- Governor Ortom has insisted the ranching law is not responsible for the recent spate of violence, killings in Benue state
- He said even before he made the law, there had been several attacks which had claimed lives
- The Benue state government will not be distracted by the views of those who are against implementation of the law, the governor added
Governor Samuel Ortom has insisted that the recent killings in Benue state were not as a result of the ranching law signed last year.
According to the governor, the crisis claimed nearly 2,000 lives before the making of the law last year, adding that the attacks have continued across the country where there is no grazing law in place.
The governor who made his stance known via a statement sent to NAIJ.com by his spokesman, Terver Akase, noted that there are wrong impressions being created in some quarters that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law is the cause of the recent spate of violence, killings and occupation of some communities in the state by armed herdsmen.
Part of the statement read: “Those who claim that the law is the reason for the killings need to be reminded that more than 50 attacks on communities across 14 local government areas Benue state date back to 2011 and had claimed nearly 2,000 lives before the making of the law last year.
“It can also be recalled that former Governor Gabriel Suswam's convoy came under attack when he was on an inspection tour of some of the ravaged communities in Guma local government area during his tenure.
“Besides, incessant attacks continue to take place in several states in the six geopolitical zones across the country where there is no grazing law in place.
“Miyetti Allah Kautal H*re declared during a press conference held on Tuesday 30th May, 2017 in Abuja, that the crises in the state was a struggle for natural resources of the Benue Valley and that it would mobilize Fulani kith and kin across the world to invade and chase out the indigenous inhabitants. That is what is currently taking place.”
The governor said the Ranching Law was enacted by his administration as a permanent solution to the frequent crises caused by open grazing of livestock in accordance with globally recognised modern methods of animal husbandry.
He urged anyone with a superior remedy for the farmers-herdsmen crisis to bring it to the table, adding that the law has been a tremendous success since its implementation began on November 1, 2017.
“Many persons who have violated the law have been arrested, detained and tried, with some who were found guilty already convicted. Those insinuating that the law has failed to achieve its purpose need to remember that the existence of a law does not imply that there won't be offences.
“It is in recognition of the fact that bad elements in the society will always perpetrate unlawful acts that a law is made with provisions for punishment.
“The Benue state government will not be distracted by the views of those who are against implementation of the law. The Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law has come to stay,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, troops of 72 Special Forces Battalion on Monday, April 16, on Operation MESA at Yogbo in Guma local government area of Benue state encountered about 20 militia herdsmen at Teguma village while on patrol.
According to a statement sent to NAIJ.com by the director army public relations, Brigadier-General Texas Chukwu, four of the militia herdsmen were neutralized during the encounter while others fled following superior gun power.
“Items recovered include four AK 47 rifles, five 7.62mm rounds of ammunition and 28 rounds of 7.62 police special ammunition. The Nigerian Army wishes to restate its commitment and determination to rid the country of criminals and enemies of state,” the statement read.
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