By G9ija

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has hit out at President Muhammadu Buhari for approving N6.25 billion for ranching in Katsina State and releasing N5 billion of the said fund.

Ortom said the President’s action is nothing short of deceit and hypocrisy since he has been calling for the creation of cattle routes and encouraging open grazing in other states of the federation.

He added that it is questionable for the President to approve such funds for Katsina and leave out other states.

Speaking at the Makurdi airport, Governor Ortom said the N6.25 ranching fund was revealed by his Katsina State counterpart, Bello Masari during the commissioning of the Zobe Water Project in Dutsima, Katsina State.

Masari had said: “Mr. President has graciously approved N6.25 billion for ranch development purposes in Katsina State, out of which N5 billion is in the account of the state government.”

Reacting to the revelation, Ortom said Benue State deserves N100 billion from the federal government for setting up ranches as well as an apology.

In his words, “So Mr. President approved N6.5 billion for ranching in Katsina State. What kind of hypocrisy is this? Are we a serious country at all?

“If the President would say that the Attorney-General of the Federation should ensure the relocation of those who have encroached on cattle routes and grazing areas to do open grazing despite the surge in the population from less than 40 million in 1950 to the over 200 million people today;

“And the same President is encouraging ranching in Katsina State where he comes from, that is certainly laughable and very hypocritical and deceitful.

“We need an explanation because it is a shame. Since 2017 we have been for ranching and of course you recall that the Governor of Katsina State did say that it is unIslamic for anybody to talk about open grazing.

“The prohibition of open grazing is the only thing that will help this country, including the provision for ranching.

“So if the President has approved N6.5 billion for Katsina State, they should also approve N100 billion for Benue State with an apology to me.

“It is not right for the Federal Government to approve money for ranching in a state and leave others out.

“And in fact the governor of the state, in his remark, said N5 billion had already been remitted to their coffers. So I begin to wonder, where are we headed?”

Governor Ortom added that “the level of unbearable poverty and hunger the APC-led Federal Government has unleashed on Nigerians,” is condemnable.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya has expressed sadness over the death of a former Provost Marshal of the Nigeria Army, Maj.-Gen. Hassan Ahmed.

Ahmed was assassinated on Thursday by bandits while his sister who was in the vehicle with him, was abducted by the gunmen but his driver escaped