Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state says over 10,000 Nigerian boys and girls are still being held by Boko Haram and indoctrinated with militant fundamentalism.
Ortom disclosed that the captives are being indoctrinated with militant fundamentalism by the terrorist group.
Speaking on Thursday at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Correspondence Chapel, Abuja, where he was the guest speaker, Ortom warned that 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.
Faulting the worsening problem of kidnapping in the country, 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.”
The governor pointed out that over 30, 000 Nigerians have been killed and 3 million displaced by the terror group.
He said, “The terror franchise is responsible for killings, rape, public executions, bombings of public and private property, and places of worship, robbery and mass abductions. These include the abductions of the Chibok girls (2012); Damasak schoolchildren (2015) and the Dapchi girls (2018) including Leah Sharibu who is still in custody.
“Reports indicate that Boko Haram is holding more than 10,000 boys and girls and continues to indoctrinate them into militant fundamentalism.
“The group was responsible for the bombing of the UN building in Abuja and has killed more than 30,000 people and displaced more than three million people. The North-East is still unstable and there does not seem to be any prospects of defeating Boko Haram soon.
“States that have been worst hit are Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna. Boko Haram seems to be gradually coalescing with these militants in this axis for a final showdown with the Nigerian State.
“Before the advent of Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism and other violent crimes were being perpetrated in almost all parts of the country. But the influx of foreign armed herdsmen into the country has led to the escalation of these criminal activities.
“The proliferation of arms has further compounded the situation in the country. In Benue State, we have enacted laws to prohibit kidnapping, cultism, terrorism and other violent crimes with very stiff penalties to serve as deterrent.”