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Cross River communities lose valuable economic crops to mystery fire

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Communities in Cross River have decried a mystery fire that destroyed their crops worth millions of naira.

The affected settlements, Agba, Bansan and Obubra, in Boki council area of the state last week woke up to the terrifying news.

The inferno, which began in the night of March 12 to the early hours of the next day, destroyed produce such as cocoa, plantain, banana, oil palm trees, bush mango and avocado peer in an area spanning over 1,000 hectares and covering the three communities.

The clan head of Agba 2, Patrick Ekpang, said over 200 farmers lost their farms and economic trees to the blaze

He appealed to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and other relevant agencies to come to their through supplies of food.

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Ekpang pleaded: “We are appealing to the National Emergency Management Agency, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, Office of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management as well as corporate organisations and individuals to come to our aid.

“We need food and financial assistance to help us procure more inputs to start a fresh planting ahead of the rainy season.”

Also speaking, the member representing Boki 2 constituency in the state House of Assembly, Hilary Bisong, called on the state and federal governments to provide relief materials and financial assistance to the victims.

One of the affected, Mr. Stephen Asu, lamented that his entire livelihood had turned into dust.

He said most of the farmers took soft loans from microfinance bank to invest in cocoa plantations, which, regrettably, had gone in flames.

“We have become beggars in our own communities. Up until now, we don’t know the immediate cause of the fire incident that has damaged our economic trees and rendered us jobless and hungry,” Asu grieved.

Another farmer, Mr. Peter Agbor, also deplored his lost, adding: “For me, I have four children. I don’t have any other occupation apart from farming. There is serious hunger in my house now because I can no longer harvest my crops for sale and the one we consume at home.”

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