Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has hit out on President Muhammadu Buhari for choosing to focus on policies that are unpopular with the Nigerian people.
Ortom made this known in Makurdi, the State capital through a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase.
He was reacting to the President’s recent directives to a set committee charged with carving out grazing routes and reserves for herdsmen across 25 states.
According to Buhari, the committee is to review ‘with dispatch’ 368 grazing sites across 25 states in the country, ‘to determine the levels of encroachment.’
Ortom said Buhari is more concerned about turning Nigeria into a cow republic than in focusing on real issues like food crisis and the worsening insecurity.
He added that the Benue people will rather die than to move over and allow the President and cows have their way.
The Governor in the statement said “millions of Nigerians have been displaced following attacks by armed herders and are currently suffering in IDP camps. Benue State for instance has over 1.5 million displaced people with thousands living in camps and many more forced to flee their ancestral lands to stay under dehumanizing conditions in open fields.
“In a country where insecurity has reached an all-time high with hundreds being killed by armed herdsmen, bandits, and other terrorists, the Presidency is only bordered about animals and their safety and is deploying all machinery and arsenals of government to impose grazing reserves and cattle routes on Nigerians. This is unacceptable!”
“The Buhari administration has turned a blind eye to the unimaginable levels of encroachment on lands belonging to Nigerians by cattle. Mr President has never come out even once to condemn activities of herdsmen and the attacks they visit on innocent people. The only time the President is heard speaking about atrocities of the herders is when he defends them.”
“It is now clear that the Presidency wants to plunge the country into avoidable crisis. Otherwise, what is the justification for President Buhari’s insistence that grazing reserves be established across the country when Nigerians have openly kicked against the policy and have embraced ranching in place of open grazing?”