By James Ibechi
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom a few hours ago signed the Anti-Open Grazing and Anti-Kidnapping, Abduction, Cultism and Terrorism bills into law.
The governor did it amidst an expanded stakeholders meeting at the New Banquet of the Benue People’s House in Makurdi.
He said that the anti-grazing law would end incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers in in the state.
Ortom lamented the destruction of lives and property in clashes involving farmers and herdsmen over the years, and promised to promote ranching since it had proved to be the best way of rearing livestock globally.
“Now that the bill has been signed into law, the law will take its course on anyone that goes against it,” he said.
He warned that violators would serve a jail term of five years or a fine option of N1 million, or both.
The governor particularly warned farmers and herdsmen against carrying arms, saying that security agents had been directed to arrest and prosecute anyone caught.
He also warned owners of livestock against allowing them to roam the streets, saying that they would pay a heavy fine for each one caught.
“The fines for roaming animals will be heavy; such animal will be auctioned if the owner failed to pay the fine within seven days,” he said.
Ortom said that the law would descend heavily on cattle rustling and destruction of crops by cattle, and warned those concerned against daring the state government.
On the anti-kidnapping, abduction and cultism bill, the governor said that it would rid the state of criminality.