Gov Samuel Ortom: Benue lost over N95b to farmers’, herdsmen’s clashes

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said
that the persistent clashes between farmers and
cattle herders left his state reeling with a loss
estimated at over N 95 billion in five years

the frequent clashes also left a death toll of
thousands in the state. The governor , who
commended President Muhammadu Buhari for
responding to the security situation in the state by
deploying additional security forces , noted that
since November 1 , 2017 when the state law
prohibiting open grazing of livestock came into
effect, seven herdsmen were arrested on November
28, 2017. He said six others had been arrested while
four others who violated the law are currently in
prison custody .

Ortom, who said the law on open grazing was not
targeted at any particular ethnic group but to
protect both the farmers and herdsmen , has
assured the people of the state that his
administration would continue to take proactive
measures to guarantee the security of lives and
property .

While enjoining the Muslims to pray for peace and
unity as they mark the birth of Prophet Muhammad,
the governor thanked Benue people and other
Nigerians for the support given the state
government to successfully commence
implementation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and
Ranches Establishment Law .
Meanwhile, the governor said his administration had
recovered not less than N370 million from those
indicted by Justice Kpojime’s Commission of Inquiry,
which investigated funds accruing to the state from
June 2007 to May 2015.

Ortom, who disclosed this while fielding questions
from journalists in Makurdi yesterday, said 13
persons out of those indicted are currently being
prosecuted by officials of the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) while others
are currently under investigation.
The governor said the N4 .5 billion bond recovered
from a bank , which was meant to finance some
projects , had been channelled for the specified
works as contractors were already mobilised to site.
Also, he was ready to fish out and prosecute ghost
workers to reduce the state’s current over -bloated
wage bill from its current N 7 .8 billion to M 4 .5 billion .

Ortom, who commented on the exit of former Vice
President Atiku Abubakar from the ruling All
Progressives Congress ( APC ) , said it was a
democratic setting and the former vice president
was free to move to any political party.
“ This is a free world and democracy entails
freedom for everybody. In politics , there are only
permanent interests ; there are no permanent
enemies .

“ I was in PDP , I moved to APC and now I am
governor of Benue State . Atiku has moved out of
our party and if he thinks that is the right thing to
do, so be it,” he said. 

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