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Ortom vows to reject move by Nigerian govt to review Land Use Act

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The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, says the state will reject any attempt by the Federal Government to review the Land Use Act which is meant to “grab land for open grazing, cattle routes and grazing reserves.”

Ortom, on Monday, reacted to the planned review of the Land Use Act of 1978 to give back ownership of state lands to the Federal Government and to push for the take over of waterways and river banks by the federal government.

He said the attempt to review the Act by the presidency would not be acceptable by Benue State as it was another attempt to grab land from the people for open grazing.

Ortom, while receiving the Assistant Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in charge of Zone H, Harilu Usman, at the Government House in Makurdi, acknowledged the support of Agro Rangers to peace and security in the state.

He added that the continued insistence on open grazing and cattle routes connotes a hidden agenda by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to grab lands in the state.

Read also: Regional fractures emerge as Land Use Act, LG autonomy set for debate

He noted that as herders come armed, attack and sometimes kill Livestock Guards and security agents in the course of discharging their responsibilities, force has to be applied to impound the cattle which could result to stray ones.

“If herdsmen had obeyed the ranching laws of Benue State and complied with its provisions, nothing of such would have happened in the first place, let alone the blame game.

“All they are trying to do now is cheap blackmail. It is ridiculous for the presidency to continue to look for a solution to farmers and herders crisis when ranching is there and had proven to be a global best solution,” the Governor said.

In his response, Usman pledged his commitment to peace and security in Benue and other states under his jurisdiction, assuring that the NSCDC will continue to work together with other security agencies in the state to ensure lasting peace.

By Isaac Dachen…

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