The Benue State government insists it will not go back on a law that bans open grazing and encourages ranching, which came into effect on November 1 statewide.
It came after one of the leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Saleh Alhassan, called the law a time bomb.
Benue information and orientation commissioner Lawrence Onoja (Jnr) told a press conference in Makurdi, “This law has come to stay for good as it is meant to protect lives and property, promote economic and agricultural development and foster peaceful co-existence among every group including law abiding indigenes and non-indigenes residing in the state.”
Onoja denied insinuation by Alhassan that the law was created to score political points as he emphasised that the administration of Governor Samuel Ortom would never play politics with issues affecting the lives and livelihood of the people of the state.
The commissioner alleged that the leadership of Kautal Hore was playing out a script designed to plunge the state and by extension Nigeria into conflict, stressing the law became necessary as many children in the state had been orphaned as a result of unprovoked attacks on Benue farmers.
He said the only crime committed by the farmers who got killed was their attempt to voice out the deliberate destruction of their farms and crops by nomadic cattle breeders under the armed supervision of suspected herder.
Onoja added: “Alhassan is intentionally fanning the embers of religious disharmony among our people.
Why else would he refer to the Sharia law enacted in Zamfara State as political Sharia? His hope that the anti-open grazing law would die a natural death in his words, ‘like the political sharia in Zamfara State’ would not come to pass.
“He has failed in instigating religious disharmony in Benue State as our people are noted for religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence among the diverse ethnic groups residing in the state. Why did Mr. Saleh Alhassan not voice his opinion on the sharia law in the early 2000 when the law was first introduced in Zamfara State?”