GOVERNOR  of Benue State,
Samuel Ortom, yesterday urged
the 22 All Progressives Congress,
APC, governors who paid him
a condolence visit to call on the
federal government to approve
establishment of ranches so that
nomads would stop killing his
people.
Ortom, who made the appeal
while receiving the Imo State
governor and chairman of
APC governors’ forum, Owelle
Rochas Okorocha, and three
other governors who paid him a
condolence visit on behalf of the
22 governors over the invasion of
Agatu and other parts of Benue
State by herdsmen, said the
destruction of lives and property
has taken the state 25 years
backwards.
He said when cows are kept in
one place, they can be properly
fed and made it clear that those
who rustle cows are the same
Fulani who use mercenaries to
invade communities under the
excuse that their cows have been
rustled by such people.
“We governors have to
collaborate with federal
government and help the nomads,
we know what they face; I know
you will add your voice because in
America and Asia, where there is
development, grazing is no longer
practiced”, Ortom maintained.
He said as a farmer, he ranches
cattle and explained that his cattle
do better than those being moved
about.
According to him, mercenaries
invaded his village and killed over
50 persons and destroyed over 200
hectares of his rice farm.
“As I am sitting here, I have
no ancestral home, they killed
children, old men and women in
my community”, ortom added.
While saying that he was
encouraged by the visit of the
governors, Ortom said the
governors had wanted to visit
Benue before going to Enugu
but he travelled to China with
the President. He appreciated
his colleagues for sympathizing
with the people of the state over
the invasion of Agatu, Makurdi,
Tarka, Guma, Logo, Kwande,
Buruku, Gwer-West and other
local governments.
He recalled that Benue people
had lived peacefully with Fulani
herdsmen until four years ago
and stressed that it was a sad
thing for herdsmen to displace the
people from their land and farms
when the state has not been able
to attract industries.
He said the destruction of lives
and property has brought a major
setback to the people and explained
that the states’s federal allocation
which was about N7 billion before
he assumed office declined to N1,
3 billion this month.
He said herdsmen come to
Benue not just to graze but to steal,
kill and destroy the Food Basket
of Nigeria and observed with
concern that even as the President
has directed that soldiers and
mobile police men should be
deployed to the state, there has
not been any report that any of the
people committing the heinous
crime has been arrested.
Responding to Governor
Ortom’s speech and the
documentary shown to the
governors on the invasion of
Benue by herdsmen, Owelle
Rochas Okorocha said “having
watched the documentary and
heard your governor on the
massive destruction, we say
that the act is condemnable, we
condemn the act”.
He described the wanton
destruction of lives and property
as an ill wind which does no good
to any one and emphasised that
Benue people are peace loving.
“We are here to show our dislike,
a criminal is a criminal whether
they are Boko Haram, herdsmen
or whichever group; Benue state
is central and key in Nigerian
politics.”
He said crisis in Benue would
distort the entire political equation
in the country and commended
the President for saying that those
committing the crime should be
dealt with accordingly.
He said time has come for the
governors to unite against the
menace caused by Boko Haram
and Niger Delta militants


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