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    Modify Anti-Open grazing law or Killings will Continue – Miyetti Allah to Ortom

    The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, has bluntly told the Benue State Governor, Dr.Samuel Ortom to modify the anti-open grazing law in Benue State or the killings may just continue.
    In an interview with the Punch, the Secretary-General of the association, Usman Ngelzerma said :
    “I like the Benue State governor. He is a peace-loving person but is working on wrong advice. The approach he took is wrong. You cannot change the way of life of a people like the way you turn off a light switch.
    “We don’t wish for the crisis to continue but let us give it (the law) another look. We don’t like the killings; we will never condone the killing of people. Give the farmers their rights but consider the pastoralists too.”
    He lamented the high-handedness of the livestock guards employed by the state government to enforce the anti-open grazing law and accused them of extorting money from the pastoralists.
    He also blamed a faction of the association known as Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, which endorsed the then President Goodluck Jonathan in the build-up to the 2015 election, for issuing threats before the latest attacks in Benue State.
    According to Ngelzerma, the fighting between the herdsmen and the livestock guards led to the January 1 killings in five communities in the Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of the state in which over 20 persons were murdered.
    He said, “The livestock guards have constituted themselves to the police and the court at the same time. They impose penalties on herdsmen, fine them huge sums of money before releasing them. That was the situation before this crisis erupted.
    “I was told that shortly before this crisis, the guards went to make some arrests in a particular community and they met stiff resistance from the Fulani because they were already tired of the persistent harassment from the guards, not the police or the DSS, army or constituted authority.
    “This was what led to the violence and unnecessary deaths that followed which we do not condone.”
    He added that the passage of the Grazing Reserve Bill into law by the National Assembly would ultimately stop herdsmen from encroaching on farmlands.

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