Thursday, 11 January 2018

Stop Talking About Colonies, Ortom Warns Buhari

The federal government's plan to set up cattle colonies across the nation won't address farmers/herders crisis.

This is the position of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state following recent pronouncements by federal government officials.

Governor Ortom insists that the only way forward to address the issue is through ranching Governor Samuel Ortom has stated that the federal government's plan to set up cattle colonies across the nation won't address farmers/herders crisis. 

The governor made the statement at the memorial service held for the victims of the recent herdsmen attack in the state on Thursday, January 11. According to him, the only way forward to address the issue is through ranching. Governor Ortom (right) was emotional yesterday as the corpses of the victims of the herdsmen attacks were lowered. 

His words: “I am waiting to be briefed about what colonies means, I don’t understand it and until I understand it…but like I keep saying, for us the way forward is ranching and up-till this time, I am talking to you, the way forward is ranching because is global best practice. “And it is practiced in other parts of the world, on African soil in Swaziland, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique almost all African countries that rear cattle, they ranch, so why can’t we do the same thing here. 

For the colony thing I don’t know what colony is." The governor stated that since his government started the implementation of the anti-open grazing law, there has been relative peace amongst farmers and herdsmen. “They were doing well until this militia coming from this Miyetti Allah, came and attacked us. “And they are known, we know where they are. As I talk to you they are in Tongua in Awe local government (Nassarawa), that is where these people are camped and coming to attack people," he said. 

The minister of agriculture and rural development, Audu Ogbeh, recently said the cattle colonies would not transfer communal land ownership to herdsmen wherever it was established. Ogbeh was reacting to fears by some citizens that the policy was an attempt by the federal government to forcibly collect land from citizens and hand them over to herdsmen. He stated that there was no truth in speculations that the government was conspiring to grant supremacy over communal land to herdsmen. 

He added that the federal government would soon hold a stakeholders’ forum with the herdsmen and other stakeholders on the implementation of the new policy. Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom described the victims of the recent attack as fallen heroes. He stated that the people of the state had looked forward to the new year with renewed hopes and aspirations before the incident. He also revealed that the state has lost 73 people to the attacks since the beginning of the new year. “This figure does not include our security operatives who have also fallen at the hands of these enemies of peace. “It does not even include those already buried in their communities. Some of these gallant patriots who survived gun and machete attacks are receiving medical attention,” he added. 

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