Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Tuesday, faulted the Federal Government’s plan to review the Land Use Act, saying it was a plot to grab land for grazing routes.
The governor, who stated this in a statement in Makurdi by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said the planned review of the Land Use Act of 1978, would give ownership of land to the Federal Government and push for the takeover of waterways and river banks by the central government.
Akase stated, “The governor stated that the attempt to review the Land Use Act by the Presidency would not be acceptable by Benue State as it was another attempt to grab land from the people for open grazing, pointing out that continued insistence on open grazing and cattle routes connoted a hiding agenda.”
He noted that as herders attacked and sometimes killed livestock guards and security agents in the course of discharging their responsibilities, adding that force had to be applied to impound the cattle.
The governor said that if herdsmen had obeyed the ranching law of the state, nothing of such would have happened.
The governor, according to the statement made the declaration when he received the Assistant Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, in charge of Zone H, Harilu Usman and acknowledged the support of agro rangers for peace and security in the state.
Meanwhile, Ortom on Tuesday said that the insistence of the President on open grazing would soon trigger anarchy and lawlessness in the country.
The governor, who spoke to journalists during the inspection of some projects in Makurdi, reiterated the stand of Benue people on the anti-open grazing law in the state.
He noted that the people would resist any move to impose open grazing in the state.
Ortom stated, “Those advising the President are doing him no good because the President’s insistence on open grazing will only bring chaos, anarchy and lawlessness.
“Because for some of us, particularly in Benue State, there is no room for open grazing, so also the Land Use Act is a constitutional matter.”
The governor said the northern and southern governors as well as National Economic Council had at one time or the other condemned it.
Speaking on upgrading of facilities in primary schools in the state, the governor condemned what he described as shoddy job done in some schools.
Ortom who saw some pupils sitting on the floor to receive lesson at UBEC primary school located within the premises of Arabic Primary and Secondary Schools, few metres away from Government House, expressed his displeasure over the development.
He said that the State Universal Basic Education Board should take immediate step to provide desks and chairs for schools in Makurdi metropolis.
Ortom said, “I have said it and I am repeating it that I don’t want to see any of our children sitting on the floor to receive lesson
“We have directed that SUBEB should take action immediately that all desks and chairs be provided for primary schools in the state capital first and later they will reach out to other local governments.
The governor said that the state was trying to procure loan of N1.6b counterpart fund to be able to access N3.2b for primary schools projects.
“Out of that, we are going to provide desks and chairs again to upgrade our primary schools,” the governor said.