From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Immediate past Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Terver Akase has hailed the Governor for assenting to the amended open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law.
Akase who stated this in a chat with newsmen at the weekend commended the Governor and the state House of Assembly for amending the law which now provides stiffer punishments for offenders.
The former CPS who is aspiring to govern the state come 2023 on the platform to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) also described the amended law as the law of peace adding that if given the opportunity to become governor, he would uphold the law and other laws of the state that seek to provide security and development for Benue people.
“The law is a law of peace, it’s a law of security of lives and property, and since the law was enacted and he signed, the law has brought relative peace. We have not had it as bad as we used to have.
“So, for this administration to consider amending the law in collaboration with the state House of Assembly to add sanctions and make it stiffer is worth commending.
While maintaining that the law doesn’t discriminate against any tribe, the guber hopeful said it’s a win win for both herders and farmers.
“I am here primarily to give my support to Benue people and the government of Samuel Ortom. And we who are aspiring have seen what he is doing and we need to give support and to tell Benue people that we are in agreement with what this government is doing as far as security is concerned.
“And if given the opportunity, I will continue from there. I will uphold the law and other laws of the state that seek to provide security, that seek to provide development for Benue people. That is why I’m here to lend my voice to this major step in the right direction by the government Samuel Ortom to ensure that farmers and cattle owners live in peace.
“If you rustle animals, you will be apprehended and taken to a competent court. The same way, if you allow your animals to graze openly, your animals will be impounded and you will be arrested and tried by a competent court.
“So, this is a good development for Benue State and I expect Benue people to support this government. And anyone who is aspiring to lead the state in 2023 should see this move as a matter of importance and as a matter of necessity for all of us.
Government is not for APC, PDP or APGA, it is a government of Benue State, it is a government of the people. The people elected it and so, any decision that is made by the government is for all of us.
“I have not seen the various sections that have been amended. But I will take a look at the law and I’ll be s along more about it in specifics subsequently.
On the whole, I think this is a wonderful move because over time, many people felt that the sanctions were not stringent enough.
“Now that the government has increased the sanctions, I expect herders and cattle rustlers to obey and respect the provisions of this law and not just the open grazing law, but also other laws of the land like the law on kidnapping, the law against domestic violence and the rest of them. This is why Government is in place and this is why laws are made for people to obey,” Akase stated.