<<< By Terver Akase and Jimin Geoffrey >>>
The Southern Kaduna Elders Forum has thrown its weight behind the Government and people of Benue State on implementation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law as the best solution for herdsmen crisis in the state and other parts of the country.
The Forum, led by its Chairman, retired General Zamani Lekwot and President, Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, Mr. Solomon Musa, today made its position known when it paid a courtesy visit on Governor Samuel Ortom at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi.
General Lekwot expressed the support of the group to the Governor for the ranching law initiative, stressing that it was the only tool for peace between farmers and herders and for stability in the society.
He said the population of Nigeria had increased without an increase in land and the need to adopt new trends in animal husbandry was imperative.
Earlier, President, Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, Mr. Musa said they shared in the grief and pains of Governor Ortom and people of the state, noting that they were together in prayers that God would expose the evil agenda and disgrace the perpetrators of attacks on innocent Nigerians.
Responding, Governor Ortom stated that the crisis in Benue State caused by Fulani herdsmen was about occupation of the land and not for grazing purposes.
The Governor said attackers of the state had admitted responsibility of their actions through various published statements and had not hidden their agenda.
He disclosed that after the 73 victims were given mass burial on January 11, over 80 people had been killed in Logo, Guma and Okpokwu, stressing that people were being slaughtered in the state without any justification.
Governor Ortom decried continued attacks on Benue communities with attendant increment in the number of Internally Displaced Persons, saying his concern was for people to return to their homes and continue with normal activities.
He also commiserated with the people of Southern Kaduna over similar herdsmen attacks.