Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, has asked Mansur Dan-Ali, minister of defence, to apologise to Nigerians for demanding the suspension of anti-grazing law.
On June 5, Dan Ali called for the suspension of the law which is operational in Benue, Taraba and Ekiti states.
Speaking at an event on Tuesday to showcase the national livestock transformation plan by the office of the vice-president, Ortom said there should be caution by those in government as regards the crisis.
The governor said the statement of Dan Ali has cast the government in bad light.
“Honourable minister (Audu Ogbeh), just one thing, I’m part of this government and I appreciate what this government is doing – so since the honourable minister of defence is not a member of NEC and you are constantly in NEC and you are member of the federal executive council where other ministers will be there. What you have said is very important, there should have be a level of caution,” Ortom said.
“In a time like this, we should be sensitive to what is going on. When the young man was making his remarks, he was literally shaking and it is coming from the heart and that is how most Nigerians are. I wonder if the minister has had time to read the newspapers, he would have felt the feelings of Nigerians for him calling for the suspension of a legitimate law.
“It is not good enough, it is casting the government in bad light and the minister of the federal republic should represent the interest of Nigerians. He should not be the mouthpiece of Miyetti Allah in a conflict involving Nigerians.
“Especially when it is not your technical supervision. He should have allowed it to you the honourable minister of agric who has the responsibility of managing this to say or making such inflammatory statements because a lot of people read different meanings to it. Coming from a security council meeting and making such statements.
“Some people took it as the opinion of the security council. When he clarified it solve some problems – he needs to apologise to Nigerians.”
Ortom said the anti-grazing law was put in place out of desperation.
“We did the anti-grazing law out of desperation to find peace,” he said.
On his part, Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture, said pastoralism “is no longer viable.”
“Matching cattle around is no longer viable. We have to resolve to ranching and ranching in clusters is difficult,” the minister said.
“We about dealing with the problem as they have been presented. We want to assure Nigerians that we want to bring this crisis to an end. These wanton killings has to come to an end.”
Also speaking, Andrew Kwasari, a senior technical adviser to Ogbeh, said the federal government had secured 94 ranches in 10 states as part of measures to curb the farmers-herders crisis.
Kwasari said N70 billion would be needed to fund the grazing reserves in three years which would have 170,000 cows in the pilot phase of the project.
“Total spending over the 10 year period is slightly in excess of N179 billion. Federal-states funding is meant for the first three years in the pilot phase, totaling about N70 billion,” he said.
“Expected milk output to be in excess of 200 million litres by the second year of the project.”