The Benue State government has described as wishful thinking 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), saying that the deadly cattle rearing group has entered into deep sphere slumber which only sound reasoning can free them from it.
In a statement signed by Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Samuel Ortom and made available to newsmen in Makurdi at the weekend, the government noted that the group has always been barking from the two sides of their mouth.
Akase was reacting to a statement by Baba Usman Ngelzarma, National Secretary, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), on Channels Television that the Benue law is “a failure”.
He described the statement made by the Myetti Allah’s scribe as contradictory, having hailed the law long before now, asked the group to either embrace the law or get out of Benue State.
His word, “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.”
Akase also informed that, “The MACBAN National Secretary is not new to contradictory statements”, adding “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.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.