Women from the Epie/Atissa communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayesal State recently staged a peaceful protest against the threat of herdsmen.
The women of Epie/Atissa communities waving leaves at the Tombia Roundabout, Etegwe axis of Yenagoa, also barricaded the ever-busy Mbiama- Yenagoa road, which is the major road leading into the state capital to drive home their demand for herdsmen to leave their farmlands.
Chanting songs, they alleged the invasion of their farmlands and destruction of their crops.
The women of Epie/Atissa communities community said former Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has set up a committee to enforce restriction of grazing activities to the Bayelsa Oil Palm Estate, Elebele near Yenagoa during his second term in office.
However, nothing was done to punish non-compliance and it has become a common sight as herdsmen move their cattle along major roads in Yenagoa and Amassoma leaving a trail of smelling droppings and gridlocks of highways.
Farmers have also been feeling the brunt of grazing activities as their crops are not spared by the herdsmen who secretly allow their animals to destroy farms without any recriminations.
With the state government keeping quiet over the hazard posed by the herdsmen, the women took the bull by the horns by staging the protest to draw public attention to the destruction of their means of livelihood.
One of them said: “We cannot continue to keep quiet over his issue. We don’t want cattle in our area again. It is time for government to act before something else happens.”
Governor Douye Diri has declared agricultural as a priority area and urged all executive members to own their personal farms, but his administration is yet to address the hazard posed by open grazing to the issue of food security in the state which depends on neighbuoring states for food supplies.
The protest of the Epie/Atissa women is among coordinated public outcries to the devastating effects of open grazing by herdsmen in the state as compared to neighbouring Delta State where there have been incessant feuds between the herdsmen and farmers, where there had been reported cases of rape and destruction of farmlands and crops by the herdsmen.