Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has described as unfortunate, a situation where the people’s love, trust and votes for President Muhammadu Buhari are being rewarded with hate, cruelty and dictatorial policies aimed at grabbing their lands to donate to herders with their cows.
This is even as the governor emphasized that Buhari must be ready to kill everyone in the state to actualize his grazing reserves route.
“If President Buhari must actualize his cattle agenda in Benue State, he should be ready to kill all of us, hence grazing reserves and cattle routes are the only project the president has for Nigerians, I want to repeat, Benue is not interested in such a project,” he said.
Ortom, who was reacting to the statement credited to the Presidency indicating that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved recommendations of a committee to review “with dispatch,” 368 grazing sites across 25 states in the country, described it as shocking and disappointing.
The governor said the Presidency was whipping a dead horse on the issue of grazing reserves in the country because Buhari is very much aware that all the northern states including his home state, Katsina and the entire southern states have unanimously rejected open grazing of livestock, therefore the Presidency is rather whipping a dead horse on the issue of grazing reserves.
“It is now evident that the government at the centre prioritizes the welfare of cattle over human beings and is bent on taking Nigeria back to the precolonial era, because Nigeria has been turned to a cow republic by the present administration,” Ortom added.
He asked the federal government to be more worried about the millions of farmers displaced from their ancestral lands by continuous attacks by herdsmen which is threatening food security, instead of fighting for the well-being of cows.
Ortom said: “Millions of Nigerians have been displaced following attacks by armed herders and are currently suffering in IDP camps. Benue State for instance has over 1.5 million displaced people with thousands living in camps and many more were forced to flee their ancestral lands to stay under dehumanizing conditions in open fields. The Buhari administration does not seem to be worried about the food crisis already ravaging the country.”
“Farmers have been chased into IDP camps by herders and children are dying of starvation, yet what is more important to the Presidency is the well-being of cows,” he said.
Ortom who spoke through his chief press secretary Terver Akase also said he was equally disappointed with members of the committee which recommended that grazing reserves be established in parts of the country.
According to him, from the statement, it is now clear that the Presidency wants to plunge the country into an avoidable crisis, otherwise, there is no justification for President Buhari’s insistence that grazing reserves be established across the country when Nigerians have openly kicked against the policy and have embraced ranching in place of open grazing.
“I want to say here that the committee members are the real enemies of Nigeria. What they are doing is hypocrisy of the highest order. Members of the committee should know that posterity will judge everyone according to their deeds here on earth. Above all, there is God oh! the Buhari administration will not be in power forever,” he said.
“In a country where insecurity has reached an all-time high with hundreds of citizens being killed by armed herdsmen, bandits and other terrorists, the Presidency is only bordered about animals and their safety and is deploying all machinery and arsenal of government to impose grazing reserves and cattle routes on Nigerians. This is unacceptable.
“We challenge the Presidency to name what it has done to alleviate the plight of those displaced by herdsmen in Benue State since 2018? What is the difference between the Buhari administration’s approach to insecurity and the Taliban agenda in Afghanistan?”