Rose Ejembi Makurdi
Benue State government has said that it will not repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law to pave way for Fulani herdsmen to take over the people’s ancestral lands for cattle grazing. A statement signed by Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, added that the law has not only come to stay; it is fully being enforced. While noting that the ranching law has been well accepted by the people of the state, Akase posited that no intimidation or arm-twisting tactics from Miyetti Allah and their conspirators could change it.
“Miyetti Allah and their conspirators are hereby told for the umpteenth time, that Benue State will not repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law to pave way for Fulani herdsmen to take over the people’s ancestral lands for cattle grazing,” he said.
Ortom’s spokesman also raise the alarm over an alleged plan being orchestrated by Miyetti Allah groups in collaboration with some opposition elements in the state to sponsor protests and a sustained media campaign against Ortom.
According to him, “the conspirators have already contacted editors of some notable media organizations in Abuja and Lagos whose role is to ensure that articles, reports and all manner of media contents are churned out ceaselessly against the Ortom administration.
“Our findings reveal that the Miyetti Allah groups are riled by the governor’s dogged stand against open grazing of animals in the state, his call for the declaration of armed herdsmen as terrorists and his administration’s opposition to Fulani vigilante. He said further that the pastorialists who are working in cahoots with some members of the opposition in the state have already initiated the anti-Ortom campaign, which is to be sustained between now and the end of 2022.
“The planned media publications are targeted at painting the present administration in the state as failure, a lie that is to be forced on Benue people in the next two and a half years. The coordinated smear campaign has already begun as seen in a section of the media.
“On the other hand, the sponsored protests by some youth groups are intended to create chaos, tension and fear among the populace and possibly trigger violent clashes capable of leading to loss of lives. It is obvious that the herdsmen are not tired of bloodletting in Benue State.”