From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has insisted that the sustained attacks on Benue people will not force his administration to repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.
He maintained that anyone who thinks that the state government would be intimidated to repeal the law would be making a great mistake as according to him, his administration is trying to amend the law to increase the penalties against anyone who flouts the law.
The Governor stated this on Saturday at the Banquet Hall of the Government House in Makurdi while giving his midterm score card as part of activities marking this year’s Democracy Day.
“This law has come to stay and no amount of intimidation can make us to repeal it. Instead, we will soon amend the law in order to increase the penalties against offenders.”
Governor Ortom who reeled out his administration’s achievements in the areas of education, agriculture, infrastructure, health among others however lamented the humanitarian situation caused by the continued attacks by armed Herdsmen, bandits and other criminals in Benue communities.
“The security threat from armed herdsmen, bandits and other criminals in our communities has resulted in wanton killings and the displacement of people in large numbers across the state.
“Today, Benue State has over one million IDPs with many of them living in the camps we have set up and others staying with their relations. The situation has created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the state.
He regretted that despite the huge sums of money his administration has been spending to cater for the Internally displaced persons, resources are always inadequate because the number of IDPs are daily increasing.
“My desire is to ensure that the IDPs return to their ancestral homes. Most of them are farmers, and the longer they stay in the camps, the more food production is affected. We hope that the Federal Government will also fulfill its promise to assist Benue and other states in the North Central which have been badly affected by the attacks to resettle the victims.”