May 14, 2021

Anyone opposed to Southern govs’ ban on open grazing has hidden agenda — Ortom

Benue’s forgotten children

…As ALGON backs govs, asks LGs to commence enforcement

By Festus Ahon & Peter Duru

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State said yesterday that any Nigerian opposed to the resolve of Southern governors to ban open grazing of cattle in that part of the country has a hidden agenda.

This is even as Delta State chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, threw its weight behind the governors’ action, and asked all the local government areas in the state to commence enforcement of the ban.

The governor, who spoke during an address on the occasion of ‘Media Week and Communications Day 2021’, organised by the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, noted that his colleagues from the South towed the right path to address insecurity in Nigeria.

He said open grazing was no longer feasible in the country due to development and population growth, hence the need to ban it.

”Nigeria is a great country with great potential and should, ordinarily, have no business with poverty if only there is guaranteed security for lives and property and the people are allowed to remain stable in their localities to explore opportunities in farming and other ventures,” Ortom said.

He expressed appreciation to the Christians and Muslims in Benue State as well as residents and citizens of the state for remaining supportive of his administration.

He also acknowledged the good reportage of government policies and programmes by the Directorate of Social Communication, Catholic Diocese of Makurdi and all the media groups in Benue, pointing out that his administration would always welcome constructive criticisms.

The governor, who dropped hint of his administration’s plans to commence teaching of vernacular in schools in the next academic session, said children must be trained and supported to inculcate reading in them, even as he described communication as key in the society.

Earlier in his remarks, the Catholic Bishop of Makurdi Diocese, Most Reverend Wilfred Anagbe, stated that social communication was meant to uplift humanity and the society, stressing that it was a positive aspect of reality of life and not the other way round.

Bishop Anagbe, who canvassed the teaching of history and vernacular in primary and secondary schools in the state, said “language defines a man and so should not be allowed to go extinct.”

Meanwhile, Delta State chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON, has backed Southern governors on the ban on open grazing of cattle in the southern part of the country.

Briefing newsmen after the monthly  meeting of the Association in Warri South Local Government Council,  ALGON Chairman in the state, who is also the chairman of Ika North East Local Government Area, Mr Victor Ebonka, said: “Southern farmers are losing hundreds of millions of naira to plundering of food crops through encroachments on farmlands and exposing the region to famine and acute food scarcity”.

While urging the governors to match their resolution with actions, Ebonka said:  “Enough is enough of these criminal herdsmen who have been terrorizing our people.

“We are tired and sick of the activities of these killer herdsmen. Our farmers now find it difficult to go to farm for fear of being raped, killed or kidnapped. Our rural dwellers can no longer sleep with their two eyes closed for fear of being attacked by these rampaging armed herdsmen.

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“We, therefore, resolved in our meeting to enforce the ban on open grazing in our various local government areas. We have asked our council chairmen to liaise with relevant authorities and ensure the immediate enforcement of the ban.

“Open grazing is no longer acceptable to us as a people. Those who trade in cows should device a better and modern method of keeping their cattle. We shall no longer tolerate open grazing in our communities.

“We also back our governors on the call for a national dialogue, restructuring, respect for federal character among other resolutions reached by our governors.”

Recall that the Southern governors had at a meeting in Asaba, Delta State capital,  on Tuesday, banned open grazing in the region as part of effort to address herders-farmers clashes and senseless kidnapping as well as killings of Nigerian citizens of southern extraction.

Vanguard News Nigeria