Arewa youths react as Benue govt suspends livestock guards

THE Benue State Government has suspended the operations of the state’s livestock guards for two weeks.

The operations of the livestock guards, who enforce the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law enacted in 2017, was temporarily suspended to allow the exit of all herdsmen with livestock within Benue territory.

Governor Samuel Ortom announced the development on Tuesday, April 11, after a state security council meeting, which deliberated on the killing of about 130 villagers in the state by suspected armed herdsmen, last week.

Ortom said that the suspension is to enable herdsmen who are not aware of the anti-open grazing law to leave.

“The move is to show good faith to all those who claimed to have come into the state without knowing there is a law prohibiting open grazing.”

He stressed that security agencies in the state have confirmed President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to investigate and apprehend perpetrators of the mass killings in the state.

The governor, however, reiterated the need for speedy investigation by security agencies to enable victims of the attack to get some form of justice and restore peace.

Meanwhile reacting to the development in an interview with The ICIR,  the director of publicity of the Arewa Youth For Peace and Security, Salihu Mahmoud, said the temporary suspension of the operations of the livestock guards was politically motivated.

“Ortom introduced the anti-grazing law because of political interest and his self centered interests. The temporary reversal was borne out of how he had lost grace because if you observe in the present political system he has lost totally.

“He lost his senatorial bid and his anointed governorship candidate lost, so he need to retract his decisions.

“The law should be suspended and it should not be temporary because these cattle are consumed by majority of people,” Mahmoud said.

    Stressing that the law should be abolished, he added, “Benue State does not have any approved grazing route for herdsmen. For you to suspend grazing, you must have a legal grazing route across the state from Benue to Makurdi.

    The ICIR reported that President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the recent killings in Benue communities and charged security agencies to make efforts to end the violence.

    According to Buhari, it was unacceptable for lives to be taken by herdsmen and farmers alike.

    On April 7, The ICIR reported how residents of Apa community in Benue State took to the streets to protest against incessant killings by suspected armed herdsmen in the state.

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