From Abraham Uwuasom, Makurdi
Following the statement released by the leaders of the Miyetti Allah, Kautal Hore in some national dailies, the Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom has directed the arrest of the leaders of the group, saying that the statement is an open declaration of war on the peace loving people of Benue State. This is contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Terver Akase.
According to the statement: “ We find the latest statements credited to leaders of Miyetti Allah, Kautal Hore in national dailies and other media platforms as open declaration of war on the peace loving people of Benue State and we wish to reiterate our call for their arrest.”
It added that, “It is not the first time that National President of the group, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo and its National Secretary, Saleh Alhassan have made inflammatory statements against the implementation of the anti-open grazing law of Benue State.
“Since the law came into being, the said officials of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore have embarked on legal action as well as all other forms of threats and smear campaign against Governor Samuel Ortom in a desperate bid to scuttle the implementation of the law which will commence on November 1 this year.”
Governor Ortom pointed out that the law is not against any individual or group. It is neither aimed at sending herdsmen out of Benue State. He added.
He said, “The anti-open grazing law specifically permits grazing of livestock only within ranches and prohibits the movement of animals from one destination to another in the State except by rail, trucks and other vehicles as a permanent solution to the incessant clashes between farmers and herders with the attendant destruction of lives and property.
“Interestingly, the law also protects livestock and ranches as it stipulates severe punishment for any person convicted for rustling cattle or any other animals kept in ranches.”
Going by the misplaced outbursts of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, it is clear that the group has not bothered to read the law which has been published in national dailies or deliberately refused to understand the provisions of the law even after it was published. The statement alleged.
It maintained that, the mention of Terwase Akwaza, alias Ghana, as an ally of Governor Ortom in the recent statements is also an indication that Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore officials are not familiar with the security situation in Benue State. If they were, they would have known that Ghana is not an ally of the Governor as the man has since been declared wanted by security agencies over murder, cattle rustling and other criminal activities. Ortom quarried.
The statement further said, “Governor believes in the capacity of security agencies of this country. The group’s allegation that the Governor has created six detention centres is therefore not only laughable but also betrays the ignorance of its officials. We expect the group to embrace the idea of pilot ranches being considered by the Benue State Government as a way of consolidating on the prevailing peace in the state.
“The Governor wishes to once more draw the attention of security agencies to the repeated threats and inciting statements by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and demands for the arrest of officials of the group to prevent them from breaching the existing peace in the state. The call by the group that herdsmen should converge on Benue come November clearly reveals their ulterior motive to invade Benue and inflict greater pain on innocent people.
“Security agencies need no further proof to effect the arrest than the group’s public declaration of war against the people of the state.”
According to him, “No individual or group is above the law of the land. The anti-open grazing law initiated by the Benue State Government has been hailed by both local and international peace stakeholders as the best solution to the frequent crisis between herdsmen and farmers. Governor Ortom has often challenged those who oppose the law to put forward an alternative better than ranching but none seems forthcoming.”
“We wish to make it abundantly clear to Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore that the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law has come to stay and no amount of intimidation or name calling can stop its implementation.” It concluded.