The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has made it abundantly clear that his state has neither grazing reserves nor lands for open grazing.
Ortom who made this abundantly clear when speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Tuesday, warned that open grazing was an invitation for anarchy in the land.
The Governor was speaking against the backdrop of the federal government’s order for the review of Grazing Reserves in 25 states of the country.
Ortom said: “I don’t understand why the federal government is embarking on this dangerous enterprise. I have volunteered to bring it to the notice of Mr. President that my people, the Benue state indigenes have said that they don’t have any land for open grazing.
“There is a Land Use Act enshrined in the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria which gives the Governors the power to manage lands on behalf of the citizens. National Economic Council (NEC) has deliberated on this open grazing issue and has come up with a resolution that Ranching Policy should be adopted and on state by state basis.
“It is clear that the open grazing practice of 1950s when Nigeria population was 40 million people cannot work in Nigeria of 2021 with a population of over 200 million people”.
Asked if he has used his position as a sitting Governor to make suggestions on such burning issues to Mr. President, Ortom said that he had in the past discussed the open grazing with him but claimed he has now been blocked from seeing the President.
“I have told Mr. President the stand of my people on open grazing. I have told him time and again that the Benue people said they don’t have any land for open grazing and that instead of them to allow the federal government to take their lands forcefully for open grazing they are determined to lay down their lives. There are no grazing routes in Benue state.
“But from the interactions I had with Mr. President he has a mindset that the only way peace will reign in Nigeria is that there must be open grazing practice across the country. This is most unfortunate, to be honest and its an invitation for anarchy in the land”, Gov. Ortom insisted.
The second-term Governor of Benue state alleged that his life has been threatened many times because of his tough stand against open grazing and the signing into law Anti-grazing Law of Benue state.
According to him:”Miyetti Allah has been after my life. The other time I was in my farm I escaped death by whiskers and people were saying it was not true Ortom ran some kilometres. Look, I am very fit and can run for dear life if I am in danger.
“I am not only a Christian but a born again Christian, so I will continue to say the truth, if I die on the side of standing up against injustice and tyranny so be it”.