Benue Bans Open-grazing As Gov. Ortom Signs New Bill
Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue on Monday signed the Anti-Open Grazing and Anti-Kidnapping, Abduction, Cultism and Terrorism bills into law.
Mr. Ortom, in a brief speech at the ceremony in Makurdi, said the anti-grazing law would put to an end to incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Benue.
The governor lamented the destruction of lives and property in clashes involving farmers and herdsmen over the years, and promised to promote ranching since it had proved to be the best way of rearing livestock globally.
“Now that the bill has been signed into law, the law will take its course on anyone that goes against it,” he said.
He warned that violators would serve a jail term of five years or a fine option of N1 million, or both.
The governor particularly warned farmers and herdsmen against carrying arms, saying that security agents had been directed to arrest and prosecute anyone caught.
Mr. Ortom also warned owners of livestock against allowing them to roam the streets, saying that they would pay a heavy fine for each one caught.
“The fines for roaming animals will be heavy; such animal will be auctioned if the owner failed to pay the fine within seven days,” he said.
Mr. Ortom said the law would descend heavily on cattle rustling and destruction of crops by cattle, and warned those concerned against daring the state government.
On the anti-kidnapping, abduction and cultism bill, the governor said that it would rid the state of criminality.
“Kidnappers will, henceforth, be sentenced to death upon conviction, while volunteer hostages will be jailed 10 years,” he explained.
Quoting the law further, the governor disclosed that cultists would be jailed 10 years without any option of fine, on conviction.