….says policy must carry states along to avert strife
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The Middle Belt Movement for Justice and Peace, MBMJP, has urged the federal government to apologize to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state for allegedly vilifying him over his unwavering stance on the adoption of ranching as panacea for the herdsmen crisis in the country.
The MBMJP stated that the federal government owed the Governor the apology following the recent decision of the government to convert grazing reserves in the country to ranches for herders.
Convener of the MBMJP, Comrade Joe Bukka in a statement yesterday in Makurdi, said it would be unfair if the federal government failed to apologize to the Governor after he was severally disparaged by powerful forces in Abuja for championing the call for ranching in the country.
According to Comrade Bukka, “Few days ago the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Nomadic Education said the federal government is remodeling the grazing reserves to ranches to transform the livestock industry.
“It is a welcome development that the federal government has suddenly made a detour to embrace ranching after they almost ‘hung’ Governor Ortom for championing the call for ranching in the country.
“As Nigerians with conscience we demand that the federal government apologize to Governor Ortom who was severally vilified and even threatened for leading the dogged campaign to have ranching entrenched in the country.
“All he did was to have the country adopt the global best practice in animal husbandry and end the killings of farmers and sacking of our communities but some self seeking people and forces in Abuja who failed to realize that his advocacy was for the good of the country led the battle against him.
“But today he has been vindicated by the decision of the federal government to resort to ranching as being practiced in civilized countries which is obviously the solution to the ceaseless killings in our communities by the armed invaders.
“We must however caution that this new policy must be implemented in such a manner that the governments and people of the selected states give their consent and are also carried along to avoid any form of strife in those states.
“We are sounding this warning so that the policy does not fail because if the intent is to forcefully take land from the original owners without their consent, the policy will fail from the begin. So government must do everything to avoid that pitfall by getting the consent of the people before implementation.
“We also hope that this will be the genuine beginning of the introduction of ranching in the country in order to permanently end the incessant cases of conflicts and killing occasioned by open and wild grazing of cattle in the country,” he added.