Benue state endorses anti-grazing law

– Benue residents unanimously support the provision that open grazing be replaced with ranches following a public hearing on the anti-grazing bill – The residents also rejected a provision that such ranches should be established by individuals, and not by the state government as proposed in the executive bill.

Benue state has endorsed a law banning open grazing by herdsmen as a way of tackling the persistent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.

The decision was reached by participants at the just-concluded public hearings on the anti-grazing bill, the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. The three public hearings, organised by the Benue House of Assembly, were held simultaneously in the three senatorial districts, to gauge the feeling of the people on the bill. The participants also endorsed the provision that open grazing be replaced with ranches, but declared that such ranches should be established by individuals, and not by the state government as proposed in the executive bill. Mr Terngu Tsegba, a former member of the House of Representative, said that ranches should be created and managed by individuals, just like farmlands.

Moses Anagend, a first class chief, said no person’s land should be forcefully confiscated to serve as a ranch. “Just as the herdsman’s economy depends on the cows, so does the farmer’s economy depends on the land. No one should be denied of such inheritance,” he said. Margaret Igbetar, a former president of the Appeal Court, advised the government to listen to the voice of the people, pointing out that majority could not be wrong. Other groups who spoke included tribal unions, religious associations, professional groups and NGOs. Meanwhile, Naij.com reported that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state had accused his estranged Senior Special Assistant on Security, Terwase Akwaza, otherwise known as Ghana as the mastermind of the recent attack on Zaki Biam which left scores dead. Ortom made this known while addressing newsmen on Thursday, March 23, after visiting victims of last Monday’s attack The governor said he was pained that the state after recovering from the killings in Agatu has returned to another season of sorrow. However, Ortom vowed that he would make sure Ghana is arrested and brought to book, Daily Post reports

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