Between 2012 to 2016 alone, Benue State saw destruction of properties, farms and farm produces worth in excess N95 billion due to crisis between herdsmen and farmers, the Benue State Governor, Chief Samuel Ortom has said.
This is besides thousands of lives that have been lost to the crisis over the years. Recall there have been series of blood letting and destructions of lives and properties from crises largely caused by herders grazing on farms and cattle rustling over the years in the state.
Chief Ortom said the destructions have affected adversely the economy of the state hence the need to contain incessant herdsmen/farmers clashes through the ban on open grazing.
The governor also said schools, hospitals, bridges and other infrastructure were destroyed and several years after, no intervention even from the federal government to help the locals get their lives back.
The governor told journalists in Abuja that the Anti Open Grazing Prohibition Law signed into law May 2017 in the state was to put a permanent end to the crisis.
He said the law will come into effect November 1, 2017 and all animal breeders in the state will be required to ranch their animals or face the law.
The governor also disclosed that already law abiding individuals have approached the state for land so they could ranch their cattle and other animals.
Ortom also noted that legitimate cattle breeders associations like the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has expressed commitment to obeying the law adding that his government will provide all necessary support to anyone interested in ranching.
He further expressed commitment to provide necessary security and infrastructure support to all those willing to engage in ranching.
He described the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore body who have opposed the law and openly threatened to ensure the law doesn’t survive in the state as splinter group and called on the law enforcement agents to arrests all the leaders of the group because they’re threatening the peace of the state adding he has reported them to the President.
He said from November 1, there shall be no open grazing for all types of livestock in the state. The Law is meant to protect farmers and herdsmen. Section 19 of the Act protects lives stock from rustling while section 20 of the Act protects farmers from attacks he explained further.
The Benue state governor also noted that the law has multiplier effect as huge employment opportunities will be created through the value chains of ranching.
He also noted that cattle rearing is a business thus those willing to engage in it should also make some form of investments in their business adding that anyone that is unwilling to obey the law, he or she should change business or relocate to any other place he or she pleases.
He said the law enforcement agents are committed to enforcing the letters and spirit of the law from November 1, 2017.