Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has warned traditional rulers in the state against allowing herdsmen graze freely in their domains, saying those who allow that are only creating problems for themselves and their children.
Governor Ortom stated this at a two-day seminar organised for traditional rulers by the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
He urged them to be security conscious and not allow what is going on in other parts of the country happen in the state.
While noting that even states like Sokoto which used to be very peaceful and is now having its fair share of the Fulani herdsmen incursions, the governor stressed the need for everyone to be vigilant and report any trespass on Benue land.
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The governor stated that the anti-open grazing law was still in force in the state adding that anyone caught flouting the law would be prosecuted in addition to paying fines for any impounded live stocks.
He said the law is not targeted at any ethnic group or race positing that some of those who have been arrested and are being prosecuted for violating the law are even Benue indigenes.
“We must be vigilant and report trespassers of the law and those who are grazing freely on our land. We have arrested several of them some of whom are indigenes and some are not.
“Whoever is found grazing on our land would be prosecuted in addition to making him pay fines for his impounded live stocks For us, ranching remains the only option to peace in the country.”
He urged the traditional rulers not to allow any politician use their subjects or their children as thugs in the build up to the 2019 general elections.
“As we march towards 2019, let us pray and encourage our youths not to allow politicians use them. If I lose out in a free and fair election, I will leave because for me, it’s not a do or die affair.
He enjoined those who are afraid that some people would use federal might to win the election not to be afraid saying there is no federal might anywhere.
The governor who advised thee people of the state to be prayerful and vigilant assured that he would work hard to supervise the elections by going round all the zones during the elections.
“Tell your subjects and children that those who are recruiting them for thuggery should first recruit their children to be commanders of the thuggery group. There is no federal might coming to do anything in Benue but it is state might that will supervise elections here, so, don’t be afraid.”
Earlier in a welcome address, Special Adviser, Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Jerome Torshimbe called on all participants to pay close attention to the various presentations that would be made and also make their inputs so that at the end of the orientation they will all come out fully equipped for their duties