Benue Govt Orders Security Agencies On Full Implementation Of Open Grazing Law

By Miriam Humbe

The Benue State government has ordered security agencies in the State to commence the full implementation of the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law (2017).

Sir Tersoo Kula, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Benue State, Fr. Hyacinth Alia, revealed this in a statement signed on Wednesday.

The order is coming after the State Security Council a few weeks ago, gave herders a 14 days ultimatum to return their cattle to wherever they came from, if they were not willing to practice ranching.

Addressing newsmen during a press briefing at the old Banquet hall, Benue State Government House Makurdi, on Wednesday, the Deputy Governor, Barr. Sam Ode, said the state Security Council held a meeting some weeks ago, where issues bordering on the influx of herders in the State were discussed.

Ode said an ultimatum was given to the herders to return back if they were not willing to respect the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law (2017), in the State.

According to the Deputy Governor, a committee headed by Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia, was constituted to make recommendations on how the issue would be addressed.

Ode said that the committee had equally submitted its report to the government on the way forward.

He said since the 14 days ultimatum had elapsed and the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law (2017) was still fully in place in the state, it therefore, became necessary for the law to fully take its course with the full implementation of the law, through the help of the security agencies.

He charged the security agencies to swing into action and ensure the State was safe for all.

The State Attorney General and Commisioner for Justice and Public Order, Fidelis Mnyim Esq, corroborated what the Deputy Governor.

Mnyim said that the law was not against herders but open grazing, as the State government only welcomed ranching.

He said since the implementation of the law had fully commenced after the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum, any offender caught would be appropriately sanctioned by the provisions of the law.

Responding on behalf of the security agencies, the Commander of Operation Whirlstroke, Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia, said the 14 days ultimatum was a non-kinetic approach by the Benue State Security Council to resolve the conflict, and at its expiration, the security agencies would step in and implement the kinetic approach which involved the use of force.

He assured the people of the State of the readiness of Operation Whirlstroke and other security agencies to ensure the full implementation of the anti-open grazing law in the state.

He said already, a clearance operation was carried out by his team in Kwande Local government area of the state, restoring normalcy back in the area.

On the recent killings in Ukum local government area, Major General Igbinomwanhia, said it was a fight between two rival groups which they intervened.

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