Benue: Grazing law irreversible –Ortom
Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, has said he lacks the powers to reverse or make adjustments to the state’s Anti-Open Grazing law.
Benue’s open grazing prohibition law, which was enacted in May 2017, became operational in November.
Ortom explained that the law, which was made collectively by the people of the state, is for the interest of farmers and herders alike.
The governor said this shortly after meeting with the state and zonal leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), in Makurdi, the state capital, yesterday.
Ortom, however, assured that the law would be implemented with human face.
“MACBAN has requested for more time to enable them adjust and conform to the provisions of the law but, I promised them that the law would be implemented with human face and that is being done.
“However, while the law is being implemented, discussions between MACBAN and Benue State Government would continue, with a view to fashioning out ways of ensuring peace between farmers and herdsmen in the state.” the governor assured.
He also explained that the main objective of the meeting was the arrest and confiscation of some cattle which breached the ranching law.
Ortom disclosed that the state government has agreed to release the cattle to their owners, after payment of fines; as stipulated by the law.
MACBAN North Central Chairman, Alhaji Danladi Chiroma, said his group is ready to abide by the provisions of the law and cooperate with the government to expose criminal elements responsible for the current crisis in the state.
Meanwhile, thousands of the internally displaced persons in Benue, who are currently taking refuge at the eight Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across the state, cannot return home because their villages are still prone to attacks by invading Fulani herdsmen.
Health workers have also confirmed 120 births and 15 deaths in all the IDP camps in the state since Fulani herdsmen invaded Benue in January.
These came to the fore on Monday, when Ortom commenced a tour of some of the camps in Guma Local Government Area.
Daily Sun observed that several communities along Daudu/ Gbajimba axis including Ukpiam, Umenger and Kaseyo, among others are still deserted, weeks after the Ayem Akpatuma commenced in the state .
Ortom disclosed this to newsmen after visiting the camps in Abagena, RCM Primary School, Daudu, United Nations High Commission for Refugees and Immigrant Persons (UNHCR) shelter, Daudu and the Gbajimba IDP camp.
He lamented that there are over 170,000 displaced persons in the state at the moment and that over 50 communities have been attacked across Logo, Guma, Makurdi, Agatu and Okpokwu local government areas of the state and that IDPs daily throng the camps to swell the already bloated number.