Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Monday told President Muhammadu Buhari that people of the state were as a helpless child in trouble that looks forward to his father for rescue.
Buhari was in Benue on Monday months after several attacks by herdsmen that have left over 150 dead since the deadly New Year’s attack that resulted in the death of 73 people.
Ortom, who recounted the various killings in the state by Fulani herdsmen, told Buhari that the people expect that with the visit will come respite.
“Your Excellency, on January 11, 2018, we buried 73 citizens, including women and children. All of them were brutally slaughtered in their sleep by armed herdsmen in the early hours of the New Year 2018. At least 65 more have been killed in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas after the mass burial. Just a few days ago, 26 of our men, women and children in Okpokwu Local Government Area were killed. Also over 5,000 people were displaced in Mbatoho Community in Makurdi Local Government Area. Attacks by armed herdsmen have continued in various communities in the State leading to the displacement of over 170,000 people.”
He pleaded with the president “to take steps to reduce the suffering of the over 170,000 of our countrymen in the Eight Internally Displaced Camps. The Federal Government should compensate them and assist in the rebuilding of their homes as promised by the Committee on Displaced People headed by the Vice President. The Primary and Secondary Schools, Churches and Health Centres destroyed in several communities should be rebuilt for use again.”
According to the governor, after consultations and research, “we discovered that the global best practice for animal husbandry is Ranching. Top countries in the global cattle business such as India, Brazil, USA, South Africa; Kenya and Zimbabwe, are known to practice ranching. It takes proper care of Livestock to ensure quality meat and dairy products and minimizes cattle rustling. Your Excellency, this is the logic behind our popular Law, “Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017”.”
He challenged those opposed to the law to propose any superior method other than ranching, stressing that “the Law duly passed by the Benue State House of Assembly reflects the wishes of the Benue people.”
Ortom called on President Buhari to apply the full weight of the on the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore as the body has crossed the red line in calling for more bloodshed in Benue unless the anti-open grazing law was suspended.
“Your Excellency, how can a group claim responsibility for the killings that happened and are going about scot free? How can a group make public these inciting and criminal declarations in an organized society and are not arrested by the Police? Your Excellency, kindly order the immediate arrest and prosecution of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and Miyetti Cattle Breeders Association for carrying out their threats to attack Benue on account of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017.”