Fulani menace: How we lost millions in farming – Investors lament in Ogbomoso

Image caption: cattle destroying a farm under the watch of herdsmen

Fulani menace: How we lost millions in farming – Investors lament in Ogbomoso




Nigeria is a cesspool of contradictions. It’s a nation unable to sort itself, entangled in an intricate web of confusion. It’s beset by economic problems; constant deficit in foreign exchange, unemployment etc. But farming which could be a major getaway measure is menaced, not by natural occurrences but by man-made solvable glitch.


Nigerians are constantly encouraged to go back to the land an euphemism for farming to boost food production, shore up foreign exchange earnings, provide employments and make the economy more robust. A lot of guys have hearkened to the call as they also see it as an avenue to earn extra income or make farming their major source of income to sustain themselves and their families but today they have bitter stories to tell. Their investments in farming are lost due to the heartless activities of some strangers in their land who invade their farms brazenly with grazing cows.


The herdsmen – Fulani and Bororo – are the culprits. They are mindless in their destructive activities of farms. They are ever unabashed and their arrogance and impertinence reach to the sky.


They have made many to abandon farming after they recorded losses in money, energy, effort, planning and hope. “I studied agricultural science in the university, l thought l could put what l learned into practice to make money, l returned to Ogbomoso to manage an 100 acre farm I put together with a bosom friend at Baba Eko in Oriire local government area, we put in millions of naira but we lost the bulk of it, no gain was made because herdsmen destroyed the farm,” Farmer Layi Olaleye who is a contractor in Lagos told ogbomosoinsightonline.com.


That is the experience of many others who had ventured into farming. And so they couldn’t remain because of such nasty experience. The pathetic thing is that “the human pests” who orchestrate the farm destructions often go scot-free. They are never made to face the wrath of the law. They are experts in the art of compromising security agents, and their migratory lifestyle put them at an advantage in the sense that they can easily escape. Even now, they are growing more confident, they don’t bother to flee again – they are growing in belief they did no wrong.


Hear farmers led by Chief Aremu Ogundare, from three villages in Oriire local government in Ogbomoso – Kedo Arigbeyo, Kedo Salami and Mosunmaje – who on Wednesday protested, seeking the intervention of the Soun of Ogbomoso Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye.


“We are tired of the atrocities of these Bororo herdsmen. They destroy our farms, kill our people, machete us, slash off our hands and act as if we are their slaves. They even rape women in the farm. Now, we can’t go to our farms again and we are hungry.”

Oriire protesting farmers

Chief Ogundare, who also spoke with ogbomosoinsightonline.com in Yoruba, said, “Cows have become menace to us, the problem escalated about four or five years ago. We don’t enjoy farming any longer, all the cassava we cultivated they were destroyed by them, no one has any cassava in the farm again.


“Then, our cashew farms we thought of falling back on they would take their cow there in the night to eat them off. To feed our families now is hard, we can’t train our children in school, those in higher institutions have returned because we couldn’t raise fund to sponsor them any longer, feeding also is a problem.That’s the reason we came here with a save-our-soul message.


“We reported at the police station several times, we reported to local government chairman, none yielded any solution. They persisted. They machete us, threaten oftentimes if anyone resist them they would kill them. Women can’t go to farm any longer even we men, we venture out in fear, out of compunction because we must feed our families.”


“They forcefully take over our lands, nobody gave them land, they will come and erect settlements on any land of their choice and begin to perpetrate their nefarious activities. We are fed up, we are helpless, that’s the reason we have come to seek the assistance of our royal father.”


That’s the experience, and why farms are being abandoned, to our detriment.


Now, ogbomosoinsightonline.com recalls the experience of four investors who lost millions because they “dared” to engage in farming.


Layi Olaleye

Mr. Olaleye’s case has been mentioned partly above. An agricultural science graduate of the University of Ilorin, he settled in Lagos, becoming a businessman and contractor. But the pull of farming got the better part of him and so engaged in it pulling resources together with a US-based friend.


“We got land at Baba Eko in Oriire local government,” he began.


“The land was about 100 acres. We planted maize, cassava and sweet potato. I relocated to Ogbomoso which l had left for years. I managed the farm, we spent millions of naira. That was around 2018, 2019. We succeeded with the cultivation, we were expectant but one day l got to the farm and lo and behold both the cassava and maize were gone. They had been eaten up and the criminals whom we suspected were herdsmen subsequently set the farm ablaze. We lost our investment in millions of naira, everything save few sweet potato. It was a nasty experience, and more pathetic there was no one to hold responsible. The security agents couldn’t help.”


Olaleye returned to Lagos highly dejected and disappointed.

The burnt farm

Ayodeji Sangodele

Mr. Ayo Sangodele is a chartered accountant. Because he couldn’t get a satisfying job he took training in agricultural production. He started with investment in poultry production which he made success of. But he lost the farm to theft and covid-19 pandemic-induced problems. Hard time set in. But he managed to pick up the pieces of his life, got loans and acquired land via leasehold at Adafila axis of Oriire. He cultivated about 21 acres of land last year planting cassava and soyabean.

“However on the day l harvested the soyabean,” Sangodele narrated, “right before my eyes herdsmen brought their cattle to eat the harvest where we had put them to dry. I tried to drive them away but they deviantly refused. I was helpless. They ate up everything including the growing cassava. That was in November 2023. The sad thing is that l got Amotekun operatives to arrest one of the suspects whom they put in custody at Ikoyi (headquarters of Oriire local government) but shockingly some soldiers who claimed their boss owned the herd forcefully took him away. They also threatened to kill me in the farm claiming the arrest of the boy caused loss of two cows. Now, debtors are after me. I lost close to N10m in investments.”


Oluremi Oladoye

Mr. Oluremi Oladoye is the publisher of National Insight an online medium in Ibadan Oyo state capital.


He acquired acres of lands in the same Oriire years ago at Aba Osun, and recently he decided to put the land to productive use. He planted cassava, maize and cashew. “But everything was lost, herdsmen destroyed all the crops and my million naira investment went down the drain. Nothing could be salvaged,” he bemoaned.

Debo Adegoke

Mr. Adegoke a civil servant similarly got land for farming in Oriire. He planted cashew and food crops but one day everything was gone. “Fulani herdsmen had destroyed everything and we lost our investments,” he said.


The killing of Evangelist Segun Adegboyega is still fresh in memory. About two weeks ago he was viciously stabbed to death by a herdsman for “daring” to check the destruction being meted to his backyard farm at Gege area, in the outskirt of Ogbomoso, which also falls in Oriire local government.

To say the herdsmen have made crop farming a dangerous venture is to say the obvious. Farming is being abandoned at an alarming rate, practitioners and potential farmers are leaving in droves. The people are helpless, security agents have no solution, traditional rulers can’t save their people and governments at all levels have no viable measures to tackle the menace. Yet, we constantly cry of hike in food prices. Farm destructions occasioning drop in farm outputs triggers scarcity which is the bedrock of price hike. So bad.


Who will save the people? If people resort to self help (if there is even one) they have security agents, who become instantly active but hitherto unable to deal with the problem, breathing down their neck.

The new rulers of the farm land!

It’s a mournful quandary!

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