From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Benue social cultural groups consisting of Mdzough U Tiv, MUT, Ocherous K’Idoma, OKI, and Omi Ny’ Igede, ONI, have disagreed with the Federal Government over plan to reopen old cattle routes across the country, noting that it is a complete contradiction of the government’s economic diversification policy through agricultural production .
The groups were reacting to the statement made by President Muhammadu Buhari when he recently hosted stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, from Benue state, where he declared without mincing words, that the federal government was “working hard to open old cattle routes” for free cattle grazing in the country.
Addressing journalists in Makurdi yesterday, President General, Mdzough U Tiv, Chief Edward Ujege, his Ochetoha K’Idoma counterpart, Adoya Amali and the Omi Ny’ Igede leader, Ben Okpa noted that the reintroduction of cattle routes in the country was no longer feasible.
They wondered if the Federal Government is sincere about the claimed diversification of the economy through agriculture and plans to encourage commercial farming, questioning how this will succeed when the same government is planning to open up old grazing routes, some of which are now being occupied as a result of development in the society?
“Why is it so difficult to accept the fact that Nigeria needs to adopt modern method of animal husbandry which is ranching as being championed by Benue State?”
The leaders insisted that ranching remains the lasting solution to the herdsmen crisis in Benue, maintaining that it is a child of necessity after a long time research.
“Hence, we the leaders of the three (3) ethic groups in the state completely absolve Governor Samuel Ortom of being responsible for the insecurity in Benue State. The security challenges in our state dates back to the days of former Governors Akume and Suswam.
“Blaming the present situation in the state on the Governor is reminiscent of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.”