The Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom has denied the report that he had agreed to cede a portion of land to the Nigerian government for ranching.
Ortom said he did not at any point during his speech at the media and communications briefing on the National Livestock Transformation Plan which took place in Abuja yesterday state that he would cede any land to the federal government.
Terver Akase, Ortom’s Chief Press Secretary in statement on Wednesday said there was nowhere in the speech that Governor Ortom said Benue would give land for grazing reserves, the proposed FG ranches, cattle colonies or any of the related patterns of animal husbandry contrary to the provisions of the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.
He maintained that the state had no landmass for cattle routes and open grazing as the available land mass is used for crop cultivation to maintain the food basket status.
He reiterated that laws were made out of desperation to stop the killings, adding that the killings started since 2011.
Commenting on the ECOWAS treaty, the Governor said, “The ECOWAS protocol has not been observed by any of the ECOWAS countries and basic documents and checks are not done on the herdsmen.
“The challenge for us in Benue state is that we have no land. As the food basket of the nation, we have no land. My state is not an industrial state; my state is a civil service state supported economically by the farmers. When I came in as governor, I encouraged even the civil servants to go back to farm. Whatever you are doing, your second office is farming and that is the only thing we are doing.
“The land is no longer there. What existed in the 60s when cattle rearers come around with sticks not guns was that we related very well. There was no problem; there was no fighting.”