Renewed attacks by Fulani herdsmen in Benue State communities since 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari emerged President, has cost the state over N400 billion worth of property and goods.
The state governor, Samuel Ortom made this claim in Makurdi on Tuesday when he spoke about the challenges and achievements of his government in the past three years.
According to him, the figure of what the state has lost in monetary terms aside the loss of hundreds of human lives, followed a preliminary report of assessment of damages caused by the crisis.
This loss, the governor stressed, was too much and will be very difficult for the state to recover from.
On the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017, he said it was the people’s legislation and no amount of intimidation and blackmail would make them repeal it.
He added, “For me, I have no regret whatsoever concerning the enactment and implementation of the law. Why should I have any regret doing the will of my people? They trusted me and gave me their votes and I will not betray what they want. I’m doing what they want and I’ve no regrets.”
While he applauded states like Ekiti, Taraba and Abia for adopting ranching law as the right way to go, Ortom urged Nigerians who think they have better alternatives to bring it on the table to find a lasting solution to farmers and herdsmen crisis in the country.
On the Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali’s recent comment that states operating anti-open grazing law should suspend it, the governor said that the minister should apologise to Nigerians for saying such.
“I also challenge the Defence Minister, Dan-Masur Ali to come out and tell Nigerians why there are killings in Zamfara, his home state, and other states of Nigeria like Kaduna, Adamawa, Plateau, Enugu, Kogi, among others, where there are no anti-open grazing law.
“I am waiting for the minister to come out and apologise to Nigerians over his recent comments, calling for the suspension of the law which is blamed for the killings in the country,” he said.
Ortom who claimed that his goal for coming into power was to industrialise Benue, regretted that the herdsmen crisis had taken an enormous toll on his administration with 18 of the 23 local government areas in the state currently under attack.
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