Hoodlum raze Obasanjo’s farm in Benue

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Yet-to-be-identified persons have razed a mango farm belonging to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Benue State.

Obasanjo’s spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi, confirmed the burning of the 2,420 hectares farmland in a statement on Tuesday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

He said the incident occurred over the weekend at Howe in the Aliade area of Gwer East Local Government of Benue.

According to Akinyemi, Obasanjo described the incident as a bad development while the local and state governments, as well as the security agencies, have taken up the issue with a view to fishing out the perpetrators for prosecution.

The former president thanked those who had called him to identify with him on the incident, saying it was gladdening that no death was recorded despite the huge loss on the farmland as a result of the inferno.

The incident has also been condemned by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue who ordered a full-scale investigation to unravel the remote and immediate cause of the inferno.

He was said to have given the directive while receiving the report of the incident from the Chairman of the local government, Mr Emmanuel Otserga.

“It is discovered that the fire was an act of sabotage, the perpetrators must be brought to book,” the governor was quoted as saying in a statement on Tuesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur.

He insisted that no act of sabotage would be tolerated, saying that his government has a deliberate policy to encourage local and foreign investors, especially in the agricultural sector.

Governor Ortom, therefore, tasked the security agencies in the state to do all that was necessary to get to the root of the matter forthwith.

“It is the height of irresponsibility for anyone to think of setting ablaze a farm that is set to, in a very near future, boost the economic development of the area in particular and state in general,” he said.

“Obasanjo, as a former president, is a statesman and needs to be accorded his due respect anywhere in Nigeria and Benue State cannot be an exception.”

The governor directed the Commissioner of Police in Benue to ensure that the perpetrators were immediately apprehended and brought to book.

Earlier, Atserga told Governor Ortom that over half of the mango farm, covering over 139 hectares of land, was razed and four suspects have been arrested and more were being trailed.

“From the look of things, the fire was caused by the deliberate act of mischief makers,” he said. “The farm is well safeguarded, there is no way fire can cross over from any quarter into the farm”.

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