Benue anti-open grazing law: Herdsmen reveal next line of action
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Benue chapter, has disclosed that its members are ready to leave Benue ahead of the November 1 deadline for the implementation of the state’s Anti-Open Grazing Law.
Chairman of the association, Alhaji Garus Gololo, told newsmen in Makurdi that they had no other option since the Government made no provision to accommodate their cattle.
“This law is confusing, for instance, they have said they are not chasing out the Fulani’s from the state but they have made no provision for our cattle, the cattle markets and even other cattle.
“They have told us to buy land for ranches, but the question is from who; you know that the process of getting land from the government is tedious, yet they are insisting that we must buy land for ranches.
“When you buy the land, you need the Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) to qualify for ownership, how can we get all this within the time frame given by the government?” Gololo quipped.
He said although the government had repeatedly explained that the law was not against the Fulani herdsmen, the requirements of the law were stringent and could not be met by the herdsmen within the time frame set by the government.
Governor Samuel Ortom had in May signed into law the Anti Open Grazing Law which seeks to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provides for the establishment of ranches and livestock administration in the state.
Socres of people had died in clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the state with farmlands and crops amounting to millions of Naira being destroyed.
Reacting, Benue Commissioner for Information, Mr Lawrence Onoja Jr., said enough time was given for land acquisition and the building of ranches.
He said the recent decision of the government to unbundle the procedure for land acquisition and reduce the cost of Certificate of Occupancy was to facilitate the process of land acquisition.
Onoja explained that the law was not against any particular people but was aimed at livestock protection, stating that it also applied to indigenes of the state who had cattle and other livestock.
The commissioner said those who were unable to meet the requirement were free to leave the state.