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Agatu crisis: Why we outlawed open grazing in Benue State — Ortom

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•Vows to ensure proper implementation
•Nobody has monopoly of violence — CAN

By Caleb Ayansina

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday, said the law outlawing open grazing was to promote economy, and protect lives and property in the state.

Gov Samuel Ortom

The Benue State House of Assembly on Thursday passed the bill for the prohibition of open grazing and rearing of livestock in the state. The bill was captioned: “Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017.”

Ortom stated this while receiving in the Government House, Makurdi, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, who were in the state with relief materials worth N7 million for the victims of the Fulani militancy.

The Governor, who vowed to ensure proper implementation of the bill, when signed into law, called on the security agencies to cooperate with the government and people of the state.

He disclosed that 12 out of the 23 local government areas of the state came under siege of the Fulani herdsmen, adding that it is impossible for farming and grazing to go along.

Ortom maintained that the state was known to be the food basket of the nation, and whoever that is into livestock should embrace ranches as it is the standard all over the world.

His words: “What you see in that bill is a decision not just of the Governor, or the speaker or members of the Benue State House of Assembly, but the decision of Benue State because the bill was subjected to public hearing and the people were unanimous.

“Benue State has 23 local government areas. But 12 have been under siege by the Fulani herdsmen. Benue state was completely under siege for two years. It is not a crime that God gave us a green land and as we are known as the food basket of the nation , we are not going to farm in the air or on the sea, or any other place,  it is on land.

“There is no way we can compete with grazing. It is impossible for grazing to go along side with farming. And for several years we have pleaded with the herdsmen to stop killing people, but they continued killing.

“Even before I became governor, the lasting solution to the constant clashes between farmers and herdsmen is ranching, that is what the bill passed at the National Assembly is saying.

“There is an increase in human activities, road networks, markets and other things, so it is unreasonable to think that grazing will continue in Nigeria.

“It is amazing that when you go to the nation’s capital, cattle were freely interfering with traffic in Abuja. I think it is high time they rare their cattle in a civilised way.”

 

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