By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—Peace may finally return to Benue State as herdsmen attacking parts of the state have agreed to lay down their arms and abide by the provisions of the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition Law.
They, however, asked for more time to help them adapt to the new policy as well as resort to grazing in the grazing reserves already developed in the Northern parts of the country.
This position was reached at the end of the meeting by the herdsmen, stakeholders and governors of Benue and Nasarawa states with members of Technical Sub Committee of National Economic Council Committee mediating in the herdsmen and farmers crisis in Benue, Nasarawa, Adamawa and Taraba states, headed by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.
Addressing the media,yesterday, at the end of its assignment in Makurdi, chairman of the committee, Governor Umahi said the team had successful meetings with all the parties in Benue and Nasarawa states.
Reeling out the decisions reached at the end of the mediation talks, Governor Umahi said: “We observed that all the parties are willing to make peace and we are looking at the conditions and suggestions of the various groups handed over to us as the way forward to having peace.
“From discussions, it was agreed by the parties that Benue State has the right to make laws and that individuals or group of people that are in the state have a duty to obey the law.
“They also have a duty to meet with the authorities of the law to dialogue on any section of the law that they believe will not favour them.
“We have agreed, from all parties to this unfortunate matter, that we will pursue peace, disarm any group that is harbouring militia and support the security chiefs to arrest anyone found with illegal weapons.
“The security people have also vowed that inline with the directive they have, anybody with illegal weapon must be arrested, no matter who the person is.
“The cheering news is that the herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa states are willing to abide by the Open Grazing Prohibition Law of Benue State but they would need more time for ranching and support from the Federal Government to move into grazing reserves.”