The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has condemned the massive destruction of crops in Bassa and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau state by suspected fulani herdsmen.
In Bassa, no fewer than 45 farm lands were said to have been destroyed.
The perpetrators of the dastardly act were said to have carried out their evil deeds at night.
The MBF, in a statement on Friday evening, said it was alarm over such level ofwickedness and called on relevant authorities to save the farmers from further destruction of their crops to avoid looming hunger.
The statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Dr. Isuwa Dogo, called on the Plateau state governor, Mr. Simon Lalong and the chairmen of the affected council areas, to thoroughly investigate the matter and apprehend perpetrators of the heinous act with a view to bringing them to justice.
The statement also urged farming communities to collaborate with various agencies of government, including state governments, to put an end to these acts of wicked and mindless destruction of food crops.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has been drawn to the massive destruction of no fewer than 45 farmlands by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Plateau state.
“The farmlands, which belonged to 25 families, were destroyed on July 9, 2021 in Zowru village of Ta’agbe in Miango district of Bassa Local Government Area .
“The cutting down of food crops with cutlasses and machetes in 45 Miango farmlands is coming on the trail of similar destruction of farms in some settlements in Riyom Local Government Area of the same state.
“While the MBF is alarmed by this level of deliberate act of wickedness perpetrated against poor farmers, we are quick to call on relevant arms of government and security agencies to save farmers from further destruction of their farmlands in order to avoid looming hunger.
“This act of destroying food crops in Bassa and Riyom poses great threats to farmers who face the risk of producing less foodstuffs for their survival.
“If the inevitable prospects of food scarcity is to be tackled, no stone should be left unturned to end this act of wickedness by relevant agencies and the Plateau State Government.
“This coldhearted destruction of crops by these marauding outlaws amidst the raging security challenges facing Nigerians, especially communities in the Middle Belt Region, does not only foreshadow food insecurity for the nation, but is capable of engendering communal conflicts.
“Against the backdrop of fears over imminent low production of food crops and attendant rising cost of foodstuff, the resort by herders to destroy farmlands in order to graze their animals must be stamped out to pave way for optimal agricultural activities. “Therefore, the need to arrest further destruction of farmlands must be seen as a central necessity so as to protect farmlands against destruction.
“In the light of deliberate efforts by dastardly outlaws to throw the nation into a dungeon of hunger and food insecurity, there is need for constant surveillance and protection of farmlands to guide against plots by undesirable elements against efforts by farmers to attain a peak level of agricultural production.
“We call on His Excellency, Governor Simon Lalong, and chairmen of affected LGAs to thoroughly investigate the matter and apprehend perpetrators of this heinous act with a view to serving them with an appropriate punishment.
“We also call on the Plateau State Government to assist farmers with some form of assistance to enable them to attain increased agricultural productivity.
“The Forum calls on Nigerian farmers not to be discouraged in the face of glaring attempts to frustrate them as the path to national development cannot be attained by a country that cannot feed its citizens.
“We are aware that ahead of the 2021 harvest season, various agencies of government have predicted food scarcity in the coming year due to either flooding or drought, among other factors.
“Current efforts at destroying farmlands are dangerous for a country suffering from rising inflationary trends caused by non-productive capacity in many sectors of the national economy.
“The Forum calls on our farming communities and other Nigerians facing similar attacks on their farmlands to collaborate with various agencies of government, including state governments, to put an end to these acts of wicked and mindless destruction of food crops in order to end Nigeria’s food insecurity and other attendant dangers staring us in the face.”