Normalcy is gradually returning to farmlands in Ikwerre Local Council Area of Rivers State, following efforts of the council chairman, Samuel Nwanosike, who vowed to chase out criminals terrorising the farmers.
Activities of the hoodlums, who took over the forests and farmlands, as their hideouts, in the last four years, led to the sacking of farmers, forcing scarcity of the popular Ikwere Garri and scarcity of farm produce in the area.
It was also learnt that the criminals terrorised motorists and residents along the Port Harcourt-Owerri road.
Several vehicles were reportedly hijacked and hundreds of people kidnapped within the period.
Saddened by the development, the newly elected council boss, who said the council had agric extension workers in abundant, lamented that the Ikwere garri, a popular brand, which was in high demand, has vanished, as investors could not come in anymore because of insecurity in the land.
“In less than three weeks, the forest would be cleared of all the criminal elements and our people will go back to farm.
Our go-back-to-farm policy will not be delayed. We are in touch with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State, to bring improved seedlings, improved stems to boost food produce.”
“As we are chasing away the criminals from the farm, we have told our people to get ready to go back to farm so that they can bring back Ikwere garri to Rivers and Nigerians.”
While promising to empower farmers with improved seedlings and cassava stems to boost the production of garri and other farm produce, he disclosed that the council has inaugurated the back-to-farm committee led by Mr. Briggs Nyeche, to facilitate the process.
“My team and I are going to bring back the agricultural extension workers, we will do our best to make sure people go back to farm and increase farm yields.”