Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue, says attacks on residents won’t force his administration to repeal the anti-grazing law in the state.
On May 22, 2017, Ortom signed the anti-grazing law that prohibits the movement of livestock on foot within the state — following a series of clashes between herders and farmers.
The state has witnessed a series of attacks in recent times.
On June 6, at least 20 people were reportedly killed, after an attack by gunmen in Odugbeho community in Agatu LGA of the state.
The attack came days after over 30 people were reportedly killed — including students of the College of Education — in Katsina Ala LGA of the state.
Speaking on the development on Saturday during a media parley to celebrate his second year in office, the Benue governor said his administration has started recruitment to activate the Community Volunteer Guards Law enacted in 2000.
He noted that the recent attacks in the state has triggered him to activate the vigilante groups, while clamouring that the groups should be allowed to carry arms.
“A few weeks ago, Benue stakeholders met and gave this administration the mandate to activate and implement the Community Volunteer Guards Law enacted in 2000,” he said.
“We have already commenced the process of recruiting responsible people of 50 years and below into the Volunteer Guards.
“Their duty is to support the conventional security agencies in defending their communities. We have cried enough. We will cry no more. Now is time for action.
“Let me remind those who think that sustained attacks on the Benue people will force us to repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law that they are making a mistake.
“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.”
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