Dump Ruga, face desert encroachment – Gov. Ortom tells FG


Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has called on the Federal Government to dump the controversial idea of the proposed Fulani settlements.

Instead, he urged President Muhammadu Buhari to seek solutions to the issues of desert encroachment and lack of sufficient vegetation.

According to him, those issues are responsible for the movements of nomadic herdsmen in the country.

He spoke yesterday at the 43rd Annual Conference of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria at the Federal University of Agriculture, (FUAM) Makurdi, the state capital.

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Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Benson Abounu, recommended what was done in Israel, where a complete desert was transformed into a rich agricultural hub that now feeds the rest of the world.

“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 the northern part of Nigeria, where there is water and vegetation but where the only problem is desert encroachment.

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“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,” he said.

He urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to engage the services of the SSSN to study the soil in the far North bedevilled by desert encroachment with the view to finding solutions to desertification.

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Ortom charged the soil scientists to rise up to the challenge of meeting the growing demand for food occasioned by the negative impact of climate change on food and nutrition and the limitations imposed by insecurity.

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