By Peter Duru & Prince Okafor
Makurdi—Benue State government, yesterday, faulted Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a Fulani socio-cultural association, over its opposition to the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition Establishment Law, 2017, which Governor Samuel Ortom recently signed into law.
Meanwhile, Benue State House of Assembly has called on the Inspector General of Police to arrest the leadership of Maiyetti Allah Kautal Hore, following Tuesday’s media briefing by the National President of the Association, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello and Secretary, Alhaji Saleh Alhassan.
At the briefing in Abuja, they not only kicked against the anti-open grazing law, but vowed to mobilise their members to resist its implementation, describing the law as “wicked, obnoxious, repressive and a deliberate attempt to enslave them.”
Ruling in a motion of urgent public importance, moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Benjamin Adanyi, the House called for the association’s leadership’s arrest and prosecution.
The lawmakers equally mandated Governor Samuel Ortom to lead a high-powered delegation, comprising all the Senators and members of the House of Representatives from the state, the Speaker of the state Assembly and other prominent indigenes of the state to meet President Muhammadu Buhari and brief him on the grievances of the state.
This is just as the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja jnr, in a statement yesterday, entitled Anti-Open Grazing Law Has Come to Stay, described the Miyetti Allah’s stand as a threat to peace.
Declaring that Benue State and its people were under threat, the commissioner urged security agencies to arrest leaders of the association and prosecute them for making inciting statements capable of breaching public peace and order.
The statement read: “Benue State and its people are under threat. We request the Federal Government to call Miyetti Allah and its leaders to order before they plunge the country into a conflagration.
“We call on Nigerians to condemn Miyetti Allah’s threat. Our contribution to the resolution of herdsmen and farmers crisis should be appreciated because it remains one of the most protracted problems across our country.
“The threat by Miyetti Allah is not only for Benue, but for all states that have or will have farmers and herdsmen crisis.
The law says…
“With regards to Miyetti Allah’s assertion that the Open Grazing Prohibition Establishment Law, 2017, offends the constitutional provision on freedom of movement, we wish to state in unequivocal terms that the law does not restrict free movement, neither does it prohibit grazing of cattle.
“But it only seeks to confine the rearing and grazing of cattle to confined ranches, which is in line with international best practice for animal husbandry as well as legal provisions prohibiting loitering of animals.
“We challenge Miyetti Allah to bring any better or superior solution that would restore lasting peace between farmers and herdsmen to the table, rather than issue threats that will compound the problem.”