Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue on Thursday vowed to prosecute all violators of the state’s Anti-Open Grazing Law.
This was contained in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr Terver Akase and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi.
The governor warned all pastoralists wishing to come into the state to be mindful of the anti-open grazing law still in force and that all livestock owners must adopt ranching.
According to him “Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 is sacrosanct and must be obeyed by everyone, irrespective of ethnicity, religion and place of origin. The law does not accord preferences to anyone.”
He insisted that livestock owners who refused to ranch them would be prosecuted in accordance with the provisions of the law.
“It has become necessary to remind pastoralists moving into Benue State with their livestock in the last couple of weeks that there is a law in force in the state which has placed a permanent ban on open grazing of animals.
“No individual or group of persons is above the law. Whoever wants to do livestock business in Benue should remember that there is a law in place which regulates animal husbandry.
“The herdsmen who are invading the state with their cattle in gross violation of the law should expect legal consequences of their actions,” he said.
The governor further disclosed that since the enactment of the law in 2017 no livestock owner has applied for land lease to operate a ranch.
He added that there were indications that some people were bent on resisting the enforcement of the law.
“We call on Benue people to remain peaceful, law abiding and volunteer information regarding open grazing of animals to the state Livestock Guards whose job it is to support conventional security operatives in enforcing the legislation.
“Nigerians who wish to engage in livestock and other businesses in Benue State are encouraged to do so as the Ortom administration is willing to collaborate with investors in different sectors of the economy,” he said.
“Gov. Ortom would continue to support security agencies to guarantee peace in all parts of the state,” the statement added. (NAN)