Former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Samuel Afolayan (retd), yesterday January 17th, accused herdsmen of burning 20 hectares of orange plantation, 20 hectares of cassava farm and five hectares of palm plantation in his farm.
The former Naval chief who disclosed this to newsmen in Ibbo-Ile, Ekiti local government area of Kwara State, said the herdsmen had been destroying his plantations for over 10 years.
“The destruction and burning of my farmland has become an annual routine. This will be the first time of letting people know what has been happening in the last 10 years. It is the cow-rearers that have been damaging my things and right now there about three cases in court. Every year, my farm is burnt and we believed that it is not deliberate when it first started. They will go and arrest them, they will go to the local chiefs and friends and beg them.
“When I looked at the people that were engaged in this act, I found that they are people of low means. I will release them. But as times went on, I discovered that these boys are being sponsored by people of means and outside Kwara State. I have of recent somebody who is put in detention who is from Zamfara State. The one that is in court is from Niger State. So most of the damages I continued to have are from the north. They carry their cows, mindless of the size of what you have or get, they destroyed it with impunity.
“No less than 20 hectares of oranges, five hectares of palm trees and 20 hectares of cassava had been burnt or destroyed this year. I am not an expert or a valuer but my estimation is that the current loss is over N200m.”