Friday, September 16, 2016

Farmer/Grazier Conflict: Nkambe Women March to SDO and DO, Threaten to Go Naked

The problem between farmers and graziers in Nkambe which has existed for several years reached its crescendo this week. This time, over two hundred women in Nkambe (Binju neighborhood) took to the street last September 13, 2016 to express their anguish over the destruction of crops by cattle. The women staged a three kilometers walkaton protest march from the Divisional Hotel (Binju) to the office of the Senior Divisional Officer for Donga Mantung and back to the office of the Divisional Officer for Nkambe.

They cried out loudly that year in, year out, their crops are being destroyed by cows at the Njimptoh farmlands by cattle. “We are saying that enough is enough. We wrestle with cattle when the crops are young, after harvest, cows come and destroy the barns and it contain. We want the administration to look into this issue immediately”, Njeba Patience exploded. The farmers are pointing accusing fingers at the notorious grazier Mallam Jiberu.  The women expressed worries that the herdsmen, most of them also youths, (children of Mallam Jiberu) are have armed themselves with knives and other lethal weapons ready to kill anyone that challenges the invasion of farmlands by cows at Njimptoh. Mallam Jiberu is a phenomenon in Nkambe, yet the women charged that Jiberu is not the only one with cows. “We know they are administrators, traditional rulers and even politicians here who have kept their cows with Jiberu. We are telling them that if a lasting solution is not found, we will go traditional, we will go naked”, Nformi Comfort cried out.
Matter came to a head when the women girded their wrappers, tied their babied on their backs and holding sticks in their hands then marched to the office of the Senior Divisional Officer for Donga Mantung. While at the esplanade of the Senior Divisional Officer, the over 200 women staged a sit-down strike for close to two hours before moving to the office of the Divisional Officer where they were received by the Assistant Divisional Officer.  The women said that they would rather die on their defending the future of their families than fold their hands to die in silence.
They denounced how the administration has connived with graziers to collude the fruits of their labour by collecting colossal bribes from the graziers at their expense. “We may not be able to pay school fees, hospital bills or meet our needs because our crops are being destroyed. We have no other source of revenue with which to feed our families, sent their children to school and take care of their health”, Mbunkur Theresa reminded the Assistant Divisional Officer for Nkambe Central, Ebessong Benjamin.
In an attempt to calm down flaring tempers, Ebessong Benjamin called on the women to go back to their homes, asking them to choose their leaders to attend a crisis meeting that could see the tail end of the problem. He said he will also summon all the graziers to the meeting to sort out remedial measure. “Henceforth if cows in that area destroy crows or farmland and no grazier owns up, all those who are rearing cows at Njimtoh will collectively pay”, he concluded.
The women however vowed that if the administration does not final a lasting solution, they will go traditional. Panic is said to have gripped cattle breeders (including the famous Jiberu) as to what the women have in their sleeves. Before leaving the office of the Divisional Officer for Nkambe Central, they continue to point accusing farmers at Jiberu. But Jiberu, few months ago told us that every time, cattle destroy crops, farmers only look at him, "I am not the only one with cows at Njimptoh", he said. Seemingly, some high profile personalities in the area (including indigenes) have kept their cows with Jiberu. Politicians have maintained sealed lips only to jump out at the end to make political capital, the administration and law enforcement officials are quiet waiting for the opportune moment to grab big money, while the elite(s) continue to play the game of the ostrich.The women selected to sit in the committee are Njeba Patience, Nformi Comfort, Mbunkur Theresa, Nsagha Agnes, Tamfu Victorine and Monie Irene.

When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)

No comments: