From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has blamed President Muhammadu Buhari for the current insecurity plaguing the country saying he had failed in the area of giving the people security which he promised them in 2015.
“Mr. President is the one creating insecurity problem in this country. The grazing routes he is advocating will only cause crisis. No room for reviewing land use act and we are not going to allow the review in Benue.”
Ortom stated this during a tour of some projects embarked upon by his administration in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Tuesday.
He vowed that the state will reject the planned review of the Land Use Act by the Federal Government with vehemence as it is meant to grab land for open grazing, cattle routes and grazing reserves.
The Governor also described as mischievous, news making the rounds about the statement credited to his Commissioner of Education, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar on open grazing, said Ityavyar’s statement that there is land for ranching in Benue is in order.
“I stand with my Commissioner on what he said that there is land for ranching in Benue. What we are against is open grazing. Our law is still in place and we will prosecute anybody who goes against the law.
“The only people who can reverse this is the Benue people, not even me. That is why I will continue to call on President Buhari to rescind his decision that open grazing must continue in Nigeria. Open grazing is outdated, there is no need for it, and we must ranch our cattle.
“I have maintained that there is land for everyone for ranching in Benue provided they respect the provisions of the law. We have not stopped anybody or tribe from doing business in Benue.
“We have been under pressure to repeal or review the law but we have stood our grounds and I still remain committed to anti open grazing in Benue and the law is for the people,” Ortom stated.
Governor Ortom posited that the planned review of the Land Use Act of 1978 to give ownership of land to the Federal Government and to push for take over of water ways and River Banks by the Federal Government would only create crisis in the country.
The Governor said the attempt by the Presidency to review the Land Use Act would not be acceptable by Benue State stressing that it was another attempt to grab land from the people for open grazing.
The Governor inspected ongoing work at the Governor’s office complex, Benue Internal Revenue Service BIRS, some primary schools, completed 9.4kilometer asphalted Apir-Yakior Road project as well as the 12 kilometer electricity project in the same area among other projects.