Ranching: Ortom tackles Buhari over N5bn released to Katsina

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The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged hypocrisy in encouraging ranching in his home state of Katsina while rooting for open grazing of cattle in other states.

The Benue governor stated this on Friday while reacting to a statement by his Katsina counterpart, Governor Bello Masari that the president approved N6.25 billion to develop ranches in the North-West state.

Commissioning the Zobe Water Project in Dutsima, Katsina State on Thursday, Masari said, “Mr. President has graciously approved N6.25 billion for ranch development purposes in Katsina State, out of which N5 billion is in the account of the state government.”

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Speaking at the Makurdi Airport on Friday, Ortom said it amounted to deceit for the president to be encouraging reclaiming of grazing routes across the nation while approving funds for ranching in Katsina.

He said that the president should apologise to him and approve N100 billion for Benue to develop ranches.

“So Mr. President approved N6.5 billion for ranching in Katsina State. What kind of hypocrisy is this? Are we a serious country at all?

“If the President would say that the Attorney-General of the Federation should ensure the relocation of those who have encroached on cattle routes and grazing areas to do open grazing despite the surge in the population from less than 40 million in 1950 to the over 200 million people today;

“And the same President is encouraging ranching in Katsina State where he comes from, that is certainly laughable and very hypocritical and deceitful.

“We need an explanation because it is a shame. Since 2017 we have been for ranching and of course you recall that the Governor of Katsina State did say that it is unIslamic for anybody to talk about open grazing.

“The prohibition of open grazing is the only thing that will help this country, including the provision for ranching.

“So if the President has approved N6.5 billion for Katsina State, they should also approve N100 billion for Benue State with an apology to me.

“It is not right for the Federal Government to approve money for ranching in a state and leave others out.

“And in fact the governor of the state, in his remark, said N5 billion had already been remitted to their coffers. So I begin to wonder, where are we headed?”

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