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Benue Govt Orders Security Agencies To Commence Full Implementation Of Open Grazing Law



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

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

Addressing newsmen at the government house in Makurdi, 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, with an ultimatum 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 Barr. Ode, a committee headed by the Commander Operation Whirl-Stroke (OPWS), Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia, was constituted to make recommendations on how the issue will be addressed, adding that the committee has equally submitted its report to the government on the way forward.

He said since the 14 days ultimatum has elapsed and the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law (2017) is still fully in place in the state, it has become 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 is safe for all.

In his remark, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Public Order, Fidelis Mnyim Esq, corroborated what the Deputy Governor said, adding that the law is not against herders but open grazing, as the state government only welcomes ranching.

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

Responding on behalf of the security agencies, the Commander of Operation Whirl-Stroke, 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 given its expiration, the security agencies will step in and implement the kinetic approach which involves the use of force.

He assured the people of the state of the readiness of OPWS 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.