By Chinyere Anyanwu

The Obimo Farmers Association and Izunwanne Obimo Multi Purpose Corporative Society in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State have appealed to the state government to assist farmers in the state by providing tractors and other farming equipment and inputs to improve the farming conditions of the farmers and ensure food security in the community and the state.

The Chairman of the farmers association and the President of the multipurpose corporative society, Mr. Chamberlain Anenechukwu Ugwuoke, who made the appeal recently, called on the state Governor, Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, to come to the aid of farmers in the LGA.

Ugwuoke appreciated Enugu State Agricultural Development Programme (ENADEP) for organising training for Obimo farmers recently. Addressing a 30-man think-tank selected by Izunwanne Obimo to look into food insecurity in the community, Ugwuoke stated that it has become necessary now that rain has started in earnest to start discussing food security in Obimo.

He noted that Obimo community people are predominantly farmers and a border town between Nsukka LGA and Uzo Uwani LGA. Ugwuoke lamented that over the years Obimo farmers have been hindered from farming around their vicinities because of cows, goats and other animals roaming the streets of the community.

Clarifying the situation further, he stated that the most worrisome of their challenges is that Fulani herders have occupied most of the farmlands with their cows, preventing Obimo farmers from going to their farms, thereby threatening the livelihood of Obimo people. He added that Obimo farmers do not cultivate yam and cassava within the neighbourhood anymore because of cows and goats that are eating anything planted around.

According to him, “the only alternative to our farmers is to go very far away into the forest to plant crops which are also threatened by monkeys, rabbits and rodents and cows of the herders.

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Also speaking at the meeting, the Programme Manager of ENADEP, Prof. Ogbonna Sam Onyeisi, thanked Ugwuoke for initiating the meeting. According to Prof. Onyeisi, food security is a serious issue and a great concern of Enugu State and the Federal Government.

He stated that ENADEP, in its 2024 pre-farming season sensitisation for Enugu State farmers visited Obimo on April 20, and that the sensitisation programme was still ongoing across local governments of Enugu State for the purpose of improving food security. Prof. Onyeisi assured Obimo people that Enugu State Governor will help them to improve food security.

David Okolo, the Head of Ozo title holders in Obimo, appreciated the initiatives of Izunwanne Cooperative and their concerns for food security in Obimo. He volunteered to liaise with other Ozo title holders to look into the issue of cows and goats roaming around the vicinity in Obimo.

Calling for urgent action, Venerable E. Agbo, the Vicar in Charge of St. Bartholomew (New Jerusalem) Anglican Church, Obimo, said the roaming cows and goats usually stray into the church premises to destroy farmlands in church environment.

Agbo pleaded with the Obimo elite to do something regarding the cows and goats and to stop the worshippers of the deity from throwing live animals in the streets of the community.

Mr. Augustine Ofili, Chief Security Officer of Enugu State College of Education (Tecnical), ESCET, harped on the need for Obimo people to find sustainable strategy to control the roaming of cows and goats. In Ofili’s view, herders’ invasion of farmlands is a national issue and that Enugu State government is formulating policies that will curtail the herders’ open grazing soon.

Other dignitaries at the meeting include the Traditional Prime Minister of Obimo, Chief Joseph Sunday Ugwuoke; President General, Obimo community, Chief Sunday Ezike; Godwin Eze; Dr. Erastus Okoli; Festus Ugwuoke; Mr. Ambrose Eze; Chief Security Officer of Obimo, Mr. Stephen Ayogu, and Chief Titus Dike, among others.

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