Over 20,000 hectares of rice farm belonging to the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has been set ablaze by suspected herdsmen in Tse-Adorogo, Mbabeagh, Nzorov in Guma Local Government Area of the state. This would be the fourth time the Governor’s farm has been razed or attacked by herdsmen.
Confirming the incident, the governor said he had not harvested the rice farm which was incorporated under the name of Oracle Business Limited before the suspected herdsmen carried out the dastardly act.
Oracle Farms, which started when the governor was the Executive Chairman of Guma Local Government Area is into large scale rice and soyabean production.
When Governor Ortom was Minister of State in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, suspected herdsmen attacked his Oracle Farm located along Naka Road with guns and stole 30 cows. The herdsmen struck again in 2014 at his Tse-Adorogo, Mbabeagh country home and set his rice farm and house ablaze. After he became governor in 2015, the herdsmen yet again razed his rice farm twice in 2016 and 2017.
The governor, who expressed regret over the incident, reiterated his call for ranching of animals, maintaining that there was no more land for anyone to feed their cattle in the name of grazing.
“I said ranching is the international best practice for animal husbandry. But if anyone has an alternative method, let him bring it to the table,” Ortom said.
Governor Ortom urged youths in the state not to take the law into their hands but report any cattle or herdsman encroaching on farm lands in any part of the state to security agencies.