From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has constituted a committee to sensitise herdsmen and farmers on the implementation of the Anti-Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment law as deadline for its implementation draws near.
The Governor announced the constitution of the committee at the New Banquet Hall of the Benue People’s House Makurdi, during a meeting with traditional rulers, security council as well as herdsmen and council chairmen across the state.
He said the sensitisation of the stakeholders on the components of the law was necessary to create better understanding and to ensure its peaceful and effective implementation.
The committee, which comprises the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on herdsmen and farmers, representatives of herdsmen as well as relevant security agencies is to be mobilised to carry out sensitisation on the importance of the law. The deadline for the implementation begins in November, this year.
According to the Governor, the mandate of the committee, apart from sensitization, include identification of alien herdsmen and cattle rustlers, stressing that cattle rustling was a serious crime which is punishable in accordance with the present law.
He stated that his administration would provide security and logistic support for the implementation of ranching, pointing out that herdsmen and livestock farmers in general would greatly benefit from the law when it is implemented.
Governor Ortom advised against reprisal attacks from either farmers or herdsmen, adding that any grievances should be reported to appropriate authorities for necessary action.
He stated that all states of the federation were directed by the President to identity lands for farming as a deliberate way of diversifying the nation’s economy especially now that revenues from oil were no longer forthcoming.
The Tor Tiv, and Chairman, Benue State Council of Chiefs, Prof. James Ayatse, represented by Tor Kwande, Chief Ambrose Iyortyer, commended Governor Ortom for promulgating the law, saying it was for the collective good of all.
National Cordinator of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Benue State chapter, Alhaji Gololo Galus, who expressed appreciation for the law, denied involvement of the body in a law suit against the state government in its respect, accusing Kauta Haure, another organization of herdsmen, of being responsible for the litigation.
He described that organisation as an opposition body which had set out to promote the agenda of the People Democratic Party (PDP).