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Residents of Arodoye in Akure South local council area of Ondo State would live to remember the day some rapacious herdsmen invaded their community leaving a tale of woes.

Aside the destruction of over 200 hectares of farmlands by the herdsmen’s cattle, of concern was the cold blooded murder of one female farmer Patience Salami said to be about 67 years old.

After killing her, the herdsmen reportedly cut her body into pieces. They then carted away her tongue, heart, private part and br**sts.

The incident, it was learnt, took place after most of the residents had travelled to celebrate the yuletide outside the community.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that the herdsmen’s cows not only had a field day eating up the crops and destroying the farmlands, the herders also settled to operate on the hapless old woman.

Worse still, the rampaging herders destroyed 5,000 heaps of cassava belonging to a judge of the Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Michael Owoyemi. He said the herders took advantage of the break, brought their cattle and uprooted all the cassava in his farm to feed their cows.

Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, a friend of the deceased, Madam Bolanle Raheem, 65, said the victim was gruesomely murdered and vital parts of her body taken away by the herdsmen.

“I usually leave the community on Thursday for Akure, the state capital, so that I can attend mosque on Friday”, the friend narrated.

“One of the farmers called me on Saturday to say my friend had been murdered. “I rushed back to the community to behold the dismembered body of my friend.

“The activities of the herdsmen in the community are worrisome. We appeal to government and security operatives to come to our aid”.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that farmers, who resumed for work on the first week of January, were devastated by the level of destruction in their farms.

They subsequently raised the alarm and reported the case to the community leaders and state police command while a petition was forwarded to the state government, security agencies, the state House of Assembly and the state Ministry of Agriculture on the incident.

They lamented the incessant invasion of their farms by herdsmen, saying millions of Naira worth of agricultural produce had been lost. The farmers said the herdsmen struck during the Christmas and New Year break when most of them had travelled outside the community to celebrate with their families.

They listed the farm produce destroyed to include cassava, cocoa, cocoyam, yam, vegetables while some cocoa farms were set on fire. Justice Owoyemi, who is the spokesperson for the farmers, traced the genesis of the invasion to December 2016.

Owoyemi, who noted that the 2016 destruction was small, lamented that the latest attack was disastrous.

“The herdsmen returned last December, destroying over 5,000 heaps of cassava in my farm. They took the advantage of the break and brought their cattle and uprooted all the cassava in my farm to feed their cows”, he said. “We have reported the herdsmen to security agents and also to the Deji of Akureland, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo, who promised to wade into the matter”.

Speaking on the implications of the development, Owoyemi said with the incessant invasion of farms by herdsmen, “people will be sent out of the farm and this will affect food production in the South west.

“Some people depend on farming while some people are destroying these farms, this will not encourage farming. Most of these people here depend on the farm produce to cater for their families and send their children to school.”

One of the farmers, Gabriel Ikoja, 68, who claimed to have started farming in the area 33 years ago, said he never experienced such destruction.

“The December 2016 destruction was a child’s play compared to the havoc they wreaked on our farms last December. After destroying my farm, they set it on fire”, he lamented.

“This is the source of our livelihood. I am using the proceeds from the farm to train my children. I have two undergraduates in the university and three others in secondary school, we all depend on this farm. We just want to appeal to the state and federal governments to find lasting solution to the herdsmen’s menace before it escalates to ethnic war.”

Another farmer, Florence Adedipe, who said she lost her cassava and cocoa farms, stated in tears, “These herdsmen must be called to order”.

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