Posted by News Express | 1 February 2022 | 453 times
An orchard farm owned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo located at Howe, Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State, was at the weekend gutted by fire.
The manager of the farm, Zubello Muhamed, who made the disclosure, said the incident occurred when he travelled out of the area for an official assignment.
Zubello disclosed further that he was informed at about 2 pm that fateful day that the farm was on fire adding that all efforts to quench the fire was unsuccessful until a large portion of the farm had been consumed.
The farm manager who noted that the cause of the incident was yet to be ascertained however suspected that mischief-makers may have ignited the fire since according to him, the parameters of the farm has been carefully fire traced to avoid such incident.
He said some mischief makers had before now, been demanding compensation for the portion of land where the farm is located stressing that he had severally prevented attempts to set the farm on fire especially during this dry season.
When contacted, Council Chairman of Gwer Local Government Area Emmanuel Ortserga described the development as shocking adding that four suspects have been arrested in connection to the fire incident.
Ortserga said he had already visited the scene of the fire incident and had directed security agents to apprehend and prosecute anyone found to have perpetrated the dastardly act.
On his part, state fire service director, Engr. Donald Ikyaaza who disclosed that more than half of the farm was burnt said as soon as the fire incident was reported, he immediately drafted his men to the scene to put out the fire.
“I discharged my men to that place immediately and the portion we met, we were able to put out the fire. In fact, my men while coming back in the night, armed robbers caught them, beat them seriously and collected all their handsets. So, that was the compensation we got for fighting a fire at Obasanjo’s farm,” he said.
Speaking on the exact cause of the fire, Akyaaza said his men who went there said the people were fighting for compensation for land.
“Maybe the land was not adequately compensated so that’s why they decided to set fire on the farm. That’s the only information I got from them. Not all the farm was burnt. Some trees are still there, the seeds were saved,” Akyaaza said.
It would be recalled that the former President visited Benue State in 2019 to take possession of the farmland which spanned many hectares and had since put it to use by planting orange trees on it.
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