Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has said his state does not have land for cattle colonies. The governor said this on Monday while speaking with journalists after he and Benue leaders held a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa.
The establishment cattle colonies has been seen as an option to prevent clashes between herders and farmers.
But the governor said other states may have land for cattle colonies, Benue could not afford 5,000 or 10,000 hectares for that purpose.
“Like I told you the last time I came here, I did not understand what colonies meant. Today, I was privileged to meet Audu Ogbeh, who is a proud son of the state and he did explain to me that a colony is many ranches our in one place, restricted in one place,” Ortom said.
“So, for us in Benue state, we don’t have 10,000 hectares, they are looking for 5,000 hectares. We have no land for that kind of a thing to take place. So, people are free. Other states have the land but we in Benue state, we don’t have and that was what led to us enacting the anti-grazing law.”
He said the herdsmen were not only issuing threats but they began occupying their lands.
“And until this time I speak to you, they are still issuing out threats and it is not just anti-grazing law, it is occupation because the manner with which they come and invade the man and take over the land it is something,” Ortom said.
“I am not sure willing to join issues with anyone. We are law-abiding citizens, we are not going to let our people go out of control. We have made it known that for us in Benue state, is that there is no room for anyone taking laws into his hands. It is expected even when you are offended or someone violates the law, the best thing to do is to report. But when you take laws into your hand you are inviting anarchy and we will not accept this.”
The governor said they made a strong appeal to Buhari to ensure the arrest those people that perpetrated the killings.
He said the state government was in the process of establishing vigilante groups as a measure to curb the activities of the herdsmen.