Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has insisted that the state government will not make land reservations for grazing in the state.
Ortom disclosed this during the handing-over and inauguration of Daudu Shelter Project for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Guma Local Government Area of the state.
The 100 bungalows project was initiated by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in collaboration with the state government and Benue Non-Governmental Organisation Network (BENGONET).
Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Benson Abounu, said that 80 per cent of the people of the state are farmers which makes their situation a peculiar one.
ALSO READ: I am not afraid of bailout funds probe – Governor Ortom
He disclosed that the law of the Northern Nigeria that demarcated 17 places for grazing route in 1950s did not gazette any portion of land in Benue.
He said: “In the 1950s when we had those grazing routes, we had just between 45 and 59 million people in Nigeria.
“The 925,000 square metres of land which made up Nigeria has not increased but the population of Nigeria has increased from that about 50 million to about 200 million today.
“Even the 925,000 square metres of land decreased because Bakassi had been ceded from Nigeria; how then can you have land that you will say Benue people should give away for grazing?
“Like any other business, when you want to do business you go and ask for the land and buy it and when the government gives you the Certificate of Ownership, you then build on it.
“In the same manner, since cattle breeding is a personal business of somebody, nobody has a right to force Benue state to create a grazing land.
“Going by international best practices, any herdsman that want to come and rear cattle in Benue should come and ask for land to build a ranch.”
The governor also expressed the government’s readiness to continue to partner UNHCR and entire UN system in Nigeria towards actualizing the “Songhai project initiative” which has already been proposed by UNHCR.