Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has declared that rearing cattle in ranches is the only way to solve the incessant Fulani herdsmen and farmers clashes across the country.
According to him, collaboration is needed between the federal and state governments to make ranching a success in the country.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, he said the state had been able to calm the herdsmen and farmers’ clashes through dialogue.
“I have always said this,” Ortom said, “If we can copy the presidential system from America, why can’t we copy ranching? But you see, it is a gradual process and cannot be done overnight. We are propagating ranching as the final and lasting solution to these issues of herdsmen and farmers’ clashes. But it is something that cannot be done overnight.
“We need the collaboration of the states and the federation to agree on a formula, one that works for the nomads. In Nigeria, we must find a way of educating them; giving them a new orientation on how to live better by ensuring that we establish ranching. And government must come in to provide the infrastructure and support that is needed to do this.
“So this is where the federal government and states must come together to work this out. The final solution, I tell you the truth, is ranching because the lines that used to exist in the 50s where cattle routes and grazing areas were designated are no longer there.”
Governor Ortom further noted that Nigeria no longer has the 923,000 square kilometres it used to have due to the ceding of a part of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon and increase in human population.
“Today (that) we are talking of diversification of the economy to agriculture, it becomes more tasking and challenging because we cannot farm in the air or on the sea; we must farm on the land,” he said.
The governor asserted that grazing and farming, as are currently practised, cannot work, but emhasised that the two groups must find a way to live in harmony.
He said: “We must find a way of living together. That is why we are advocating that peace remains the only tool that can bring development to our country.
“Fighting will not help anyone; it will not help farmers or the herdsmen. They will die and property will be destroyed. It won’t help. As a farmer, I know the herdsmen need support. The farmers, too, need support to be able to live well.”
On APC governors’ grouse over the recently released ambassadorial list, he said: “It is the prerogative of Mr President to make appointments but where there is the need, we always give support. We have written where we have reservations and are being attended to.”
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