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No land for grazing reserve in Benue, Ortom insists

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The Benue State government, yesterday, said if the President Muhammadu Buhari administration must actualise the cattle grazing reserves agenda or any other thing different from ranching, the government must be ready to kill everybody in the state.

The state government, in a statement signed by Terver Akase and made available to newsmen, also said the decision of the Federal Government was capable of plunging the country into avoidable crisis.

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He said the people of the state were disappointed with members of the committee which recommended that grazing reserves be established in most parts of the country.

According to him, it was unfortunate that the Buhari-led Federal Government was not worried about millions of Nigerians who have been displaced following attacks by armed herders and were currently suffering in IDPs camps.

The statement read in part: “We were shocked and disappointed to read a statement from the Presidency indicating that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved recommendations of a committee to review “with dispatch,” 368 grazing sites across 25 states in the country, “to determine the levels of encroachment.

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“In a country where insecurity has reached an all-time high with hundreds being killed by armed herdsmen, bandits, and other terrorists, the Presidency is only bordered about animals and their safety and is deploying all machinery and arsenals of government to impose grazing reserves and cattle routes on Nigerians.

This is unacceptable!

“Benue State, for instance, has over 1.5 million displaced people with thousands living in camps and many more forced to flee their ancestral lands to stay under dehumanising conditions in open fields.

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“The Buhari administration does not seem to be worried about the food crisis already ravaging the country. Farmers have been chased into IDPs camps by herders and children are dying of starvation in addition to being denied education, yet what is more important to their President is the well-being of cows.”

Akase added: “We expected the pitiable condition of the displaced people to be the preoccupation of the President whom they voted in 2015 and 2019.

“It is unfortunate that the people’s genuine show of love, trust, and votes for Mr President are being rewarded with hate, cruelty, and dictatorial policies aimed at grabbing their lands to donate to herders and cows.

“It is also now clear that the Presidency wants to plunge the country into avoidable crisis. Otherwise, what is the justification for President Buhari’s insistence that grazing reserves be established across the country when Nigerians have openly kicked against the policy and have embraced ranching in place of open grazing?

“If President Buhari must actualise his cattle agenda in Benue State, he should be ready to kill all of us! We know that grazing reserves and cattle routes are the only projects that the President has for Nigeria, but Benue is not interested in such a project.”

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