The Benue State government has described as false and mischievous the report that a 56-year-Fulani herdsman, Mohammed Abdulkadire, reportedly jumped into River Benue in Logo Local Government Area of Benue State over his missing cows.
The state said it was a propaganda aimed at getting public sympathy by the herders.
The National Coordinator of Miyietti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Benue State chapter, Garus Gololo, had claimed that Abdulkadire allegedly committed suicide after he lost 200 of his cows to hunger and lack of water following the implementation of its anti-open grazing law.
Reacting however, Tever Akase, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom asked the general public to disregard the report.
He said, “We have read in today’s newspaper, the unfounded report credited to one Garus Gololo, who is a member of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Benue State, that a Fulani cattle owner in Logo Local Government Area of the state a few days ago jumped into River Benue over alleged loss of some of his cows.
“In the same report, Gololo raised alarm that Fulani cattle breeders have already lost over 600 cows in Benue State since the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law came into effect on November 1.
“This alarm, is the height of falsehood and one in a series of organised blackmail and propaganda by those who are opposed to the ranching law of Benue State.
“We have contacted the police and other security agencies but there is no confirmation that a Fulani cattle owner jumped into the river in Logo or any other part of Benue state.
“Similarly, there is no confirmation by security agencies that 600 cows owned by Fulanis are missing.
“While urging the public to disregard the report, we advise journalists covering Benue State to carry out thorough investigation into sensitive matters of security before publishing their reports. This will reduce unnecessary tension in the society.
“The Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law was enacted to end frequent invasion of Benue communities and killing of innocent people by herdsmen and the law has been accepted locally and internationally as the best route to peace and stability.
“Implementation of the law has so far proven that it is indeed the people’s legislation. We thank Benue people and other Nigerians for the support given the government of the state for the success of the law. The Samuel Ortom administration remains committed to the task of guaranteeing the security of lives and property.”