Benue Killings: I warned Ortom on anti-open grazing law, says Lalong; not the right time to blame anyone, Mailafia

Benue Killings: I warned Ortom on anti-open grazing law, says Lalong; not the right time to blame anyone, Mailafia

Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong said on Thursday that he warned his Benue State counterpart Samuel Ortom that he should exploit other ways to deal with the Fulani herdsmen situation before enforcing the anti-grazing law.

Lalong spoke with newsmen in Abuja, saying “I told the governor of Benue when he was doing the law, I said look, why don’t you tread softly, just be careful, take other steps before you start implementation.

“But you see states are different, his own concept and that of our own in Plateau is different. I said I will not do the law before implementation. I have not developed the ranching areas so I cannot go and say I put a law.  To stop who? If I stop the people what is the alternative.

“So I said do consultations allow the people to understand and buy into the concept,” The Nation Newspapers quoted him as saying.

He said all the tribes in the state accepted ranching as the solution to the herdsmen crisis.

“Last year, I sent a 12-member team to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, they spent almost a week there to study and the team was headed by former Vice Chancellor of University of Jos, Professor Onazi. We went round all the communities in Plateau, it took three months and Plateau people including the Fulanis accepted that we must embrace ranching.

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“Ranching as a concept is a policy and there are states realizing the importance of the policy. I cannot wake up like some people said last year that I should go and do anti-grasing Law. And I asked anti-grazing law for what? We are talking about ranching, we are talking about development of livestock business and I cannot use the word anti to start driving people who are interested. It is for those who are interested to come and get involve in it.

“Secondly, I can’t implement anti-grazing law. There are levels of implementation which will require government intervention, provision of ranchers and thirdly, when you are talking of ranching it is a component of agriculture business you will also require subsidy. Subsidy must come from federal and state governments and by the time we develop it and put every structure on ground, then we can bring laws to regulate the implementation. So I don’t want to jump one step before the other.” Lalong said.

It’s not the right time for blame-Mailafia

In a related development, a former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it isn’t the right time to blame anyone.

Dr Obadiah Mailafia spoke on Channels Television Sunrise Daily, “My heart bleeds. This time calls for compassion. We’re talking about human lives, and I believe this is the wrong time for Governor Lalong to blame Ortom or give lecture.”

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Mailafia said killings in the Middle Belt were taking on a genocidal proportion and may undermine national food security.

He urged Nigerians to come together as one to fight against external forces who had earlier predicted the disintegration of Nigeria, or any external powers sponsoring militias within the country.

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