The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Terver Akase, has accused the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria of fueling the killings in the state, adding that the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law would not be repealed.
He said this in a statement on Saturday while reacting to MACBAN’s National Secretary, Baba Ngelzarma, who described the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State as a failure.
He recalled that the association had commended the state government for the law when its members visited the state in 2017 and met with the governor.
The statement read in part, “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.
“The MACBAN national secretary is not new to contradictory statements. 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 state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment 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 an 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 peacebuilding process in Benue and other states of the federation.”
According to the statement, Miyetti Allah’s anger towards the governor was because Ortom had refused to repeal the law to attract personal favours from their sponsors and insisted that the state would not repeal the law.