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

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.”

Defense Minister Calls For Suspension Of Anti-Open Grazing Law

We Are Closing In On Dapchi Schoolgirls, Says FG
File photo

 

The Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan-Ali, has called for the suspension of the implementation of the anti-grazing law.

The minister said that the suspension will reduce the tension in troubled states.

He disclosed this on Tuesday after a security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“There is a need for the Nigeria police and Department of State Services to prosecute all the suspects arrested in the affected states while negotiating safe routes for the herders”.

The Benue, Taraba, Rivers and Ekiti had in 2017 implemented the anti-open grazing law to stop the consistent clash between the farmers and herdsmen which has caused a lot of bloodsheds and left thousands homeless.

However, the Defense Minister further stated that the president that has launched operation last hold to flush out insurgents from their hideouts in the Lake Chad Basin.

In the same vein, The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, also gave hints that a team comprising the military, police and civil defence would be deployed to Zamfara State in two weeks to ensure maximum protection for the people.

In attendance at the meeting were the National Security Adviser, Mohammed Babagana Monguno, Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan-Ali, Director General of the NIA, Ahmed Abubakar and Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

READ ALSO: National Assembly Warns Buhari, Upholds No-Confidence Vote On IGP

Why Anti – Open Grazing Law Is Meaningless – Al Makura

The Nasarawa State governor, Umaru Al – Makura has said that the anti-open grazing law is meaningless and therefore will not be passed or enforced in the state.

The governor while speaking to some guests at the government house in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital said the law is meaningless because provision has to be made for the herdsmen and farmers before the law can be enforced.

“It is meaningless, it has no sense. Nasararwa is not going to implement the anti-grazing law because it is meaningless. It has no sense whatsoever but any state has self-determination to do what it likes,” he said.

READ ALSO: Benue Open Grazing Ban Having Havoc Effect On Cross River – Ayade

It will be recalled that the Benue State government, on Wednesday, November 1,  officially effected its ban on open grazing throughout the state. Governor Samuel Ortom on May 22, signed the anti-open grazing and anti-kidnapping, abduction, cultism, and terrorism bills into law.

Al- Makura in response to this, on Thursday said Benue State cannot be blamed for this decision but insisted that Nasarawa State will not carry out such law.

“You cannot blame Benue because they have done it but Nasarawa will not do it because it doesn’t have a meaning.

“You have to study the situation and also provide for both the farmers and the herdsmen before you embark on it. You must have a regulatory mechanism that will ensure the compliance to this. If you don’t have that and you just go ahead to make the law, it doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

The governor said there is nothing to worry about and the relationship between herdsmen and farmers in Nasarawa state is cordial.

“The time has not reached for us to make the law because we have not seen anything to worry about. The relationship between the farmers and the herdsmen is okay and the problem that are arising from such problems is things that have been there for hundreds of years and it can never stop.”

He said the migration of Fulanis is a normal situation but “when we blow that beyond proportion and make it a calamity, it is not the best.”

The governor said all situation is under control in the state and stakeholders are working in a synergy between the farmers and herdsmen to ensure that there is no problem.