*Suggests building ranches as solution
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, on Friday, appealed to the presidency to intervene in the incessant bloody clashes between Fulani herdsmen and the farmers in the State, regretting the sad development had claimed many lives and destroyed valuable properties.
The governor’s appeal followed a renewed attack of the people by the Fulani herdsmen who invaded the state.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after a meeting with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa in Abuja, the governor who was apparently disturbed by the killings said that he came to brief the Vice President on the happenings in the state.
The governor pointed out that the situation in Agatu Local government area was getting out of hand and needed urgent attention.
He said: “There are issues in my state especially the invasion of herdsmen in one of my local governments, Agatu Local Government.
“While we are making our own efforts to ensure that we maintain law and order, I thought it was necessary to also brief the Presidency.
“We also discussed other issues of interest. I think that the situation in Benue, especially in Agatu is getting out of hand.
“Right now as I talk to you, several settlements have been razed down, an undisclosed number of people are killed and my people are refugees all over the place. I cannot sit back in Benue State when such thing is happening.
“The security agencies within the state are also trying. The police, the army and the civil Defence and the DSS. We have been holding series of meetings. It is really alarming.”
By way of proffering solution to the matter, the governor suggested that ranches should be built for the herdsmen, arguing that gone were the days when there was sufficient grazing lands for the cattles.
He however appealed to the warring parties to sheathe their swords.
“Both the state and the Federal Government need to come together and do something because the state is not just peculiar. I am aware that this is also happening in other states too. Like I keep advocating, there is need for us to find a lasting solution which is ranches, that is the best global best practice. That is what is happening everywhere in the world.
“The lands that used to exist in 1950s when we have cattle routes and grazing areas. It is no longer there. It is the same 923,000 square meters that is existing. Then, the population of Nigera was less than 60million, today we have a population of over 170million. How do you cope with allowing grazing areas and all that.
“But what I have been telling our people is that what we need as a lasting solution is ranches. I have been telling them to sheathe their swords, we must learn to live with one another. The herdsmen must appreciate that the farmer lives on his farming and the farmer must appreciate that the herdsman lives on his cattle.”