Mr. Odey Wonah, a member of the Cross River State House of Assembly representing the Yala 1 State Constituency, claims that farmers from Benue State who have set up camp in Ochongo villages in the state’s Yala LGA have assaulted local farmers and murdered one.
Wonah made the disclosure on the floor of the Assembly during plenary on Wednesday as he plead for swift deployment of security agents to Ochongo to halt further attacks and killings over farmlands. News About Nigeria gathered.
According to him, the Benue campers are applying force to take over their lands whereas before now they have been paying royalties.
Addressing the Assembly, Wonah said: “My people have been living peacefully with these campers for years. They farm on our lands and pay royalties to the community but as the farming season commenced this year they started farming without paying anything.
“When some members of the Ochongo village approached them on the issue, they attacked them. One person was killed and others sustained various degrees of injuries.
“My people are predominantly farmers but this season, they have stopped going to their farms for fear of being attacked; my prayers are that security agents be urgently sent to forestall further perpetuation of the heinous crimes, and perpetrators brought to book.”
Also speaking on the motion, Mr Agbor Dickson, member representing Obubra 1 State Constituency noted that something needed to be done urgently for peace to return in the community and those around it.
“Yala LGA produces a large portion of food eaten in Cross River and beyond. If nothing was done for the people to go back to their farms, there would be hunger in 2024,” he said.
Speaking on the motion, Mr Agbor Dickson, member of the Obubra 1 State Constituency, said that something needed to be done immediately to restore peace in the town and those surrounding it.
Mr Elvert Ayambem, Speaker of the House, responded by condemning the death and assault on a community member.
The Speaker pledged that they would take steps to prevent any further escalation.