…seeks compensation to families of militia, herdsmen’s attack
In a bid to resolve the lingering herders, farmers’ clashes across the country, Benue State governor Samuel Ortom, has called on federal and state governments to adopt the Benue State’s model of the Open Grazing Prohibition/ Ranching Law 2017 as a way of resolving the unending clashes between herders and farmers in the country.
He urged the Federal Government to evolve a policy that will encourage the enforcement of open grazing and ranching of cattle as one of the ways to ensure peace and unity in the country. Ortom spoke yesterday as guest lecturer at the 2021 press week/lecture of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Correspondents Chapel in Abuja on the theme: “Insecurity in Nigeria: Restoring peace, unity and progress”. He said: “All these countries ranch their animals. Nigeria has less than 20 million cattle which could also be easily ranched. “Unfortunately, the cows are allowed to either roam the streets freely or encroach on people’s farms and other investments creating all sorts of social and economic upheavals. “Abuja is the only Federal Capital in the world that I know of, where cattle are allowed to move freely and graze on beautification flowers.
“Today, we live in the 21st century and open grazing is obsolete in most countries of the world. In Europe, America, Asia and in many countries in Africa, pastoralism has long given way to ranching. “How can Nigeria then, still be battling with a problem of pastoralism that in other countries has been solved over a century ago? “According to the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, India has 303 million cattle, Brazil, 226 million, China, 100 million, USA, 93 million, Argentina, 53 million and Australia 27 million.” The governor advised the Federal Government to, “Immediately implement the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), in line with the recommendation of the National Economic Council. “Consequently, all funds released for the implementation of the RUGA policy should be recovered and rechanneled towards NLTP implementation.”
He said Benue State had prescribed ranching as a panacea for lasting peaceful co-existence between farmers and herders in Nigeria. He said: “Our ranching law, which prohibits open grazing, is Benue people’s reaction to these incessant killings, and an instrument of development.
“A ranching policy in Nigeria will provide avenue for both crop farmers and those involved in animal husbandry to increase production using modern technology.” Ortom, who insisted that the only solution to the no love lost between pastoralists and farmers is ranching, asked the Federal Government to, “publicly condemn the atrocities perpetrated by armed herdsmen, arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and other Fulani socio-cultural groups, who have consistently admitted to the wanton killings and destruction of communities across the country.”
These include Husaini Yusuf Bosso (National Vice-President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association), Badu Salisu Ahmadu and Umar Amir Shehu, (President and Secretary of Fulani Nationality Movement), Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo and Mr. Saleh Alhassan (President and Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore) along with their sponsors.
Leaders and sponsors of criminal gangs, cultists and militia groups must also be identified, arrested and prosecuted. He also said injustice, lack of good leadership and the culture of impunity have conspired to create the present state of insecurity ravaging the country, alleging that his people have suffered too much killings.
He said: “Our people have suffered genocide as many Benue citizens have been killed in their ancestral homes. Over 180, 000 of our people are registered as IDPs while over 500, 000 others are scattered across the country because of incessant clashes between herders and farmers.” Ortom also said: “I, Samuel Ortom, wants peace anchored on peace, unity and progress”, adding that; “except ranching policy is adopted in Nigeria quickly, every state will be affected by insecurity”.