The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, on Friday berated President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for ignoring the calls to ban open grazing and approving N6.5 billion for ranching in his home state of Katsina.
According to him, the prohibition of open grazing was the only thing that would help the country, despite the provision for ranching.
Speaking with journalists in Makurdi, the governor described the decision as hypnotical and called on the President to extend the gesture to all states of the federation.
Ortom, who had initiated the call for ranching in the country, argued that his state deserved to be given a N100 billion grant for ranching.
He said, “I also read somewhere that Mr. President approved N6.5bn for ranching in Katsina State. What kind of hypocrisy is this? Are we a serious country at all?”
The governor queried if the President could ask the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to ensure the relocation of those who had encroached on cattle routes and grazing areas, despite the upsurge in the country’s population from the 1950 figure.
Furthermore, he argued that at the time, the country’s population was under 40 million, compared to the current population of over 200 million.
“If Mr. President would say the Attorney General should ensure that we do open grazing in Nigeria, and the same President is encouraging ranching in Katsina State, where he comes from, that is certainly laughable and hypocritical.
“It is hypocrisy for the Federal Government to approve money for ranching in a state and leave others out. In fact, the governor of the state, in his remarks, said N5bn had already been remitted to their coffers. So, I begin to wonder where we are headed.
“Our agitation in Benue State since 2017 has been for ranching and the governor of Katsina State said it is un-Islamic for anybody to talk about open grazing.
“So, if the President has approved N6.5 billion for Katsina State, he should also approve N100 billion for Benue State with an apology to me because we started it,” Ortom said.
The governor called on Nigerians, particularly the media, to be in the vanguard for a better Nigeria.
“That is why I also appreciate the late Fela Anikulakpo Kuti, who is one of the songs he sang long ago, foresaw what is happening today in the country, which he titled ‘Suffering and Smiling’.
“That is exactly what we are going through in Nigeria under the APC-led Federal Government. That man spoke prophetically about what we are going through in Nigeria. Today, Nigerians are truly suffering and smiling. I feel so sad because we have failed our country but I pray God helps us,” he added.
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