The dust refuses to settle following the eviction of a group of families from Farm Berg Aukas, and accusations and counter-accusations have again erupted between the evictees and Namibia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Peingondjabi Shipoh, who owns the farm.
The most recent accusations involve the issue of malicious damage to property whereby it is alleged Shipoh summonned the police to intervene after the fence of the farm had been damaged, with chains and padlocks being broken, an act Shipoh says was committed by the farm evictees in an effort to let their animals back onto the farm to graze.
The evictees who called New Era to dismiss and disapprove Shipoh’s claims said this is just another way of victimisation as if they have not suffered enough living alongside the road.
“The fence is old and rusted while some parts of the fence were already broken, thus giving free entrance to animals in and out. We have never at any point broken the fence. There is nothing we can do to stop the animals from going in because they have to graze, and it is beyond our control to regulate their movements. We are stuck on the roadside, where does he want us to take the animals? It is not something deliberate” said their spokesperson, Julietha Shimbojo.
“Two weeks ago the police came to harass us that we are damaging property and that we have to vacate the vicinity of the farm, but we have no knowledge of that and where must we vacate to? This is the only place we have ever known as home,” she added.
The families’ animals are being housed at the youth centre of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service, bordering Shipoh’s farm.
It is where the fence is mostly damaged allowing free access between the two farms.
In response, Shipoh admitted to have called the police to the farm. He said the evictees have caused malicious damage to his property that has immensely cost him in repairs and maintenance.
“What would you do in this case if your property is being damaged? In April when I was there (in Namibia) I bought new wires to mend and fence off where there were gaps, and now again they have cut the wires and broken the chains and padlocks of the gate,” said an irate Shipoh.
Shipoh maintains all he wants is for the group to vacate the farm he procured in 2011, adding that the entire saga has cost him dearly and generated bad press for him as well.
“They denied me the right to stay at my farm for the past five years, and I have been paying rates and taxes every year while they enjoyed the fruits, and now they continue to damage my property. How lenient can one be?” questioned Shipoh,
He said that he now employs people on the farm that do maintenance.
However when asked why he doesn’t instead employ the disgruntled families, he said: “That will be a joke, how can I employ people that have tainted and tarnished my name? And in the first place these people never came to talk to me, and if they could have done that before, I might have thought otherwise.”