Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State government has again stated that the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law is not targeted at witch-hunting or undermining any people or race but for the peaceful co-existence of everyone living in the state.
Special Assistant to Governor Samuel Ortom on Animal Husbandry, Alh Shehu Tambaya stated this in a chat with newsmen on Friday in reaction to some statements credited to a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Garus Gololo that the Benue State government was using the military to intimidate Fulani herdsmen in the state.
“Garus Gololo accused Benue State government of using the military to drive away and intimidate herders in Benue state and called on the Federal Government to evacuate the military in both Benue and Taraba states.
“The law is not targeting anybody and it will interest you to know that people from different tribes including Tiv, Idoma, Hausa and others who violate the law were apprehended and the records are there.”
Tambaya recalled that before the enactment of the law, the issue of farmers/herders crisis had really affected the peaceful atmosphere that the Benue people and other affected states were enjoying even as he commended the governor for coming up with the law.
“The law gave both herders and farmers a sense of belonging and that is why the state government has made provisions for those that are ready to rear cattle anywhere in the state to come forward and apply for land where they can peacefully rear their cattle and other animals.
“So, it will be unfortunate for anybody to accuse the Benue State governor of using the military and livestock guards to drive away the herdsmen from Benue state.
“It will be unfortunate for Gololo to think that he can stay in Abuja and be discussing the security challenges of Benue State. I want to call on the public to disregard this baseless accusation as it is an attempt to drag the name of Governor Samuel Ortom in the mud,” Tambaya stated.