Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has urged more states in the county to enact the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law to completely phase out open grazing in Nigeria.
Governor Ortom made the call on Thursday in Makurdi while delivering a keynote address at the 2021 annual law week celebration with the theme “Open Grazing in Nigeria: Threat to National and Food Security, National Cohesion and Sustainable Development.”
He said Nigeria is ripe for the implementation of a policy on ranching as captured in the National Livestock Transformation Plan that was adopted by the National Economic Council, NEC, which he noted would not only protect farming communities but also stop cattle rustling.
The Governor urged the Federal Government to publicly condemn the atrocities perpetrated by armed herdsmen in Nigeria, arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and other Fulani socio-cultural groups who owned up to killings and destruction of communities.
He said Benue vehemently stands against grazing routes and any other policy under the guise of open grazing, stressing that cattle routes are not only archaic but anti-development and retrogressive.
The Governor charged lawyers to reflect soberly on the future of Nigeria with a view to making it better, pointing out that the country is on life support while its oxygen is fast running out.
In a keynote address, Governor of Rivers State, Barrister Nyesom Wike, represented by a senior lawyer, Barrister RC Ndefor, described open grazing as a threat to the peace and unity of the country and sued for strict implementation of the ban on open grazing.
Earlier, Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Makurdi Branch, Barrister Justine Gbagir said the association supported the enactment of the open grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment law because of its belief that it was the only solution to farmer-herder clashes.