Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said armed bandits are currently operating in at least 24 out of 36 states of the federation and the FCT.
This is as a former Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, accused Governor Ortom and other leaders of masterminding the ethnic tension in the country.
The duo spoke on Thursday at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Correspondence Chapel, Abuja, where Ortom was the guest speaker, while Ndume served as Chairman.
Ortom, who addressed the forum through webinar, warned that if not checked immediately, there may be a food crisis in the country.
“At least, 24 out of 36 States of Nigeria now have serious farmers and herdsmen crisis involving killings. Without ranching laws, herdsmen may soon be at every doorstep and that this will compromise farming and food security across the country.
“Herdsmen attacks on farmers will only end when open grazing is completely eliminated. Many countries in the world including those in Africa have embraced ranching,” Ortom said.
Speaking on the growing kidnapping, he said, “The rise in kidnappings of all categories of people across the country is a dangerous trend. We don’t know who is telling the truth. But as it stands, there is a strong allegation that desperate politicians brought into the country foreign mercenaries to help them win elections.”
Ndume, on his part, accused Governor Ortom and other leaders of masterminding the ethnic tension in the country.
He said the political class, especially the President and governors, seldom fight openly, but pitch the people against themselves.
“About 11 soldiers were killed in Benue and as I speak, not one person has been arrested. Instead, Ortom is telling us that the perpetrator will be brought to justice. Let me tell the governor and other elected leaders that they will account for those killed in their states.”