Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Tuesday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on security situation in the state and the threat by Miyetti Allah to frustrate implementation of the state’s Anti-Open Grazing Act.
Miyetti Allah is a socio-cultural association and umbrella body of Fulani (herdsmen) in Nigeria.
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Addressing State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Ortom said it was wrong for the group to make Benue ungovernable because of the Act, which would be effective from Nov. 1.
Ortom said although the group had taken Benue government to court over the enactment of the act, the government had no plan to suspend its implementation.
“I came to brief Mr President on the security situation in my state and on the threat by Miyetti Allah that has taken us to court.
“They threatened that they will make the implementation of the Anti-Open Grazing Act impossible.
“We stand by what we have done, we have done our legitimate, lawful role as governor and as citizens of the state.
“If you want to bring confusion, I want to assure you that I have directed the security men to arrest those people.
“I am calling for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah, to be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent.
“And so, if they come out with this kind of threat, the evidence are there; they did a world press conference. So, what is the security agencies doing? These people must be penalized.’’
The governor enjoined inhabitants of the state to always comply with the laws to safeguard lives and property of the citizens.
According to him, the law on the Anti-Open Grazing protects herdsmen and farmers.
“It is the intention of this government to ensure that we give protection to lives and property through the rule of law. So, anyone staying in Benue must comply.
“One thing I must say is that the law protects herdsmen and farmers. We are against cattle rustling, those who are caught will be penalized.
“Those who want to stay in Benue and do cattle business must ranch their cattle, this is what we are saying.
“As far as we are concern, the law is not targeted at any individual or group of people, it is meant to protect everyone who is living in Benue.’’
Ortom advised those wishing to get land to ranch to apply as the state government had adequate land in designated places.