Despite increasing threats, anti-open grazing law remains, says Ortom
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has said that threats to his life will not deter him from standing firm in defence of his people in the face of continued herdsmen attacks on the state Ortom asserted that the anti-open grazing law in the state has come to stay, just as he vowed to continue to resist attempts from outside forces to repeal the law.
The Benue Chief Executive Officer (CEO) spoke at the maiden public lecture organised by the Conference of Benue Journalists (CBJ) that had as theme: “The Effects of Herdsmen and Farmers Crises on Food Security in Nigeria” in Abuja.
While bemoaning the plight of the people in various Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the state, Ortom wondered why a certain section of the country would want to forcefully impose their values on other people in a secular society like Nigeria. He stressed that ranching was the only way to ensure peace and stability in the country, adding that nothing would stop the anti-grazing law in the state, just as he declared: “I stand on the path of truth in the defence of my people who elected me. As long as I am alive, I will continue to defend my people and the unity of this country.
“Over 200 people who would have been in school are currently at home, while about 500,000 IDPs are scattered across various camps in the state. Some died while running away from death and I remember very well that when the Sharia law was enacted in Zamfara State, Benue indigenes who were not comfortable with the law relocated back to their state. How can we achieve development in the midst of lawlessness?”
The governor disclosed that the positive impact of the bill was being felt as over 200 herdsmen have been arrested out of which 49 convictions have been recorded.
Earlier, in his presentation, a professor of Archeology at Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Zacharys Anger Gundu, said the Fulani herdsmen constitute the biggest destabilising factor in Nigeria, even as he linked the killings to an international agenda, with Nigeria being strategically targeted for invasion and occupation.
While he blamed past leaders of the state over their failure to address the problems at the initial stage, Gundu called on Benue people to resist moves by desperate politicians and enemies of the state to impose a governorship candidate on them.“People should not sit in Abuja and decide who becomes the governor of Benue State, because by the time we do so we will lose hold of our ancestral land; he said.
The politicians are just concerned about their personal interest. Our politicians need to understand that there is an agenda and until we come together to stand for ourselves, time will come when we will lose everything.”
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