The Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom says it’s provocative for the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali to claim that persistent attacks and killings of people in the state and other parts of Nigeria by herdsman were as a result of the enactment of anti-open grazing laws.
He described what the minister of defence as an insult to the people of Benue, adding that the minister and others were dancing on the graves of those killed by the murderous herdsmen.
Speaking when he received the Bishop and Founder of World Harvest Ministry Leonard Kawas at the Government House in Makurdi on Friday, Ortom accused top aides of the presidency of conspiracy and backing the killings in Benue state.
He regretted that comments coming from top appointees of the President clearly showed there were self-serving people in the administration who were feeding bad advice to Buhari.
According to him, “it is unfortunate but I want to console myself that this thing is not coming from the Honourable Minister, but if it did, I will say that it is very unfortunate.
“The solution to the security challenges we have in this country is not in sight having those kind of people in power who are not able to give quality advice and to also proffer solutions to the security problems we have here.
“Take for instance, if you say it is because of the law that killings by herdsmen are going on in Benue, is there any law prohibiting open grazing in Adamawa State? Is there any law in Plateau State? Is there any law in Kaduna, Ondo, Bayelsa, Imo, Ebonyi, Delta or Edo States? In Edo state, cattle have taken over even schools.”
While slamming the federal government for trying to cause unnecessary distraction and finding covers for the action of the herdsmen, the governor said it is only in Nigeria that cows and headsmen were having immunity like president and governors.
“The federal government has provided immunity for herdsmen and their herds or how come these people are moving around freely with weapons and disobeying laws of the land without government arresting them”.
Ortom maintained that those around Buhari were out to divert attention from the killing by herdsmen by accusing him of raising 6000 militias.
“I own no militia and I have been an advocate of amnesty to criminals were we succeeded in disarming and destroying over seven hundred arms since I became governor so it’s just an attempt to divert attention,” he insisted.
The governor emphasised that ranching was the only acceptable way to stop the killings by herdsmen while stating that Benue people would never accept grazing routs or colonies.
In his reaction, Archbishop Kawas who led the International Communion of Charismatic and Evangelical Bishops and Apostles, ICCEBN, prayed against the occupation of Benue by the headsmen.
He said he was in the state to condole the governor over the killing of 73 persons even as he condemned those behind the attack.
While insisting that Benue has a constitutional right to enact the anti-open grazing law which must be obeyed by herdsmen, the cleric said, “When Zamfara State introduced sharia law, nobody from Benue state went and argued against it so I wonder why they should disobey a grazing law that will bring peace among the headers and farmers in Benue state”.