Benue Govt, Cattle Breeders Collaborate to Purge State of Alien Herders  

Governor says anti-open grazing law still in place  

A major milestone has been achieved toward addressing the violent clashes between cattle breeders and host communities in Benue State, as the Benue State chapter leadership of Myietti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), and the State’s Government has agreed to constitute a peace stakeholders committee between herders and their host communities for the enforcement of the anti-open grazing law and its total compliance amongst all herders in the State.

This is as both parties have also agreed to purge Benue State of the worrisome influx of criminal elements in the form of alien cattle herders into Benue State.

This is coming at a time when the Benue State Governor, Rev Fr (Dr) Hyacinth Iormem Alia has said the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law is still in place in Benue State.

Alia who made this known on Monday while interacting with leaders of Unions and Market Associations at Old Banquet Hall, Government House, Makurdi.

The governor expressed sadness over the activities of certain persons which has caused the huge influx of foreign herders in most local government areas in the state.

Speaking to this, Gov Alia said, “Security reports had it on good authority that there are certain people who are responsible for the influx of herders in the state”.

He, however, said his Government is working her way out and the herders will soon go back to where they came from, stressing that the Benue State Law on open grazing is still in place..

“My dear people of Benue, on a very good authority I want you to know that the Anti Open Grazing Law is still in place”.

Participants in the Benue Security meeting held on Monday February 19th in Makurdi

Meanwhile, Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Benue State chapter, Ardo Mohammed Risku, while addressing participants at the security dialogue between leadership of Myietti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and the Benue Government and other stakeholders, stressed that members of the committee to enforce the anti-open grazing law would be able to identify who is responsible anytime there is break down of the law in the State.

He however added that there must be sincerity by all stakeholders as it concerns ranching, saying that anti open grazing law must not be targeted at only fulani herdsman”.

”It is improper for the Government to insist on herders to ranch their cattle while others adamantly refuse to ranch. We know several non-fulani herders in the state with herds of cattle and allow to graze their cows openly without being arrested but anytime they seen fulani they want them arrested.

 “Let us be sincere not to bring back the past. We should be sincere about ranching why should non Fulani who have cattle not ranch their cattle but they insist the herders must ranch.

“As a leader I do not know all the location, no stranger can overtake the host. We will collaborate”, Mohammed said.

Speaking during the meeting, Special Adviser, Security and Internal Affairs Chief Joseph Har stressed that the law prohibiting open grazing is still in enforce and must be obeyed.

He said, “We have to remind the cattle breeders that the law is not against the Fulani alone but it is meant to avoid incessant clashes between farmer and herders. The need to have a peace committee between the farmers and herders for strict enforcement of the law is apt. Therefore, the fulani who lived long with their host communities must ask the invaders to leave now.

“As you go back tell your people not to react but be peaceful. We do not want to expose our people to any menace but advise them to remain calm.

“If you are doing business and someone comes to infringe on it, you will not be happy. Tell them to leave or it will be assumed that you(internal herders) invited them, we will not tolerate anyone infringing on our right.

“The Governor’s silence should not be mistaken for weakness. Government did not contract any Alh.Tershaku to speak on its behalf. Local government chairmen should restrain their people from attacking herders cattle.”

On his part, State ALGON chairman, Hon. Philip Achuah, assured that no local government will attack herders.

Achuah who is also, chairman Konshisha LGA urged council chairmen to liaise with Fulani herders leadership in their domain to ensure peace even as he appealed to them to talk to the external Fulani to vacate the state.

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