By Titus Atondu, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom today constituted a committee to sensitize herdsmen and farmers on the implementation of the Anti-Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law as deadline for its commencement in November this year draws near.
He announced the constitution of the committee at the New Banquet Hall of the Benue People’s House Makurdi on Monday ,during a meeting with traditional rulers, security council as well as herdsmen and council chairmen across the state.
The Governor said the sensitization of the stakeholders on the components of the law was necessary to create better understanding and to ensure its peaceful and effective implementation.
The committee which comprises the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on herdsmen and farmers, representatives of herdsmen as well as relevant security agencies is to be mobilised to carry out sensitization on the importance of the law.
According to the Governor, the mandate of the committee, apart from sensitization, include identification of alien herdsmen and cattle rustlers, stressing that cattle rustling was a serious crime which is punishable in accordance with the present law.
He stated that his administration would provide security and logistic support for the implementation of ranching, pointing out that herdsmen and livestock farmers in general would greatly benefit from the law when it is implemented.
Governor Ortom advised against reprisal attacks from either farmers or herdsmen, adding that any grievances should be reported to appropriate authorities for necessary action.
He stated that all states of the federation were directed by the President to identity lands for farming as a deliberate way of diversifying the nation’s economy especially now that revenues from oil were no longer forthcoming.
Tor Tiv the fifth and Chairman, Benue State Council of Chiefs, Professor James Ayatse, represented by Tor Kwande, Chief Ambrose Iyortyer, commended Governor Ortom for promulgating the law, saying it was for the collective good of all.
The Benue State Cordinator of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Garius Gololo, expressed appreciation for the law, denied involvement of the body in a law suit against the state government in its respect, accusing Kautal Hore, another organization of herdsmen, of being responsible for the litigation.
” Kautal Hore is being sponsored and supported by the opposition party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as manifested in the 2015 general election where the supported the PDP 100 percent “, Gololo explained.