By CEPHAS IORHEMEN, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has disclosed that findings by the “Statista Research Department” has revealed that the activities of Jihadists Fulani herdsmen in the last six years of the present administration has led to the death of at least 7, 400 Christians in the northern region in the country.
The report, according to the governor, also indicated that more than five million Nigerians were displaced during the period and their properties also destroyed due to the militancy of the Jihadists.
Statista Research Department in its January 29, 2021 Report, stated that Jihadist Fulani herdsmen activities in Nigeria from 2015 to 2020, led to the killing of over 7, 400 Christians particularly in the Northern region.
The Report further indicated that over five million people were displaced and their properties destroyed.
The governor was speaking in Makurdi, the state capital, over the weekend during the 2021 law week of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) with the theme: “Open Grazing in Nigeria: Threat to National and Food Security, National Cohesion and Sustainable Development”.
Governor Ortom, who was alluding to the ‘impact of open grazing on food security’, noted that “the negative impact of open grazing which often results in attacks on communities in different parts of the country, adversely affect the local economy as farmers are prevented from accessing their farms and local markets are also deserted for fear of imminent invasion by the killers.”
He said that the continued rise in the attacks by Fulani herdsmen in the country have also led to mass displacement of persons leading to desertion of farm lands.
“In Benue State for example, over one million people have been displaced and are currently living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities. Farmers who have attempted to go back and till their land are either killed or maimed by herdsmen. This has led to food insecurity and poverty in the country thereby affecting the attainment of goals One and Two of the Sustainable Development Goals on Zero Hunger and End Poverty.
“There is no doubt that livestock production contributes significantly to food security and poverty reduction, but not without some environmental implications like any other economic activity. In Nigeria, open grazing has been the practice of livestock production. However, in recent times, the livestock production system has led to conflicts between farmers and herders. This is due largely to population growth, infrastructural development and increased economic activities and above all, the Fulanisation agenda of Fulani nationalities worldwide to make Nigeria their own country.”
Governor Ortom said the World Bank had reported that seven million Nigerians were plunged below the poverty line due to an increase in inflation in the country in 2020.
“The World Bank statement came on the heels of President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that in the last two years, his administration lifted 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty. The World Bank had earlier projected that an additional 20 million Nigerians could be impoverished by the year 2022,” he said.
Ortom insisted that ranching still remains the only panacea to the lingering herders/farmers conflict. (New Telegraph)
By CEPHAS IORHEMEN, Makurdi