From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said that all legal processes and logistics arrangements had been concluded for the implementation and enforcement of the anti-open grazing law from November 1.
Speaking, on Tuesday, on a special edition of the Radio Benue audience participatory programme, ‘Issues of the Moment,” Governor Ortom explained that the law did not seek to witch-hunt herdsmen as being misconstrued in some quarters, but to regulate their activities, open up job opportunities for the youth through localization of industries to leverage on ranches that would be established as well as encourage dry season farming.
He said the law was part of the commitment of his administration to its primary responsibility to secure lives and property, promote peaceful co-existence of diverse groups and create conducive environment for foreign investment to thrive in the state.
The Governor said his administration was working with relevant stakeholders including Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) whose National leadership visited the state and appreciated the provisions of the law and attested to its friendly nature as a panacea for incessant farmers-herdsmen clashes in the state.
Governor Ortom stated further that the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore group, which had been threatening to mobilise the Fulani against the law, was a splinter group of MACBAN, calling them politicians out to destabilise the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said in view of the law, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had approved the establishment of pilot ranches in the state, while the state government was to make land available for ranches on lease basis in the three senatorial districts in the state during the implementation.
The governor also noted that Benue State, with a projected population of about eight million people, has no land for open grazing and that if appropriate measures were not taken on time, efforts for dry season farming and diversification through agriculture would be a mirage.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology and chairman State Economic Team, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar, said the law was a clear indication that Governor Ortom was providing good governance for the economy to grow, assuring the people that it would stabilise and increase economic activities.
He, therefore, called on the people to rise in support of the government for the successful implementation of the law.