From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Lawmaker representing Makurdi/Guma Federal Constituency, Benjamin Mzondu has said that no amount of blackmail and negative profiling of Governor Samuel Ortom will change the perception of the people of Benue State about him or make the state rep al it’s law banning open grazing.
Mzondu, who said this in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday insisted that Governor Ortom is a leader that has sacrificed his life and office for the liberation of his people.
He said this while reacting to an earlier statement signed by a former Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon. Steven Tsav and former Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Titus Zam on the spate of insecurity affecting Iharev communities of Makurdi/Guma Federal Constituency and the neighbouring Gwer West LGA.
The lawmaker observed that the statement of the All Progressives Congress APC leaders was tailored along the unpopular narrative of the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, where he, during a recent media briefing in Abuja alluded among other things that Benue people were responsible for killings in the state.
“As deceptive as the intentions of Zam and Tsav are, they know that the conciliatory measures adopted by previous administrations to stave off the killing of Iharev and other Benue citizens in the past failed.
“They (the measures) neccesitated the promulgation of the anti open grazing law which provides ranching as the only option for animal husbandry in the state as that will stop cattle from grazing into farms and destroying crops.”
He explained further that, “the law prohibiting open grazing has recorded much success as it has controlled indescriminate grazing of cattle in the state while some, out of the over 400 herdsmen who violated the law have been convicted while the cases of others are still pending in court.
Mzondu expressed surprise that the two Iharev elites who should be in the vanguard of ensuring the enforcement of the law to prevent the killing of their kit and kin are playing politics and dancing on the graves of their people by insinuating that Governor Ortom’s poor management of the conflagrations reveals a deliberate politicization and purposeful prolongation of the crises by him for his electoral gains.
“It is also a thing of deep worry that the Tiv race which is known for fighting on the side of their own now stand by their enemies and embolden them to kill and enslave them as demonstrated in the maligning and negative profiling of Governor Ortom who have vowed to stop anything that would lead to the killing and take over of the ancestral land of the people of the state.
“If one may ask, is Zam and Tsav aware that the issue of banning open grazing of cattle is no longer perculiar to Benue State. Did the Governors of those states and the legislators in their Houses of Assembly also promulgate the law for political reasons as they alluded of Governor Ortom whom they said did it to win election?
“Tsav and Zam from their narrative appear to be agents of Miyetti Allah, the Fulani sociocultural organization and armed Fulani herdsmen who have been killing and terrorizing the people of the state. Iharev and the entire Tiv race will not forgive them for the role they are currently playing to pacify the armed Fulani herdsmen and their pay masters for political reasons,” the statement read in part.