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Grazing law: 81 herdsmen convicted in Benue – Gov Ortom

The governor of Benue, Samuel Ortom, revealed on Saturday in New York that no less than 81 shepherds had been convicted and that 3,000 cows were arrested under state law against open grazing.

Ortom, who gave the update in an opening speech at the 2019 annual convention of the Idoma Association, USA. UU., He said that the implementation of the law had brought relative peace to the state.

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“We are implementing our law, and there is relative peace. As of today, we have condemned 81 pastors. Some have paid fines; others are still in prison while I talk to you.

“We have gone one step further. Wherever we see cattle making open grass, we go after them. So far, we have arrested more than 3,000 animals.

“The law stipulates that within seven days, owners of such cattle must pay fines and claim them. We have been charging them fines, “he said.

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While he insisted that farm farming remained the best solution for the conflict between farmers and shepherds, the governor challenged anyone with a better alternative to present it.

Ortom spoke on the topic “Economic and security challenges in the state of Benue,” which was a modification of the theme of the conference that focused on the land of Idoma.

He said that all parts of the state faced similar development challenges, including insecurity, infrastructure deficit, unemployment, health and sanitation problems, among others, hence his decision to expand the reach.

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The governor said that only four of the 23 local government areas in the state, namely Otukpo, Konshisha, Ushongo, and Vandeikya, were spared the conflict between locals and pastors in the past six years.

“Until today, pastors have attacked 19 of the 23 local governments in Benue, claiming more than 5,000 lives between 2013 and 2018. “More than 195,000 homes and 30 billion worth of Naira churches were destroyed in the attacks,” Ortom said.

He thanked the Idoma people in the United States for their support of the victims of the Agatu attack in 2016; granting of scholarships to students of Benue, among others.

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The governor also praised them for being of ethical conduct, noting that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, no criminal case or report had been filed against him.

Ortom took the opportunity to inform its hosts about the policies, programs, and projects that the state government runs under its leadership, the Nigeria News Agency reported.