Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue on Monday warned that any herdsman, who decided to breach the anti-open grazing law would have to face the wrath of the law.
Mr. Ortom gave this warning in Makurdi while addressing members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Muslim community, who were protesting the threats issued by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association against the new law.
The governor said that the security agencies were ever ready to arrest anybody or group of persons that decided to resist the implementation of the law.
According to the governor, the law will be enforced fully in November after the grace period of transition which is to end in October.
Mr. Ortom said that any herdsman, who was not comfortable with the law was free to leave the state and settle where open grazing of animals was not prohibited.
He further warned that anybody rearing livestock must put them in ranches, adding that the law was meant to protect both the farmers and animals.
The governor explained that ranching was not only meant for cattle but all livestocks in order to prevent them from wandering into farmlands.
Earlier, the CAN chairman in Benue, Akpen Leva, said the herdsmen had co-existed with the Benue people harmoniously for decades and wondered why they had now resorted to the violation of the people’s rights.
Mr. Leva said that the law was not to undermine the economic or social interest of the herdsmen or any other ethnic nationality in Nigeria.
“The provision of the law for the establishment of ranches is to conform to global best practices for the management of livestock, which is also in the interest of the herdsmen.
“The anti-open grazing law is the most civilised and best option to resolve this perennial problem between our farmers and herdsmen, which has unleashed a serious crisis ever witnessed in the life of our society,” he said.
Also, Sheik Bala Ibrahim, who spoke on behalf of the Muslim community, called for the peaceful co-existence of residents of the state and stressed the need for every stakeholder to support the law.