John Charles, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Monday said the call for the declaration of a state of emergency in Benue and one other state by the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore is tantamount to punishing those states that have performed their legitimate constitutional responsibilities of enacting laws for good governance.
Ortom said, “The call is unrealistic, untenable and unacceptable because many other states across the six geopolitical zones of the country have been affected by similar crisis, sometimes at a greater magnitude than the two states, yet the call does not include them.”
The governor, in a statement issued by his media adviser, Tahav Agerzua, restated his call for the declaration of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore as a terrorist organisation, while also asking for the arrest and prosecution of their leaders for terrorism.
The governor was reacting to the call by the National President of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, where he called for a declaration of state of emergency in Benue and Taraba states on account of crises between farmers and herdsmen.
The governor said, “Incidentally, what Benue and Taraba states have in common is the enactment and implementation of ranches laws which prohibit open grazing.
“These laws were made in accordance with the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended, to curb incessant clashes between farmers and herders that had taken a huge toll on human lives and property in the two states.”
Ortom expressed concerns over the “failure of Police” to arrest the people, warning that “attributing the enactment of the law to non payment of workers’ salaries is untenable;” as several states with salary payment challenges have not resorted to the enactment of a similar law.
The governor said already, his administrator had taken far reaching steps to regularise the payment of salaries with effect from January, 2018.