Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, has said traditional rulers found to be constituting themselves into criminal elements to frustrate the implementation of the anti-open grazing law would be removed from office.
He made this known while inaugurating the local government committees for the implementation of the law in Makurdi, adding that traditional rulers were expected to facilitate easy implementation of the law in their various domains.
While emphasizing that the law protects both herdsmen and farmers, he warned that anyone who rustles cattle would face the law just as any person that trespasses into farms with livestock would be prosecuted accordingly.
Ortom also said herdsmen that have been staying in Benue should not allow foreigners to come in and noted that the authorities can manage the indigenous Fulani and their livestock.
He further stated that the Fulani that can speak Idoma, Tiv and other languages should prevent foreigners from infiltrating the state in their own interest and explained that livestock guards are going to be trained to help in the implementation of the law.
According to the governor those skeptical of the law should give it a chance.
Ortom made it clear that those insisting that they must graze their cattle when there was no land for grazing should go to states where there is land for such.
He recalled that when herdsmen were killing Benue people in hundreds, he did not allow anyone to arm them because violence and chaos would not do good to anybody.
The governor explained that the people depend on farming now that salary payment is a problem and urged livestock owners, farmers and other stakeholders to key into ranching like the Federal Government.
He argued that farming was equally a business like cattle and as such destroying farms was tantamount to destroying their means of livelihood.
Special adviser to the governor on security, Colonel Edwin Jando, in his remark, said a census of the Fulani in Benue was being taken and added that six pilot ranches would be established.
Jando said such ranches would have clinics, bore holes, police posts and other facilities and urged herdsmen in the various villages to liaise with the host communities to establish ranches where they can get cheap food for their cows and themselves.