Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has solicited the support of the United States, US, in bringing an end to the crisis between farmers and herdsmen in his state.
Ortom said the US should assist in the realization of the move for establishment of ranches across his state and the country.
He spoke while receiving the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington at the Benue Peoples House Makurdi, the state capital.
According to Ortom, assisting in the establishment of ranches was one reliable way of guaranteeing peace in his state and the country.
Ortom said, “Let me on behalf of the government and people of Benue State welcome you to the Presidential wing of the Benue Peoples. I appreciate your visit. We were glad when we learnt that you are coming to visit us because we look up to America for a lot of things. Today the Presidential system of Government that we practice, we borrowed it from America.
“I have been advocating for ranching which I know America for the rearing of cattle instead of the grazing that we have in Nigeria today. Because of the shortage of land, the issue of grazing has become a major security challenge, especially in my state. Frequently, there are clashes between farmers and herdsmen because the land is not there and my people are mostly farmers so they find the herdsmen encroaching and trespassing on farmlands and thus destroying their crops and when they are confronted, it will become a fight and we have lost so much.
“I have been calling for the establishment of ranches just like it is done in America. Most of us look forward that our Government at the Federal level and the state level will come together and find a lasting solution because this crisis is not only peculiar to Benue State. There are other states too that are affected. But to me, I see that ranching as it is done in America can solve the problem permanently because the land is not increasing but the population is increasing.
“When there were grazing routes in the fifties, the total population of Nigeria was less than forty million. Today, by the 2012 projection, we are over a hundred and seventy million and by 2017, I am sure we will be hitting two hundred million. So it is a big challenge. While we want to support the herdsmen to graze and to rear cattle, it should not be at the detriment of lives and property of our people. And so you are welcome.
“America has been supporting us in several ways. USAID has been of great assistance to my Government. Before I assumed office, they were about leaving the state but I invited them to come back for dialogue and since then, they have been of tremendous help to us.”