Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has faulted media comment credited to the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali on citing the prohibition of open grazing law as the reason behind killings in parts of the state.
Dan-Ali reportedly told newsmen in Abuja that the implementation of anti-open grazing bill in some states was the major cause of the killings by suspected herders in the country.
The minister was also said to have referred to the nomadic pastoralists as, “These people are Nigerians, we must learn to live together with each other. Communities and other people must learn how to accept foreigners within their enclave, finish!”
But, Ortom in reaction to the defence minister said yesterday in Makurdi, that the comment from such a highly placed personality in the country was quite provoking and could be likened to a dance on the grave of those murdered unjustly by the gunmen on new year’s day.
“It is unfortunate that these kinds of people are manned with the responsibility of providing security for our state. The other day, the federal government came up to say the killings were done by Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) and the same minister was quoted as saying that we should accommodate foreigners in our state. Foreigners who came here illegally should be accommodated?
“I think people are misleading President Muhammadu Buhari. The killings predated our grazing law and killings have also been going on in others states without grazing law as we speak. I will conclude that the wrong set of people are around Buhari and that pains me. What a country?” he questioned.
The governor however assured the minister that he serves a living God who would surely in due course avenge the perceived injustice currently being done to the people of Benue just as he urged his citizens to remain law abiding.
He regretted further that Dan-Ali by his comment implied that the federal government has provided immunity for herders who kill and maim as well as for their cattle, warning that they should stop diverting attention and address the real issues of the moment as the matter has the capacity to consume the nation in the near future.