New Year Madness: Herdsmen burn Ortom’s 250 hectares of rice farm, worth N100 million.
•Shettima calls emergency meeting to address insecurity in Borno
Herdsmen have reportedly burnt 250 hectares of rice farm belonging to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
The farm, estimated to be worth over a N100 million, was burnt at Gbajimba, in Guma Local Council of the state.
It was learned that the herders invaded the farm with a large number of cows and set the farm on fire at three different points.
Ortom’s farm manager, Kena Iordzua, while conducting newsmen round the burnt farm yesterday, said those who were working in the farm could not put off the fire because of the harmattan wind.
Kena disclosed that when security agents were quickly mobilized to go after the herdsmen, shooting sporadically in the air, the herdsmen retreated towards the Nasarawa border.
But, Principal Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties, Abrahams Kwaghngu, described the act as barbaric and a threat to food security.
Kwaghngu declared that the law prohibiting open grazing of cattle was still in force in the state, and should be obeyed by all.
He also urged the Federal Government to act fast to stop the herders’ impunity, lamenting that the herdsmen could not allow the little that had been cultivated to be harvested, after displacing the people from their ancestral homes for over a year.
Meanwhile, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has summoned an emergency security meeting to tackle growing insecurity in the state.
At the meeting, which was held at the Government House, Maiduguri, he said it was not to fault the role of soldiers and other security agents, but expressed concern at the number of lives and property that have been lost to the 10-year old Boko Haram insurgency.
He said: “The most inhuman way to go is to gather and condemn those who are putting their lives on the line and other efforts to find peace. We are here as a family and people affected by the situation in Borno State, to discuss suggestions that will hopefully contribute to ongoing efforts towards addressing the problem.”
“I never for once thought of convening an extraordinary meeting of this nature because, frankly speaking, I was avoiding a situation where sensation could be read into it.
“I feel deeply pained whenever Borno is being discussed on the basis of helpless weakness. I prefer to assume a position of strength; a position of normalcy and a character of being incurably optimistic,” he lamented.
He said his genuine concern for peace, informed the creation of the Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (MRRR).
He disclosed that the MRRR was empowered to build 30, 000 housing units, hospitals and destroyed public buildings and palaces of traditional rulers.