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‘No plan to repeal anti-open grazing law,’ Benue govt tells Miyetti Allah

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Benue State government on Saturday warned Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) it has no plan to withdraw the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law in the state.

The state Governor, Samuel Ortom, disclosed this in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, in Makurdi.

He said the law has come to stay and no sponsored propaganda can effect its change.

The MACBAN National Secretary, Baba Usman Ngelzarma, had during the week urged the Federal Government and National Assembly to stop state governments from implementing the anti-open grazing law in their domains.

He also claimed the Benue State anti-open grazing bill had failed to achieve its objectives.

The statement read: “We listened to the utterances of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), National Secretary, Baba Usman Ngelzarma, on Channels Television in which he described as failure, the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State.

READ ALSO: Benue govt accuses Miyetti Allah of dictating governance in Nigeria

“Ngelzarma’s comments did not come to us as a surprise. He is indeed one of those whose willful ignorance and misinterpretation of the law have fueled bitter emotions and hatred among pastoralists to embark on a killing spree of farmers in Benue State and other parts of the country.

“The MACBAN National Secretary is not new to contradictory statements. It is on record that he and other officials of the group visited Benue State in 2017 and after a meeting with Governor Samuel Ortom, addressed the media where they pledged support for the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.

“On that occasion, Ngelzarma who spoke on behalf of the delegation, admitted that with their deeper knowledge of the law during their visit to Benue, it was now obvious to MACBAN that the legislation was indeed not targeted at Fulani or any other groups. Their only appeal was for an extension of the November 2017 deadline given for the commencement of implementation and enforcement of the law.

“That the Miyetti Allah mouthpiece now goes to national television to kick against the same law they once described as ‘a win-win for all’ only proves that he is a merchant of crisis and one of those bent on truncating the peacebuilding process in Benue and other states of the federation.”

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