Ortom, Benue elders reject Buhari's plan for cattle colonies

The governor rejected the Federal Government's request to spare 10,000 hectares for cattle colonies.

In a meeting that took place at the Presidential Villa, the delegation led by the governor rejected the Federal Government's request to spare hectares of land for cattle colonies in a bid to put an end to the incessant clashes between roaming cattle breeders and local farming communities.

Coming on the heels of the attacks orchestrated by herdsmen that have left 73 dead in the state, Governor Ortom told State House correspondents that the delegation did not entertain the request as it has no land to spare.

The governor, who's always opposed the plan, said that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, who is proposing the idea, explained that the cattle colonies are a combination of several ranches.

He said, "Like I told you the last time I came here, I did not understand what colonies meant. Today, I was privileged to meet him (Ogbeh) and he did explain to me that a colony is many ranches out in one place, restricted in one place.

"So for us in Benue State there is no 10,000 hectares, they are looking for 5,000 hectares we have no 10 hectares to allow it for that kind of a thing to take place. So people are free.

"Other states have the land but we in Benue State we don't have and that was what led to us enacting this law."

The governor further said that President Buhari reiterated his commitment to ensuring that the perpetrators of the recent killings in the state are arrested and prosecuted.

Some of the delegation included former Benue governor, George Akume, former Senate President, David Mark, the Tor Tiv,  James Ayatse, Senator Bardabas Gemade, and former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa.

Benue attacks

In attacks allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen in Guma and Logo Local Government Area of Benue between Sunday, December 31, 2017, and Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 50 people were reportedly killed.

11 other people were killed in a fresh attack on Tombu village of Logo LGA, again by suspected Fulani herdsmen, on Saturday, January 6, 2018.

According to Governor Ortom's Chief Press Secretary, Terve Akase, the death toll for the attacks hit a total of 71 victims on Monday, January 8.

Police charge 6 to court

The Benue State Police Command arraigned six Fulani herdsmen who are suspected to be connected to the massacre of over a dozen people in Guma LGA on January 2.

The suspects were allegedly involved in the killing of 19 people in Akor village and were arraigned at a Chief Magistrate Court in Makurdi before Chief Magistrate Isaac Ajim on Friday, January 5.

Alongside the six already charged to court, the state's police command also arrested two suspects in Logo LGA on Wednesday, January 3.

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