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Benue leaders declare support for Ortom’s anti-open grazing law


The three main socio-cultural organisations of the people of Benue State have declared their support for their governor, Samuel Ortom, for putting in place modalities for the implementation of the law to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock in the state.

They said that the law among other things will curtail the needless killings as a result of the recurrent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.

To this end, the people appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to use his good offices to direct federal security formations in Benue state to support and back-up the special marshals set up for the easy implementation of the law.

Spokesman for the three forums of Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi ny’Igede, Engr. Edward Ujege said at a press conference held in Abuja, that the law establishing anti-open grazing was done with the best of intentions.

He added that the law itself was “the outcome of the yearnings of the people who desire peace and want a lasting solution to the incessant herdsmen and farmers clashes which had often led to the pillage of communities, the massacre of our men, women, and children as well as the destruction of our farms, homes, raping of our women and children and excessive unrest.”

Ujege, who is the leader of the Tiv group, also raised alarm over what they described as an alleged planned attack by members of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore to frustrate the recently enacted anti-open grazing law in the state.

According to him, there were alleged plans by the leadership of Fulani herdsmen to visit mayhem and genocide on the people of the state.

He further express worry that the Fulani herdsmen in the state had rejected the offer of lands for ranching provided for them.

“What worries us most is that the members of Miyetti Allah Kautal Horehave deliberately refused and failed to apply for land or take advantage of the ranches earmarked for use.
“It was reliably gathered that the leadership of the herdsmen have held clandestine meetings in Nigeria and abroad to concretize plans to visit mayhem and genocide on the people of Benue state.
“The plot is said to be multi-directional and aimed to simultaneously invade Benue state from every angle so that there would be no escape for the defenceless people,” Ujege said.

Also speaking, Barr. Amale Adoya Amale, President-General of Idoma National Forum said the President Buhari’s attention has been drawn to the planned attacks through various channels of communication.

He appealed to the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to provide the people with necessary protection.

On his part, Chief Ode Enyi, the President-General of Omi Ny’ Igede, asked for compensation for victims of previous attacks who have suffered various degree of damages and losses, between 2013 and 2016, up to the tune of N5bn.

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