By Emmanuel Antswen
The Benue State Government is to build six pivot ranches to facilitate the effective implementation of the anti-open grazing law.
Gov. Samuel Ortom signed the law, which he said would check incessant clashes between farmers and herders, on May 2, 2017.
The law is expected to take effect on Nov. 1, 2017.
Col. Edwin Jando (retired), Special Adviser to Ortom on security, disclosed the plan to build the ranches to newsmen on Tuesday in Makurdi, at the end of a critical stakeholders meeting for the implementation of the law.
He said that the meeting was aimed at sensitising stakeholders, particularly the herdsmen, on the law.
Jando explained that the pivot ranches would be used as a confine for impounded cattle, explaining that they would be kept in the confinement for seven days before being auctioned or the owner fined.
He said that the ranches would be situated at strategic locations, preferably at boundary points.
According to him, the ranches will be located in Kwande, Katsina-Ala, Ukum, Guma and Makurdi, while another one will be located between Gwer West and Agatu.
He said that government would not build ranches for herdsmen, and advised interested herdsmen to acquire land through the due processes and build their ranches.
The Commissioner of Police in Benue, Mr Bashir Makama, in a remark, urged stakeholders to abide by the guidelines for the implementation of the law in the interest of the cattle owners and farmers.
Makama also advised those planning to establish ranches to follow due process in the acquisition of land to avoid violent disagreements.
He urged those affected by the law to strive to be conversant with it before the Nov. 1 deadline.
“The meeting considered a lot of things, but the major concern was the need for peace in Benue.
“We also assessed the security situation and relaunched the “bail is free” campaign. Henceforth, anybody caught giving money for bail will be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
In his speech, Prof. Daniel Uza, Guest Speaker at the meeting, said that the cattle value chain had become a major security challenge in the state.
Uza, a former Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, opined that the country needed to adopt ranching for the effective protection of herders and land owners.