Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has faulted calls for the creation of grazing routes and grazing areas in the country, saying, it would not solve the problem of incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers.
The governor has also assured the people of the state that his administration will not short-change anybody, but will do its best to satisfy the needs of the people.
Ortom made his position known while playing host to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Complaints and Public Safety yesterday.
While contending that ranching remains the best option to contain the present herders/farmers clashes, the governor added: “In the 50s when grazing routes were designated for cows, the population of Nigeria was less than 40 million.
“Today, we have over 200 million, and the same land mass that we had in the 50s is the same that we have today. The submission is that we must ranch our cattle like it is done in other climes.”
He emphasized that there is no 20 hectares of land that is free in Benue anymore, due to the ongoing campaign on diversification of the economy from oil to agriculture, remarking that no land in the state was available to serve as grazing route or grazing area.
“The herdsmen issue is a major challenge to the Benue people. We believe the herdsmen have the right to live like every other Nigerian, but government must initiate policies to secure lives and property,” the Governor added.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Aminu Jaji said they were in the state to sympathise with the government and people of the state over the recent invasion of Agatu and other parts of the state by the Fulani herdsmen, even as he pledged to visit some of the ravaged areas to assess level of damages incurred by the communities.