Suspected hoodlums have burnt a mango plantation owned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo at Howe community in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State.
Chairman of the local government Emmanuel Ortsega described the incident as a “sabotage”.
The 140-hectare plantation was torched at about 2 pm on Saturday following probable disagreements over compensation for the piece of land that originally belonged to the state government.
“It was strange that there was fire outbreak in the farm because the farm was properly safeguarded, so it was obvious that it was sabotage,” Mr Ortsega said.
On the extent of damage, Ortsega said about half of the plantation was lost.
The chairman added that four persons have been arrested in connection with the incident after a meeting of stakeholders was held.
Director of the State Fire Service Donald Ikyaaza said, “When we received the call from the Police in Aliade the Local Government Headquarters I dispatched my men to the place immediately and we were able to put out the fire outrightly.”
Mr Ikyaaza added that his men were attacked by armed robbers on their way back.
“As for the exact cause of the fire, the men who went there said the people were fighting for compensation for land.
“Maybe the land was not adequately compensated so that is why they decided to set fire on the farm. That is the only information I got from them,” he said.