By Nicholas Dechi
Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue has warned citizens against cattle rustling and attack on Fulani herdsmen in retaliation.
Ortom, who gave the warning at an emergency stakeholders meeting in Makurdi on Monday, urged the people to report any violation to appropriate authority for action.
The governor said anybody that rustle cattle and kill Fulani herdsmen would not be spared by the law, stressing that the Anti-Open Grazing Law protected both herdsmen and farmers.
He disclosed that the law was against cattle rustling and it also forbids cattle from grazing openly, especially on farms, stressing that there were stiff penalties attached to the offences.
He said that 80,000 people had been registered as internally Displaced Persons at the five camps opened by the state government as a result of the Fulani herdsmen killings.
He further sued for unity and peace among his subjects irrespective of their political and religious affiliations to enable them tackle the security challenges that had bedeviled the state.
Amb. Iyorwuese Hagher, a former Nigerian Envoy to Canada, advocated for State Police, stating that state police would assist in curbing the security challenges that engulfed the states.
Sen. Fred Orti corroborated Ortom by calling on the people to bury their differences, be they political or religious, so as to address the insecurity in the state head on.
Prof. Jerry Agada said that Benue people fought for the survival of Nigeria to keep it one and indivisible entity and they ought to do same by tackling the Fulani herdsmen attack head on.
Former Minister of Power and Stee Paul Unongo commended Benue people for uniting in order to tackle the incessant attack on them by herdsmen.
Unongo stressed that the unity should be forever and not just temporary because the more united they were the more stronger and viable they would be.
The Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, said that the Anti-Open Grazing Law did not breach any section of the constitution, and wondered why the herdsmen were resisting it.
The Och’ Idoma, Elias Obekpa, called for constant patrol of River Benue by the Marine Police, stressing that most times the attackers come through the river to launch attack.