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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said that the onslaught against citizens of his state by herdsmen will not compel his government to repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.
He added that his administration will rather amend the law to increase the penalties against offenders rather than be cowed into suspending the law.
Ortom disclosed this on Saturday while giving his mid-term scorecard as part of activities marking this year’s Democracy Day at the Banquet Hall of the Government House in Makurdi.
He said, “This law has come to stay and no amount of intimidation can make us repeal it. Instead, we will soon amend the law in order to increase the penalties against offenders.”
Ortom lamented the humanitarian situation caused by continued attacks by armed herdsmen, bandits and other criminals in Benue communities.
“The security threat from armed herdsmen, bandits and other criminals in our communities has resulted in wanton killings and the displacement of people in large numbers across the state.
“Today, Benue State has over one million IDPs (internally displaced persons) with many of them living in the camps we have set up and others staying with their relations. The situation has created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the state.
He regretted that despite the huge sums of money his administration has been spending to cater for the internally displaced persons, resources are always inadequate because the number of IDPs is daily increasing.
“My desire is to ensure that the IDPs return to their ancestral homes. Most of them are farmers, and the longer they stay in the camps, the more food production is affected. We hope that the federal government will also fulfil its promise to assist Benue and other states in the North Central which have been badly affected by the attacks to resettle the victims.”
This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.