Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has described the setting up of a presidential committee on farmers-herders crisis as step in the right direction.
Ortom gave the commendation yesterday when he received members of the committee at Benue Peoples House, Makurdi.
The governor said the committee, led by General Musa Ibrahim of the Nigerian Army Defence Headquarters, Abuja is a better initiative than the earlier unguarded comment by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali.
According to him, Dan-Ali’s earlier utterances on the Benue crisis injured the sensibilities of people of the state.
Ortom, who expressed appreciation to the military’s “Operation Whirl Stroke,” said it has relatively restored normalcy, making it possible for some internally displaced persons to return to their ancestral homes.
He told the committee that the ranching law is sacrosanct to Benue.
He stressed that it was not in any way targeted at anyone, or ethnic group, but a way of improving the welfare of nomads who may not necessarily be of Fulani ethnic nationality.
The governor pledged his administration’s commitment to its ranching law, and expressed hope that the committee would do justice to its findings.
Chairman of the committee said they were in Benue on the directive of the Minister of Defence to reassess the situation and report back.
Ibrahim expressed the committee’s readiness to interact with farmers in the state with the view to taking a positive decision.
Meanwhile, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has lauded Ortom for hosting and taking care of Cameroonian refugees in Benue State.
UNHCR West Africa Regional Representative, Mrs. Louis Ahua, disclosed the agency’s position when she led a team to pay a courtesy call on the governor in Makurdi. Its representative in Nigeria, Mr. Antonio Kanhandula accompanied her.
According to her, Ortom’s support has augmented the agency’s humanitarian work for refugees, many of who were being camped in Kwande Local Council Area of the state.
Ortom thanked the UNHCR for donating vehicles to his government for the same purpose.
He explained that some challenges the refugees were having with the immediate community was being addressed by the paramount ruler, the Tor Tiv, and promised to intervene if necessary.
The governor said his administration has banned political activities in the IDP camps to avoid complications.