Ortom wants FG to legalise weapons for ‘responsible civilians’, calls for end to open grazing

SAMUEL Ortom, Governor of Benue State has again called on the Federal Government to enact a law that will put an end to open grazing that has always lead to violent clashes between roaming armed herders and farming communities.

He said the government should instead embrace ranching as it is the global best practice of animal husbandry.

The Benue Governor said this during a paper presentation, titled “Insecurity and Governance Challenges in the New Normal” at the virtual meeting convened by Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL), in collaboration with Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

He also called on the government to grant licences to responsible citizens to carry sophisticated weapons such as AK47 to deter criminals from attacking innocent and helpless Nigerians.

Ortom said the policy should be backed by a strict legal framework to prevent illegal possession of arms by the citizenry without exception.

According to him, governments at all levels must come to terms with the fact that insecurity is a real threat to the development of the country and be willing to sincerely tackle the menace.

In Nigeria, over the years, there has been a struggle for grazing land and scarce resources that has resulted in perennial and growing violent conflicts in terms of frequency, intensity and geographic scope.

North-central states of Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa and other states, according to the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) in a report on “Conflict Trend”, have experienced conflicts that led to thousands of deaths and displacements as a result of clashes between pastoralists (herders) and local farmers in several communities.

Amnesty International in a report in January 2018 disclosed that 168 people were killed as a result of herdsmen-farmer clashes in Nigeria.

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