Open grazing: Benue state issues 2-week quit notice to herders

THE Benue State government has issued a two-week quit notice to herders engaging in open grazing in the state.

The state government also ordered all armed herders to leave the state through a resolution by its Security Council.

At the council’s meeting held in Makurdi, the state capital, and chaired by the governor, Hyacinth Alia, the council members said the decisions were reached to maintain peace in the state.


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Heads of state-affiliated armed and paramilitary groups, leaders of traditional and religious institutions, and senior government functionaries were present at the meeting.

The chief press secretary to the governor, Tersoo Kula, read the resolution signed by the governor.

The council warned herders that the Ranches Establishment Law of 2017 and the Open Grazing Prohibition remained in force.

The council directed armed herders and invaders to leave the state immediately and warned those who invited armed herdsmen or invaders to desist.

“A seven-man committee is set up to enforce the ultimatum given. And security agencies, traditional rulers and the general public should intensify efforts and uncover for prosecution any person in the habit of collaborating/inviting armed herders into the state.

“Council is urging the general public to remain calm and security conscious as the state government is making every conceivable effort to ensure adequate security of lives and property in the state,” the statement added.

Benue State, located in the North-Central Nigeria, has been severely affected by herders/farmers conflict for more than ten years, and the situation has gotten worse since the anti-open grazing law was passed and put into effect.

Repeated efforts by the previous government to curtail herders attacks on the state residents have yielded only a little result despite banson the activities of armed herders in the state.




     

     

    On January 1, 2018, attacks were carried out by the suspected herders in Logo and Guma LGAs of the State, with over 70 people killed.

    Witnesses said the coordinated attacks began around 9 p.m. and continued until the early hours as the herders had a field day killing people and burning down houses without any intervention by security agencies.

    In a report on July 30, 2018, it was reported more than 1,300 Nigerians lost their lives in the first half of 2018 to violence involving herdsmen and farmers across the country, according to a report by the International Crisis Group (ICG). 

    The group, in a report published on July 26, said the figure was about six times more than the number of civilians killed by the Boko Haram insurgency in the same period.

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