Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue has painted a very gloomy situation about the level of insecurity in the state revealing that 12 of its 23 local government areas are still being held captive by Fulani herdsmen.
Otorm, who spoke on Friday, May 5, 2017 concerning the perpetration of crime by herdsmen in the state, made the revelation when he received the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Samson Ayokunle.
Governor Otorm, who defended the newly passed anti-open grazing in the state, added: “Coming at a time that Benue state House of Assembly passed the anti-open grazing bill speaks volume and goes to confirm that we will receive support from all the Christian community in Nigeria.
“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 twenty three local governments. But twelve local governments 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 a 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 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 continued killing even before I became governor.
The lasting solution to the constant clashes between farmers /herdsmen clashes is ranching, that is what the bill passed at the National Assembly is saying. “The increase in human activities, road networks, markets and other things, the completion for land is kind. It is unreasonable to think that grazing will continue in Nigeria. “It is amazing that when you go to the nation’s capital, cattle were freely interfering with traffic in Abuja. I think it is high time. “They should rare their cattle in a civilised way and it must be regulated.
In Benue State you must abide by the law otherwise flouting it will land you in jail. “This year will be the last year where our people will be harassed and chased out of their communities.” In his speech, the CAN president, called for mutual respect as key to ensuring peaceful co-existence.
“The situation where the offender is treated like a sacred cow is so provocative and unacceptable and there is a proposition in psychology that says that instigation to aggression depends on the degree of frustration. If you continue to frustrate people, they can become very aggressive. “Therefore, we don’t want any group of professional people whether herdsmen or any other men to provoke others to anger that may end up in a big war in this nation.
“We are saying this because violence is not a monopoly of any ethnic group, if the government continues to look at the herdsmen and allows them to be rampaging everywhere killing others, the way the herdsmen got their ammunition, the rest of us will also get it,” he said.