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No one can force Benue to cede land for grazing, says Ortom

No one can force Benue to cede land for grazing, says Ortom
November 18
22:55 2016

Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, says his administration will not concede any part of its land for the establishment of grazing reserve for herdsmen.  

Ortom made this known during the handing-over and inauguration of a shelter project for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Guma local government area of the state.

The 100 bungalows project was initiated by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in collaboration with the state government and Benue Non-Governmental Organisation Network (BENGONET).

Represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, Ortom said 80 percent of the people of the state were farmers, which made their situation a peculiar one.

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He disclosed that the law of the northern Nigeria that demarcated 17 places for grazing route in 1950s did not gazette any portion of land in Benue.

“The 925,000 square metres of land which made up Nigeria has not increased but the population of Nigeria has increased from that about 50 million to about 200 million today,” Ortom said.

“Even the 925,000 square metres of land decreased because Bakassi had been ceded from Nigeria; how then can you have land that you will say Benue people should give away for grazing?

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“Like any other business, when you want to do business you go and ask for the land and buy it and when the government gives you the certificate of ownership, you then build on it.

“In the same manner, since cattle breeding is a personal business of somebody, going by international best practices, any herdsman that want to come and rear cattle in Benue should come and ask for land to build a ranch.”

He expressed the government’s readiness to continue to partner UNHCR and entire UN system in Nigeria towards actualising the “Songhai project initiative” which had already been proposed by UNHCR.

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