- The anti-open grazing bill is still a trending topic in Benue state
- The implementation of the bill and the insistence on it may cost Governor Samuel Ortom his life
- This was made known by the convener, Northern Elders Forum, Elder Paul Unongo
- According to him, they support Governor Ortom all the way, in whatever decision he takes
The convener, Northern Elders Forum, Elder Paul Unongo, has raised an alarm saying Governor Samuel Ortom's life is in danger for insisting on the law on prohibition of open grazing and establishment of ranching in Benue state.
The elder statesman made the comment on Thursday, January 11, at the memorial service held for the victims of the recent herdsmen attack in the state.
His words: “Let me say this now, our son Ortom's life is in danger. Whatever he does we support him.
"All the actions he has taken have our backing. We are 100 per cent in support of what Governor Samuel Ortom has done. We stand by him all the way and in everything he does."
He declared his support for the anti-grazing bill, saying that the governor had consulted with the elders of the state before embarking on the process.
He stated that if the federal government continued to deny the Benue people security and protection from the attackers, they would organise measures to provide security and protection for themselves.
“You have the right to protect yourselves, help yourselves and save yourselves and your race from total annihilation,’’ Unongo told the audience who cheered him on as he spoke.
Last year, Benue endorsed a law banning open grazing by herdsmen as a way of tackling the persistent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.
The decision was reached by participants after three public hearings on the anti-grazing bill, organised by the Benue state House of Assembly, in the three senatorial districts, to gauge the feeling of the people on the bill.
The participants also endorsed the provision that open grazing be replaced with ranches, but declared that such ranches should be established by individuals, and not by the state government.
On Monday, May 22, 2017, Governor Ortom assented to the bill prohibiting open rearing of animals and grazing into law in the state.
At the event, the governor had promised that his administration would do all it can to protect the state from all kinds of intruders and criminals.
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