Ranching: Why Ortom demanded N100bn, apology from Buhari – Benue govt

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The Benue State Government has doubled down on Governor Samuel Ortom’s N100 billion demand with an apology from President Muhammadu Buhari.

The state government explained the rationale for the demands through Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Terver Akase on Friday.

As earlier reported by The Herald, Ortom made the demand while criticising President Buhari for approving N6.25 billion, out of which N5 billion has been released, for ranching in his home state of Katsina while encouraging open grazing in other states.

Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari confirmed the payment on Thursday.

Describing Buhari’s position as the height of deceit and hypocrisy, Ortom said that the turn of events has vindicated him, hence the president should apologise to him and approve N100 billion for Benue to also create ranches.

Justifying the demand, Akase said, “There is a difference between a ranch and a grazing area. The latter is open grazing while the former restricts livestock within a fenced area.

“Benue State has always stood for ranching and rejected grazing areas, Ruga and cattle colonies. The Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state clearly supports and encourages ranching of animals.

“Governor Samuel Ortom’s latest statement on the matter is therefore no contradiction. It in fact reaffirms the position of the state in support of ranching and rejection of open grazing. Benue accepted National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP on the condition that it will only implement aspects of the Plan which agree with its law on ranching.

“Benue State has no land for grazing reserves. The state has land for ranches according to its law!

“Hundreds of our people have been killed and thousands of others displaced, yet, all that the state got was a promise FG made in 2018 to assist it to resettle the displaced people. Three years down the road, that promise has not been fulfilled.

“Do you now understand the context within which Governor Ortom made that demand of N100 billion with an apology?”

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