Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Thursday disclosed that over 400 herdsmen have so far been arrested for flouting the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law enacted in the state.
The Governor, who disclosed this in a chat with reporters after playing host to the leadership of the state chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), further noted that over 100 out of the over 400 that were arrested have been prosecuted and convicted accordingly.
“We have arrested over 400 herdsmen flouting the law in the state and over 100 of them have been convicted. Some have paid fines, some have also been jailed depending on the magnitude of the offence they commit according to the law,” he said.
“Some are being investigated, some are on bail and so on. We will continue to arrest them. There is no safe place for any herdsman who comes here to do open grazing and for those criminal elements, it’s just a matter of time and we will get them.”
Earlier, the CAN Chairman in the state, Rev. Akpen Leva, said the occupation of Benue villages by Fulani herdsmen and the continued stay of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the camps is a clear indication that peace has not yet returned in the state.
Leva who led other CAN leaders on a congratulatory visit to the Governor over the Supreme Court judgement noted that Benue is not yet safe for the planned withdrawal of OPWS stressing that the IDPs would have returned to their ancestral homes if Benue was safe.
He expressed sadness over the recent killing of the CAN Chairman of Michika in Adamawa State, Reverend Lawan Andimi, by Boko Haram.
“The CAN Chairman in Michika, Adamawa State, who was abducted by Boko Haram, was reportedly beheaded. This is sad and nobody knows the next victim but we believe with relentless prayers, God with definitely intervene,” he said.