Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to put a complete halt to the issue of herdsmen migration from the North to the South by tackling desert encroachment.
Ortom, who spoke at the opening of the 43rd annual conference of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN) at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi urged the SSSN to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to find solution to the imminent danger that the country faces.
Represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, Ortom said the nation was currently facing a serious security issue which could cause the disintegration of the country, expressing fear of the country’s disintegration if the issue of Fulani herdsmen was not tackled.
He further urged the Federal Government to dump the controversial proposed Ruga settlements and seek solutions to the issue of desert encroachment which he claimed was responsible for the movement of nomadic herdsmen across the country.
According to the governor, the issue of desert encroachment could be remedied as was done in Israel where a complete desert was transformed into ‘a rich agricultural hub that now feeds the rest of the world’.
He said: “If the sandy Negev desert which had no water or vegetation could be so transformed, there is no reason the same cannot be done in northern Nigeria where there is water and vegetation but where the only problem is desert encroachment.
“Let me call on the Soil Science Society of Nigeria to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to put a complete halt to the imminent danger that this country is currently facing which can cause the disintegration of this country.”
Ortom therefore charged soil scientists in the country to rise up to the challenge of meeting the growing demand for food occasioned by the negative impact of climate change and the limitations imposed by insecurity.