Ortom Inaugurates Anti-Open Grazing Advisory Committee
Governor Samuel Ortom has inaugurated the advisory committee on the implementation of the anti-open grazing law with an appeal to Fulani herdsmen who have stayed in Benue State for long and are familiar with the people to cooperate so as to ensure successful implementation of law. He made the appeal while inaugurating the committee at the Banquet Hall of the Benue Peoples House in Makurdi. Governor Ortom who said the November first, 2017, deadline set for the implementation of the law remained sacrosanct urged the herdsmen to assist in preventing those who come from outside the state during the dry season to cause confusion from entering and settling with them. The Governor who insisted that the law remained the only solution to the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen reiterated the determination of his administration to implement it. He charged the state advisory committee to scrutinize members at the local government and ward levels with a view to removing those with questionable character and to work closely with the Livestock Guards earlier inaugurated to ensure the success of the implementation. Responding, Chairman of the Committee, Colonel Edwin Jando, retired, said the committee will liaise with those at the local government and ward levels to carry out advocacy and sensitization to get the people acquainted with the law. He said in preparation for the implementation of the law, six pilot ranches would be established across the state and provided with necessary infrastructure and social amenities as well as police posts where herdsmen who flout the law will be kept with their cattle. Those who attended the meeting included the 23 council chairmen in the state, traditional rulers, Fulani leaders, farmers, Livestock Guards, Civilian Joint Task Force, security agencies as well as members of the state security and executive councils. The eight-member committee includes council chairmen, chairmen of local government traditional councils, representatives of farmers and livestock owners, that of state community volunteer guards, Divisional Police Officers, representative of the Nigeria Bar Association and Head of Personnel Administration of the local government as secretary. Responsibilities of the committee include to offer advice or make recommendations concerning rules and regulations for the administration of the law, the establishment of ranches, the modification of boundaries thereof, and any other matter affecting the administration of the law.