The spate of growing insecurity on Nigerian farms has become worrisome, as farmers in the country have called on the government at all levels to find a lasting solution to this monster. In January, the United Nations estimated that more than 25 million people in Nigeria could face food insecurity this year, a 47 per cent increase from the 17 million people, who were already at risk of going hungry, mainly due to the ongoing insecurity, protracted conflicts, and the projected rise in food prices.
Stakeholders have lamented that insecurity in general and the fear of kidnapping, have forced a lot of farmers to shut down for their dear lives and that this issue is seriouslly preventing the nation from attaining food-sufficiency. They are confident that if the issue of insecurity, which is affecting both the male and female farmers, is tackled headlong, Nigeria within a short time, will be food secure and also export to other countries of the world. However, President Bola Tinubu had earlier promised that his administration will engage the security architecture to protect the farms and the farmers so that farming can return to the farmlands without fear of attacks. Also, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, upon assumption of duty, vowed to address hunger as a significant problem in the country.
He said insecurity, flooding and hunger, among others are some of the nation’s big issues. “Our biggest hope is the political will driven by President Bola Tinubu. I think we have a big challenge, but it is not insurmountable. Our target is to secure and feed the country and export food, which we have that potential”, he said. The National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Arch. Kabir Ibrahim, in his view, said that the increase in insecurity on Nigerian farms is largely due to criminality, poverty and possible drug abuse. He said that partisan politics may share in the blame-game, beginning from 1999 because if one looks closely, it can be inferred that the situation began to build up due to the use of young people as foot men by politicians for “it has been found that some politicians provided drugs to some of these youngsters in order to use them to harass their opponents”.
On what to do to stem the tide, Ibrahim stated that “law enforcement officers should be up and doing and the politicians have to clean up their politics. It is also absolutely necessary to minimise inequity in our society and provide responsible, as well as accountable leadership, at all levels”. He added that the issue of livestock reforms, when properly implemented, will also go a long way in addressing the issue of the farmer-herder conflicts. An agroprenuer, Edobong Akpabio lamented that in the last decade, women farmers had increasingly become targets of criminal elements, as a result of the insecurity and terrorist activities in the nation, saying many have been brutally raped, maimed and murdered and that survivors simply stop going to the farm, as she advised that the government must take responsibility to fix the insecurity in the country.
A food processor, Hajia Aolat Idowu-Agbelekale, also noted that security of life and properties is a major challenge in Nigeria today and that female farmers are not exempted. She noted that the issue of insecurity is even worse when it comes to females, stressing that many reported cases of bandits killing, assassination, and kidnapping at the farmland involved women as well. The Chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ogun State Chapter, Idowu Asenuga, said that the issue of security is very serious and germane and that the government needs to take a bolder step to ensure they secured their citizens, especially farmers because if there is no food there is no nation. He said the impact of the various kidnap incidents in the country was taking a toll on businesses. Speaking further, he said farmers are shutting down their farms and that they don’t have any other option than to shut down, if their lives cannot be secured when they go to their farms.