Governor Ortom Raises Alarm Over Planned Attacks By Miyetti Allah

Warns against disobedience to anti-open
grazing law
Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has
raised the alarm over an alleged plan by
Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore to launch fresh
attacks on Benue State, calling on the
security agencies to protect the people by
immediately arresting the leaders of the
group.
This came as the governor gave the final
warning to livestock rearers and cattle
rustlers, who were not ready to abide by
the anti-open grazing law to leave the state
on or before November 1, 2017, saying he
would do everything legitimate to enforce
the new law.
The governor stated this while speaking
with journalists in Abuja on Thursday.The
Miyeitti Allah Kautal Hore recently dragged
the Benue State government to court over
the enactment of the anti-open grazing
law.
The association had, a few days after
Ortom assented to the Open Grazing
Prohibition and Ranches Establishment bill,
threatened to challenge the law in court,
claiming that the Fulanis were the first
settlers of Benue valley and as such
original owners of the state.

The suit filed at the Federal High Court,
Abuja with no FHC/ABJ/CS/527/2017 was
instituted by Trustees of Miyeittii Allah
Kautal Hore Socio-Cultural Association,
Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodojo and Mr.
Salleh Alhassan, through their counsel, Mr.
Aliyu Ahmed and associates.

Saying the national leadership of the
association had given the state government
its words to get its members to abide by
the new law, he dismissed the Bodojo
group as splinter gang that was bent on
causing a crisis in the state.

Ortom said: “Let me bring to the attention
of Nigerians the activities of the Miyeitti
Allah Kautal Hore, a splinter group of
Miyeitti Allah; they are notorious for
impunity. They took us to court as a
government; but that in itself is legitimate,
but going to issue a threat as if they are
stakeholders in Benue State, is what we
detest.

“We are not going to succumb to any
threat; I have called on the security
agencies to arrest Alhaji Abdullahi Bello
Bodojo and Engineer Salleh Alhassan, the
self-acclaimed chairman and secretary of
the splinter group; because what we have
done is legitimate; we are protected by the
constitution of the federal republic of
Nigerian to make good laws for the
protection of our state as far as the laws do
not contradict the Constitution of Nigeria,
and that is what we have done.

“We went through the due process in
passing the law; the state house of
assembly went through a public hearing,
passed the bill and before sending it to me
for assent. The citizens of Benue state
support this law. It is our state and
stakeholders are happy with it. For those
who are ready for ranching, they can leave
the state before November 1 and go to
other states or countries where there is
land for open grazing.’’

Warning that the Miyetti Allah had no
monopoly of violence, the governor said
that he only called on security agencies to
arrest its leaders because the people of
Benue State are law-abiding citizens.

He said that the security agencies in the
state had discovered that a splinter group
of the association had been responsible for
the killing of people and other deadly and
criminal activities in the state in the past
few years, adding that he would no longer
accept them in the state.

He said: “I was legitimately elected by my
people to protect lives and properties in the
state and under my watch, nobody will
intimidate my people. And I have the
support of the people, I will stand with
them.’’

“I have reported the group to the President
and I am waiting for them to be arrested
and be dealt with according to the law of
the land. We are law-abiding people, and
nobody should be treated as a sacred cow.
We cannot continue with the impunity of
these criminals. Enough is enough.

“Nobody can stop us from doing what is
legitimate. Those who want to do open
grazing should leave Benue State; we only
have land for farming and ranching. I have
discussed with Mr. President and he did
not object to it; he is a law abiding
president; he is in support of the law.

“We gathered they are assembling in the
neighbouring states and Cameroon to attack
us, but we are not threatened because we
know the security agencies will protect
us.’’

Explaining the date given to cattle rustlers
to comply with ranching, which will expire
on November 1, 2017, the governor said
that there would be no more open grazing
as from the deadline given, adding that the
state had done enough publicity and
advocacy to enlighten the people about the
new law.

He added: “We have involved all livestock
breeders, including the cattle owners. We
invited the national leadership of the
Miyeitti Allah, the umbrella group of Fulani
cattle rustlers; interfaced with them and
gave them adequate information about the
law.

“The new law is to protect both the farmers
and the livestock breeders. That is where
we are. For instance, Section 20 of the Act
talks about those who will be involved in
cattle rustling and the penalty for those
who will break the law, it is very stiff.

“It is also designed to protect the cattle
breeders and livestock owners generally;
nobody is going to molest them or kill their
cattle or steal their animals. On the other
hands, Section 19 of the Act talks about
protecting our farmers. There is also
provision for the leasing of land for grazing
and many people can apply and the
government will approve the land for them,
which is renewable every year. For us, it is
a win, win for everybody, the law protects
both the farmers and the livestock
bridlers.’’

He said that the leadership of Miyeitti
Allah accepted the government’s
explanation and promised to impress it on
its members to obey the law, adding that
on the part of the state government, it
would add human face to the
implementation of the law and make sure
it supports everybody that is interested in
doing livestock business in the state.

“We will provide the enabling
environment. This will also provide an
opportunity for those interested in the
business to do decent businesses; their
children will be living in decent homes;
they will go to schools. And they will live a
better life,” Ortom further stated.

Calling on Nigerians to support the
enforcement of the new law, he said that it
is the only way the government could
restore peace for farmers, cattle bridlers
and everybody in the state.

He added that between 2012 and 2016,
Benue State lost more than N95 billion
worth of goods and properties in the crisis.
Thisdaylive

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