Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has revealed that he would not hesitate to give land to any Fulani man who intends to do livestock business by ranching.
Speaking at the 72nd birthday celebration of Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher, former Nigerian ambassador to Mexico, Ortom rejected the assertion that he is on a warpath with Fulanis.
According to him, the people of the state have historically been friendly with the Fulani.
The governor reiterated that his government would not back down on the anti-grazing law, arguing that ranching is still the best practice.
Dennis Ityavyar, the Commissioner of Education of Ortom, spoke at the event, which former students, friends, and colleagues of the celebrant put together in his honour.
The Tiv people have historically been friends with the Fulanis, and I would like to submit that this relationship still exists. Because of this, I warn those who are either using politics or who are criminals and trying to sell what’s wrong.
“His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom has explained time and time again that we, the Benue people, are not against Fulani. We remain friends.
“He has decided to be deliberate in explaining to people why anti-open grazing legislation is a very progressive idea which is done in almost all countries.
In Benue, Fulanis who want to have their own ranch will have land available to them if they decide to have a ranch. Even if our ‘Chairman’ wants to start a ranch, he can get the land today.
“We will give you land and start the ranching today, so that people will see it as a model, and wherever we go, we will correct that impression, because if you read history, you’ll see that we have always been friends with Fulani.”
Shortly after the programme, the celebrant, who is a Professor of Theatre for Development, called on all well-meaning Nigerians to speak truth to power.
Those scared of speaking truth to power are able to do so through Nollywood actors who will perform the stories and present them to leaders as parables.