Benue will not reverse anti-open grazing bill-Ortom
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Friday said that he would never amend the anti-open grazing law.
Ortom was reacting to the threat by the Miyetti Ala leadership asking for the modification of the law prohibiting open grazing in the state or continue to face more trouble from the herdsmen.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Ortom said that the law was the initiative of the people of the state, stating that ranching was the best practice globally as a panacea to frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
He said, “We will not modify the anti-open grazing law as demanded by Miyetti Allah as the condition for peace to reign.
”The law was popularly made by Benue people and it has come to stay.”
Neptune Prime reports that Benue state endorsed the anti-open grazing law last year after participants at the public hearings on the open grazing bill rejected it.
The three public hearings, organised by the Benue House of Assembly, were held simultaneously in the three senatorial districts, to gauge the feeling of the people on the bill.
The participants also endorsed the provision that open grazing be replaced with ranches, but declared that such ranches should be established by individuals, and not by the state government as proposed in the executive bill.
Meanwhile, many residents of Makurdi in mourning gathered on Thursday at the IBB Square as bodies of the victims of the attacks of January 1 and 2, 2018, in parts of Benue State were given a mass burial, The Punch reported.
Offices, commercial banks, markets, and schools were closed in the state capital as the government had, a day earlier, declared Thursday, a work-free day in honour of the 73 victims.
Also, Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum, Wantaregh Unongo, said the people of Benue would train their own army in the state to defend them if the Federal Government failed in his responsibility to protect lives and property of Benue citizens,
He said, “I am telling Nigerians that my people cannot continue to be cannon fodder for this country. If the government can’t protect us, we will mobilise and train our people into an army to defend us. We are 100 percent in support of what Governor Samuel Ortom has done. I am the spiritual and ancestral leader of the Tiv nation; enough is enough.”
Unongo stressed that the entire people of the state were watching President Buhari and had joined in the persistence calls by Ortom that the Federal Government should take drastic steps to urgently address the killings and also arrest the leader of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.
“If the Federal Government cannot stop or arrest those behind the killings; in two weeks, we shall raise an army of our own. We cannot allow people to colonise us again, we have all it takes to do that,” he said.