Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has revealed that between 2012 to 2016 the state lost properties, farms and farm produces worth in excess of N95 billion due to crisis between herdsmen and farmers.
According to Ortom, the destructions have affected adversely the economy of the state hence the need to contain incessant herdsmen/farmers clashes through the ban on open grazing.
The governor also noted that schools, hospitals, bridges and other infrastructure were destroyed and several years after, no intervention even from the federal government to help the locals get their lives back.
Ortom told newsmen in Abuja that the Anti Open Grazing Prohibition Law signed into law in May 2017 in the state was to put a permanent end to the crisis.
He said the law will come into effect November 1, 2017 and all animal breeders in the state will be required to ranch their animals or face the law.
The governor also disclosed that already law abiding individuals have approached the state for land so they could ranch their cattle and other animals.
He further noted that legitimate cattle breeders’ associations like the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has expressed commitment to obeying the law adding that his government will provide all necessary support to anyone interested in ranching.
He further expressed commitment to provide necessary security and infrastructure support to all those willing to engage in ranching.
He said from November 1, there shall be no open grazing for all types of livestock in the state. The Law is meant to protect farmers and herdsmen. Section 19 of the Act protects lives stock from rustling while section 20 of the Act protects farmers from attacks he explained further.
The Benue state governor also noted that the law has multiplier effect as huge employment opportunities will be created through the value chains of ranching.
He said the law enforcement agents were committed to enforcing the letters and spirit of the law from November 1, 2017.