It has become necessary to correct 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 Benue State by armed herdsmen.
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 Hore 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.
Indeed, the Ranching Law was enacted by the Ortom 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.
Governor Samuel Ortom has urged anyone with a superior remedy for the farmers – herdsmen crisis to bring it to the table.
The law which has been described by local and international observers as the best answer for the crises, was popularly made by the people of the state who actively participated in the public hearings conducted by Benue State House of Assembly.
The Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment 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.
As Governor Ortom has repeatedly stated, 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.
We appreciate the support of Benue people, the security agencies and the livestock guards for ensuring the implementation of the law and assure that our administration which believes in the rule of law is committed to the full implementation of the ranches law.
Chief Press Secretary
April 18, 2018.