Benue tribal leaders, including those of Mdzough U Tiv, MUT; Ochetoha K’Idoma, OKI, and Omi Ny’ Igede, ONI, have rejected moves by Federal Government to re-open old cattle routes across the country.
The leaders were reacting to a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari when he recently hosted stakeholders of All Progressives Congress, APC, from Benue State, where he declared that government was “working hard to open old cattle routes” for free cattle grazing in the country.
Jointly addressing the media in Makurdi yesterday, President General, MUT, Chief Edward Ujege, his OKI counterpart, Adoya Amali and ONI leader, Ben Okpa, noted that re-introduction of cattle routes in the country was no longer feasible.
They noted that the plan was a complete contradiction of the government’s economic diversification policy through agricultural production. According to the leaders, “if the Federal Government is sincere about the claimed diversification of the economy through agriculture and plans to encourage commercial farming, how will this succeed when the same government is planning to open up old grazing routes, some of which are now being occupied as a result of development in the society?
“Why is it so difficult to accept the fact that Nigeria needs to adopt modern method of animal husban-dry which is ranching as being championed by Benue State? “Blaming the present security situation in the state on Governor Samuel Ortom is reminiscent of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.”