by Azeez Adeniyi
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom has said Fulani herdsmen have taken over 12 out of the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.
According to a statement released on Friday by Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ortom said this while receiving a delegation of CAN, led by its President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle.
CAN had been in the state to donate relief materials worth N7m to victims of the Fulani herdsmen attacks.
Ortom said it was impossible for the people to farm, stating that it can’t go along with grazing.
He said, “What you see in that bill is a decision not just of the governor or the Speaker or members of the Benue State House of Assembly, but the decision of Benue State because the bill was subjected to public hearing and the people were unanimous.
“Benue State has 23 Local Government Areas. But 12 have been under siege by the Fulani herdsmen. Benue State was completely under siege for two years. It is not a crime that God gave us green land and as we are known as the food basket of the nation, we are not going to farm in the air or on the sea, or any other place, it is on the land.
“There is no way we can compete with grazing. It is impossible for grazing to go along side with farming. And for several years, we have pleaded with the herdsmen, but they continue to kill.
“Even before I became governor, the lasting solution to the constant clashes between farmers and herdsmen is ranching, that is what the bill is saying. They have led to the increase in human activities, road networks, markets and other things, so it is unreasonable to think that grazing will continue in Nigeria.”
While speaking, Ayokunle expressed support to the anti-open grazing law.
He said it was barbaric and provocative for the government to treat perpetrators of the killings as sacred cows, as no group has the monopoly of violence.
The CAN President said, “I think this is one of the ways to put an end to this type of unnecessary and unwarranted killings that have been going on in this state. And I hope other states will emulate this in bringing an end to the unfortunate killings.”