Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom has stated that the good intentions of President Muhammadu Buhari to salvage the country for the benefit of upcoming generations may be defeated because he is surrounded by a wrong set of people that cannot give him useful advice that would take the nation out of the woods.
Governor Ortom stated this while reacting to statement made by Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali, who linked recent massacre of innocent people by suspected Fulani herdsmen in the state to the promulgation of the anti-open grazing laws and blockade of grazing routes.
The governor also maintained that the comment was a clear indication that the solution to the security crisis confronting the country is not in sight, stressing that the position of the minister was tantamount to “dancing on the graves of those who were murdered in the state on January 1”.
“If that Minister said that, I think I will just conclude that the people around Buhari, our President, are a wrong set of people who are not capable of giving him quality advice and also proffer solutions to the problems we have here”.
“These are people who are supposed to be supporting Mr. President and for their selfish interests, they are misinforming him, they are misdirecting him to do the wrong thing. Killings are going on in the state and you are talking about law, is there any law prohibiting cattle grazing in Adamawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Enugu, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Ondo, Ekiti, Imo, Oyo and other states including Zamfara?
Governor Ortom described the statement as unfortunate and noted that his administration did not commit any crime by enacting the law which he said would bring the perennial crisis between cattle herders and crop farmers to an abrupt end.
The governor stated that people of the state will continue to be law abiding in the face unprovoked attacks until justice is done.
He noted that despite continued attacks on his people by armed Fulani herdsmen which he said are known, security agencies had tagged them as foreign terrorists from Islamic State In West Africa (ISWA), regretting why immunity which is the prerogative of the President, the Vice President as well as Governors and their Deputies has been extended to cattle and Fulani herdsmen by the present administration.
“I have thought that immunity in this country belongs to the President, the Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors, but by what I heard from the Honourable Minister, if he said it, it means the federal government has provided immunity for Fulani herdsmen who killed, maimed and raped our women, they have also provided immunity for cattle in Nigeria which is very wrong”.
Governor Ortom who entreated the minister to apologise to the government and people of the state for the statement which he said was an insult to the state, described the security challenge in Benue as an ugly monster that is capable of consuming the entire country if nothing is done to surmount it headlong.
He advised the federal government to rise up to the challenge confronting states since it is its responsibility to provide security for the lives and property of the citizenry.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of World Harvest Ministries International, Leonard Kawas has said that the Anti-Open Grazing Law and Ranching policy launched by the Governor Ortom administration remains the best option to ending the menace of herdsmen/farmers clashes in Nigeria.
Archbishop Kawas stated this yesterday when he led a delegation of the church to condole with the governor over the killing of 73 people on New Year day said.
“We totally condemn this act and call on President Buhari led government to ensure that the perpetrators and sponsors of these evil acts are arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law.
He also called for appropriate sanctions on the security forces who have been very negligent inspite of earlier warnings that was made public.
The Archbishop urged Governor Ortom to remain steadfast, unmovable saying there is no doubt that the recent anti-open grazing law and ranching policy is the panacea to ending the manace of herdsmen/farmers clashes in Nigeria.
“You have always stood by the truth and always spoken the teuth. We thank you for standing by the Benue people and not negotiating their destiny away.
This stance of your is novel and priceless. We are 100 percent behind you and have taken it upon ourselves to continuously mobilize the entire church group in Nigeria and all over the World to stand form with you”.