The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom says President Muhammadu Buhari-led government’s insistence on carving out grazing routes and reserves for herdsmen across 25 states despite resistance by Nigerians is a final onslaught on the people and an invitation to crisis and anarchy.
Ortom asked in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Terver Akase in Makurdi, “What is the difference between the Buhari administration’s approach to insecurity and the Taliban agenda in Afghanistan?”
The President had on Thursday, August 19, approved recommendations of a committee to review “with dispatch” 368 grazing sites across 25 states in the country, “to determine the levels of encroachment.”
The Governor said it was shocking and disappointing to read this statement from the Presidency, stating that it was clear that the Presidency wanted to plunge the country into avoidable crisis.
This, according to him, is because there was no justification for Buhari to insist on establishing reserves and routes for cattle against the widely accepted ranching policy.
Ortom, 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.
“The Buhari administration does not seem to be worried about the food crisis already ravaging the country. Farmers have been chased into IDP camps by herders and children are dying of starvation in addition to being denied education, yet what is more important to the President is the wellbeing of cows.
“We expected the pitiable condition of the displaced people to be the preoccupation of the President whom they voted in 2015 and 2019. It is unfortunate that the people’s genuine show of love, trust and votes for the President are being rewarded with hate, cruelty and dictatorial policies aimed at grabbing their lands to donate to herders and cows.”
The Benue governor maintained that it was now evident that Buhari prioritizes the welfare of cattle over human beings and is bent on taking Nigeria back to the precolonial era with some snippets of a society where in the words of Thomas Hobbes, life has become ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’.
He lamented that the country has been turned to a cow republic by the Buhari administration where basic principles of equality, justice, fairness and equity which engender peace and suppress anarchy are now non-existent.
Ortom said, “President Buhari has refused to prove wrong, those who accuse him of being a Fulani President. He has instead proven that he indeed belongs to somebody. But Buhari is not the first Fulani man to be President of this country.
“Nigeria had Presidents Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar’Adua who were also of Fulani ethnicity; but were Presidents for all Nigerians and treated citizens of this country fairly and equitably.
“Our country has never been more divided on ethnic lines and sentiments as it is under President Buhari who was thought to be the most prepared to lead the country at this time. Under President Shagari and President Yar’Adua, Nigerians were not chided by a horde of presidential spokesmen and social media hirelings for simply expressing their views on government policies.”