Angry herdsmen drag Benue to court to stop grazing law
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Angry herdsmen drag Benue to court to stop grazing law

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Unhappy with the proposed implementation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law recently enacted by the Benue State government, herdsmen under the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association hahave dragged the state government to court.

Governor Ortom who revealed the development in Makurdi, the state capital, said he was not worried by the action of the cattle breeders as the state will now meet them in court to settle the matter amicably.

“I believe in the Rule of Law so we are waiting for the courts to tell us that it was unlawful for me to initiate a bill for a law and send same to the State House of Assembly for passage.

“Moreover, the enactment of the law was part of my constitutional responsibilities to protect lives and property, including those of herdsmen, more so as the bill seeks the establishment of ranches, not just for cattle but for all livestock, including pigs, goats and sheep,” he said.

Ortom also spoke on a letter of ultimatum handed to him by labour unions to clear the backlog of salaries owed civil servants in the state or face industrial action.

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While he said he was still studying the letter, Ortom explained that he was going to meet with the organised labour to deliberate on the matter. The governor added that the labour union had continued to demonstrate good understanding with his administration in the last two years and “workers deserve their wages”.

He meanwhile explained that the accumulated arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities were as a result of the high wage bill he inherited from his predecessor.

According to him, the bill was compounded by the shortfall in federal allocation to states owing to the dwindling oil prices.

Contrary to the suggestion by labour that Ortom borrow money to clear the backlogs, he said there was a limit to borrowing, maintaining that Benue will not have to borrow more than what it can accommodate.

 

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