Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:47 pm
Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue said on Thursday that the state government would encourage the establishment of ranches to check persistent farmers/herdsmen conflicts.
Ortom disclosed this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, Benue is the food basket of the nation and the only way the state can live up to the expectations is to promote farming and modern animal husbandry.
“Benue is the food basket of the nation and the only way that we can live up to the expectations expected of Nigerians is to till the land.
“Farming and grazing cannot go together, it is impossible, so we are advocating that people who want to breed cattle in the state should apply and purchase land and ranch these cattle, other people can provide feeds for them just like it is done globally.
“This will be the best solution to our problem,’’ he said.
The governor expressed optimism that the ranches, when established, would address the problem of cattle rustlers, whom he said had been killing innocent people in the state.
He stated that security apparatus in collaboration with the state government had intensified efforts to check the criminal activities of cattle rustlers and some farmers in the state.
“The dangerous trend again in this challenge is the issue of the criminality that is involved, at both sides either farmers or herdsmen.
“Most times cattle rustlers will come to a particular place to rustle cattle and take them away.
“The militia will come and attack the communities that are innocent.
“And again, there are still some bad eggs amongst the farmers who go and attack the herdsmen, but there are still some criminal element in the herdsmen too who have now turned out to be armed robbers.
“And all these things are things that we are trying to balance up. We are still repeating that the way forward as far as we are concerned is to ranch our cattle, provide security and other infrastructure that can help the nomad.
“The nomad would also need to be educated on the new trend because population and human activities have been increased,’’ he said.
Ortom described as a good development, the arrest of some principal officers of the Benue House of Assembly by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of wrong financial dealings.
He vowed that his administration would not shield anybody suspected of mismanagement of public funds from facing appropriate legal actions.
The governor further disclosed that his administration was determined to recover the N107billion mismanaged fund by the 52 persons indicted by the Justice Kpojume Commission.
He said that already one of the indicted person had agreed to refund N355million of the mismanaged fund.
“The Justice Kpojume Commission came out with a report that N107billion should be retrieved from 52 persons, including the former governor, and I’m leaving no stones unturned to ensure that we recover this money because we need it for the development of Benue.
“Already someone who was indicted has already offered to refund N355million, which we gave the approval in council on Wednesday.
“With that, we are not interested in prosecution, the executive will exonerate him once he pays in the money,’’ he said.(NAN)