AS the new Benue anti-open grazing law takes off next week, Governor Samuel Ortom has warned owners of cattle to either ranch them or leave the state.
Governor Ortom, who addressed journalists in Abuja ahead of the November 1 take-off of the law, warned that there will be no compromise for non-compliance with the new law by any individual or group in the state.
Governor Ortom, who recalled with regret the loss of over N95 billion due to incessant destruction arising from clashes between herders and farmers, said the state is ready to assist those who are not ready to comply with the law, to pack out of the state and continue with their trade in other places where open grazing is allowed.
The governor also said a different group of cattle breeders, known as Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, had threatened not to comply with the new law after the main Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association had endorsed the new law and accepted to work with the state to ensure its effective implementation.
He warned that as a result of the threat by the group, he had personally reported the development to President Muhammadu Buhari and asked that the leadership of the group be arrested and prosecuted for trying to torpedo the peace and security of the state. Ortom said: “I want to formally inform the world through this medium that there will be no room for open grazing anywhere in Benue State with effect from November 1.
“It is important to let you know that we have done all that is necessary to get the law into operation. We have met with Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and shown them that the law is aimed at protecting both the herders and farmers and stop cattle rustling.
“The leadership of the breeders association saw reasons with us and accepted the law as a good one for all. “We are going to support and implement the law with a human face and give the stakeholders necessary support.
Under the law we are going to provide protection for the cattle, while the by-products of farmers will be made available for their livestock.
“But I must warn against the emergence of a new splinter cattle breeder group, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, threatening us that they want to cause mayhem in Benue over the implementation of the new law.
“Their leadership should be promptly arrested and prosecuted. We followed due process in arriving at the law, which I signed it into law since May.
“This is the group of herdsmen causing destruction in the country. I’ve reported their threat to the Presidency for necessary sanctions.
We, in Benue, do not want to take laws into our hands. “We are law abiding and we challenge them to tell us what is better than what we have done to stop senseless killings in the state. “No cattle breeder can stop us from implementing our legitimate law.”