmen attempt to disregard this all important warning,” they stated.
In an interview with reporters, Igwe Edozieuno lamented the losses his people have suffered in the hands of Fulani herdsmen. He said his people who are predominantly farmers now buy food in the market because cattle of the herdsmen ate up whatever they planted in their farms.
To make matters worse, he said, “women from the communities have been severally raped while men who resisted the herdsmen were fought and injured.
“Each time the herdsmen come with their cattle, they chase away farmers from their farm land so that their cattle can graze freely.”
Now that the herdsmen are no longer in the area, the communities vowed that they would not allow them return to their land.