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‘Ban On Open Grazing Has Come To Stay In Benue’: Cultural Groups Back Ortom

Channels Television  
Updated July 10, 2021
A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom
A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

 

The three major socio-cultural organisations of the Tiv, Idoma and Igede ethnic groups in Benue State have backed the law banning open grazing in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the three groups at a press conference held on Saturday, the President of Mzough U-Tiv, Mr Iorbee Ihagh also expressed confidence in Governor Samuel Ortom’s insistence on ranching as an alternative to open grazing.

Governor Ortom signed the bill banning open grazing in Benue into law in 2017 amid constant, violent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.

He has since advocated for ranching as an alternative to open grazing.

However, Fulani cattle rearing groups such as the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore have voiced their dissent against the law.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also recently suggested the reopening of cattle grazing routes.

Mr Ihagh, at the Saturday press conference, said Governor Ortom has the mandate of the people to speak and uphold the law banning open grazing, hence any attack on him, means war on the people of the state.

“An attack on Governor Ortom is an attack on Benue people,” he said. “And I want to tell you, anti-open grazing has come to stay in Benue state. There is nothing nobody can do about it.

“The Miyetti Allah sits in Abuja and says anything, sadly. They are seen with AK-47; but if Agatu man takes knife just to cut grass, he is arrested. I mean, we are in the same country.

“As far as we are concerned, there are not many who would have done what Ortom has done in terms of these herdsmen. A lot of them would have been bought over. There’s no amount of money the herdsmen don’t have. How many people will risk their lives, as he has done? Not many people.”