The Benue state government has described the expectations of Myetti Allah groups across the country, that it would repeal the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law (Anti-open grazing law), as shere day-dream.
In a statement signed by Terver Akase Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Samuel Ortom and made available to Sunday Independent in Makurdi yesterday, the spokesman noted that the group has always been speaking from the two sides of their mouth.
Akase was reacting to a statement credited to Baba Usman Ngelzarma, National Secretary, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), who spoke on Channels Television and described the law as “a failure.”
The CPS noted that the statement made by the Myetti Allah scribe was contradictory, haven hailed the law long before now.
Akase stressed that, “We must make it clear to Miyetti Allah groups and others who want Benue to repeal the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law to stop day-dreaming.
“The law has come to stay, and no amount of sponsored propaganda can compel the state government to repeal it.”
He further stated that, “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 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 group.
“Their only appeal was for 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 peace building process in Benue and other states of the federation.
“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.
“Miyetti Allah’s anger towards Governor Samuel Ortom is well understood. We expected the MACBAN National Secretary and his group to feel frustrated after the Governor refused to accept their offer to betray his people and repeal the law in order to attract personal favours from their sponsors.
“Miyetti Allah ought to know that Benue’s law on open grazing has recorded tremendous success since it was enacted” he declared. End.