Ortom pledges to end farmers, herdsmen recurring crisis
Ortom made the promise in Abuja where he had come to solicit for the technical, technological and financial support of Japan International Cooperation agency (JICA) in the development of his state in the areas of water and sanitation, education and agriculture, among other sectors.
Ortom, who said he would like to lead a government where the people are self-sufficient; and the state processing its primary products, added that his government would massively promote micro, small and medium enterprises to generate employment for the people.
The conflicts between farmers and herdsmen are “one major challenge facing Benue state and will face my government. As someone who rose from the grassroots, I want to assure that I’m very conversant with the challenge. As a farmer myself, and an industrialist, I understand the challenges. When you talk about farmers and herdsmen challenge, I’m affected. I also rear cows. I’m affected both ways. I know the road. The way forward is to establish ranches. This way you reduce the movement of herdsmen. That is what is done globally. No other part of the world, except in Africa do you see people moving about with cows. They are restrained to ranches,” he said.
Meanwhile, the deputy governor elect Benson Abounu has stated that the landslide victory achieved by the All Progressive Congress, APC in the state during the general elections is God’s own victory.
Abounu, who made the declaration while playing host to people of Utonkon (Ufia) community of Benue South District that were at his Makurdi resident on a solidarity visit further implored them to support the victory to succeed.
“APC did not just won but with landslide. This means that the victory is of God; and because it is of God, we have no choice but to work for its success,” Abounu stressed.
The Benue state governor elect also appealed to striking lecturers at the Benue State University, BSU to call off their strike for the interest of the students.
While playing host to the management team of the university who paid him a solidarity visit at his resident in Makurdi, the state capital, Ortom acknowledged that education is the major industry in the state; regretting that a situation where the university is shut down does not augur way for the future of the state and the students.
Ortom added that establishing ranches will be on the long term but the challenge would be tackled initially by educating the farmers that “for now these people will have to live with us. And to also educate the herdsmen that they must find a way of cooperating with these farmers.”