Ortom readies for legal battle with Miyetti Allah over Benue anti-open grazing law

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has told the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, MAKH, that he is prepared to meet them in court for any legal battle over the enforcement of the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of 2017.

He also reiterated that the law is irrevocable in line with the earnest wishes and desire of the people of the state.

The Governor in a statement issued Tuesday in Makurdi by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur was reacting to the press conference addressed by the Secretary General of MAKH, Alhaji Saleh Hassan in Abuja on Monday, May 9, 2022 where he allegedly threatened that they would take legal action against the Benue State Government over what he claimed were illegal seizures of cows belonging to their members on account of violation of the ban on open grazing of cattle in the state.

The Governor in the statement dismissed the claims by the group that the seizures carried out by the Livestock Guards for violating the anti-open grazing law in the state were done illegally.

He said: “There is a law in place. And it is very clear that anyone who allows his or her cattle to roam freely in the state violates the law. When such herds are seized by the Livestock Guards, a time frame is given for owners to come forward and claim them. When the time given by the law elapses, we are left with no option but to auction them.

“And that is what has taken place. As a state, we are law-abiding and we cannot allow lawlessness.”

The Governor recalled that the law came into force in 2017 and was reviewed this year after it underwent every legislative process. “Therefore anybody or group who violates it will bear the consequences.

“So we are prepared to meet them in court. The law is made to be obeyed so that we can have an orderly society. The law protects the interest of everyone irrespective of tribe or religion. It protects herders against rustling and also protects farmers who suffer the loss of their crops.”

Governor Ortom stressed that “Everyone is free to ply his or her legitimate business in this state in as much as they do not infringe on the provisions of the law prohibiting open grazing.”

He maintained that he would not compromise the security and welfare of all the inhabitants and citizens of the state for any reason whatsoever.

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