- More than 400 people from various ethnic nationalities have been arrested for violating the law on open grazing in Benue state
- According to the state governor, Ortom, the law on open grazing is not targeted at any group
- Ortom added that all stakeholders in the state are working together to address the insecurity situation in Benue
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue on Monday, May 13, said the open grazing law in the state is being implemented as no fewer than 400 persons from various ethnic nationalities have been arrested for violating the law.
Ortom, who spoke with State House correspondents after a private meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said he was there to brief the president on the security situation in his state.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that he said the law on open grazing was still operational and was not targeted at any group.
He said: “The place is relatively peaceful; the law is being implemented and we have arrested 400 people irrespective of their ethnic background, whether Fulani, Igbos, Yoruba, Tiv, Idoma. We have convicted 50 people for contravening various offenses and we have seized more than 2,000 cattle.
“But we ensured, no one has molested any cattle, nor killed any cattle but once your cattle is seized for open grazing by the livestock guard, within seven years when your cattle is quarantined, if you don’t come to pay fines and redeem your cattle, we auction them.
"So far, for cattle that we have arrested, people have come to redeem and so we have not had any cause to auction any cattle; the law is still in force in Benue State and we are implementing it.
“Everyone is free to establish ranch, we are not targeting any individual or group; anyone who wants to do cattle business should come to Benue and ranch, that we have land for it but for open grazing we have no land.”
On the situation on Katsina Ala road, Ortom said all the stakeholders in the state were willing to cooperate to address insecurity situation but for one notorious criminal “Gana,” who was trained by Boko Haram and had continued to terrorise the state.
According to him, Gana is the one instrumental to the kidnappings happening between Benue and Taraba states–all forms of criminality armed robbery, assassinations and so on.
He said: “The community too has given up because as at today, the three local governments of Katsina Ala, Logo and Buruku are not safe. No educational, farming, commercial activities are going on, the Igbos that are major traders have vacated.
“With operation Y Stroke, we are going to move against them and we believe we will be able to surmount them.’’
Recall that Legit.ng reported that Governor Ortom spoke again on the lingering farmers/herdsmen crisis in some parts of the country.
Ortom delivered the first Prof. Miriam Ikejiani-Clark memorial lecture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu state, titled the State and Management of Farmers/Herdsmen Conflict in Nigeria: Lessons from the Benue Valley.
Ortom said to address the lingering crisis, cattle rearing must be seen as a private enterprise, adding that the government must see ranching as an alternative to open grazing.
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