- Samuel Ortom, the Benue state governor, has called for the arrest of the leadership of Meyetti Allah group in the state
- Ortom said the leaders of the herders group made inflammatory statements against the implementation of the anti-open grazing law in the state
- He explained that since the law came into being the members of the group have embarked on legal action as well as all other forms of threats against the state government
Samuel Ortom, the Benue state governor on Sunday, October 22, restated his demand for the arrest of officials of Miyetti Allah Kautal over an alleged inciting statement capable of disrupting peace in the state.
Ortom said the latest statements credited to the leaders of the herders group in national dailies and other media platforms was an open declaration of war on the people of Benue.
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In the statement signed by Terver Akase, Ortom's chief press secretary, the governor drew the attention of security agencies to the repeated threats and inciting statements by the Miyetti Allah Kautal and therefore demanded for the arrest of its officials to prevent them from breaching the existing peace in the state.
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The statement read: “We find the latest statements credited to leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal in national dailies and other media platforms as open declaration of war on the peace loving people of Benue state and we wish to reiterate our call for their arrest.
“It is not the first time that national president of the group, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo and its national secretary, Saleh Alhassan have made inflammatory statements against the implementation of the anti-open grazing law of Benue State.
“Since the law came into being, the said officials of Miyetti Allah Kautal have embarked on legal action as well as all other forms of threats and smear campaign against Governor Samuel Ortom in a desperate bid to scuttle the implementation of the law which will commence on November 1 this year.
“The law is not against any individual or group. It is neither aimed at sending hersdmen out of Benue state.”
NAIJ.com checks reveals that the anti-open grazing law specifically permits grazing of livestock only within ranches and prohibits the movement of animals from one destination to another in the state except by rail, trucks and other vehicles as a permanent solution to the incessant clashes between farmers and herders with the attendant destruction of lives and property.
Interestingly, the law also protects livestock and ranches as it stipulates severe punishment for any person convicted for rustling cattle or any other animals kept in ranches.
“Going by the misplaced outbursts of Miyetti Allah Kautal, it is clear that the group has not bothered to read the law which has been published in national dailies or deliberately refused to understand the provisions of the law even after it was published.
“The mention of Terwase Akwaza, alias Ghana, as an ally of Governor Ortom in the recent statements is also an indication that Miyetti Allah Kautal officials are not familiar with the security situation in Benue State. If they were, they would have known that Ghana is not an ally of the governor as the man has since been declared wanted by security agencies over murder, cattle rustling and other criminal activities.
“Governor Ortom believes in the capacity of secuity agencies of this country. The group's allegation that the governor has created six detention centres is therefore not only laughable but also betrays the ignorance of its officials. We expect the group to embrace the idea of pilot ranches being considered by the Benue state government as a way of consolidating on the prevailing peace in the state.
“The governor wishes to once more draw the attention of security agencies to the repeated threats and inciting statements by Miyetti Allah Kautal and demands for the arrest of officials of the group to prevent them from breaching the existing peace in the state. The call by the group that herdsmen should converge on Benue come November clearly reveals their ulterior motive to invade Benue and inflict greater pain on innocent people.
“Security agencies need no further proof to effect the arrest than the group's public declaration of war against the people of the state,” the statement said.
NAIJ.com gathered that the anti-open grazing law initiated by the Benue state government has been hailed by both local and international peace stakeholders as the best solution to the frequent crisis between herdsmen and farmers.
On his part, Governor Ortom has often challenged those who oppose the law to put forward an alternative better than ranching but none seems forthcoming.
The government stated that the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law has come to stay, adding that no amount of intimidation or name calling can stop its implementation.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that a socio-cultural organisation raised alarm over an alleged plan by Fulani herdsmen to attack in the state.
The group led by Engineer Edward Ujege made the allegation on Monday, October 16, when it visited Governor Ortom.
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