Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has pledged to intensify dialogue to resolve the protracted crisis between Benue farmers and Fulani herdsmen.
He made the disclosure yesterday during a courtesy call on him by the leadership of Miyyetti Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria at the Banquet Hall of Benue Peoples House, in Makurdi.
He assured that although he was personally affected by the crisis he would not procure and supply arms to Benue people to retaliate the loss suffered by the farmers in the crises but rather seek lasting solution by promoting dialogue between the parties.
According to the Governor ranches remained the best way to permanently tackle the challenge but noted that they were a long term measure.
He said in the interim farmers and herders must acknowlege and respect the rights of each other and promote peaceful coexistence while seeking redress for wrongs through legal means.
Governor Ortom stated that he had identified criminals within the two groups as promoters of the conflict and had met with the Inspector General of Police for assistance to fish them out.
He said after separate meetings with the Tiv and Idoma Traditional councils he would convene a meeting with cattle breeders to further deliberate on the matter.
Governor Ortom said he had set in motion a machinery to dialogue with those who possess illegal arms in the state and given them three months to surrender their weapons or face the wrath of the law enforcement agencies.According to him, the Tiv and Fulani who he described as sincere people have been friends who had coexisted with each other pointing out that any time a Fulani man headed the nation, Tiv people benefited tremendously as reflected in the administrations of Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar’ Adua.Earlier, the representative of Miyyetti Allah, Alhaji Bala Usman called on the Governor to reconstitute a powerful committee to fashion out innovations and strategies to curb the menace which he said has been compounded by activities of criminals.
Alhaji Usman pledged the support of the Fulanis to the state government to arrive at an amicable solution to the conflict.
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