Samuel Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, disclosed yesterday that Fulani herdsmen are threatening him over the anti-open grazing bill he recently signed into law.
Governor Ortom disclosed this when he addressed the National Council of Tiv Youths, who had protested what they described as the ‘outburst and unguided utterances against Tiv nation and indigenes of Benue State by leaders of Fulani cattle rearers.’
The governor revealed that a Fulani man had, on Wednesday morning, sent a warning message to him, through his wife.
Ortom, however, stressed that he would not be intimidated by the threat because, according to him, the anti-open grazing law has come to stay.
“Just this morning (Wednesday), one Fulani called my wife and asked her to warn me that I (Ortom) am joking with them (Fulani). But, my response when my wife told me this is that I am not joking, too; this law has come to stay.”
With a declaration that he was not elected to preside over dead people, the governor said his administration had given six months transition for full implementation of the law, to enable owners of cattle and livestock establish their ranch even as advised anyone who feels uncomfortable with the law to leave the state.
“Whoever chooses to live in Benue must obey the law of the land. There is no open grazing in Benue. I was elected to protect lives and property of every resident of the state, not to preside over dead people”.
Governor Ortom also maintained that enactment of the law was as a result of the constant attacks on farmers in the state by suspected Fulani herdsmen, and added that he swore an oath to protect lives and property of residents of his state.
“I challenged anyone who had superior solution to the senseless killings of our people other than anti-open grazing law should bring it forward, before the passage of the bill by House of Assembly; due process was followed, every nationality; Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani and others were invited to the public hearing.”
Earlier, leader of the protesters, Mr John Akperachi, while addressing the governor appealed to the federal government to prevail on security agencies to arrest leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, for opposing the anti-open grazing law and laying claim to the state’s natural resources.
On May 22, Ortom signed the Anti-Open Grazing and Anti- Kidnapping, Abduction, Cultism and Terrorism bills into law.
In a brief speech at the ceremony in Makurdi, Ortom said that the law would put an end to incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Benue.
The governor lamented the destruction of lives and property in clashes involving farmers and herdsmen over the years, and promised to promote ranching since it had proved to be the best way of rearing livestock globally.
“Now that the bill has been signed into law, the law will take its course on anyone that goes against it,” he said.
He warned that violators would serve a jail term of five years or a fine option of N1 million, or both.