Sunday, June 20, 2021

Governor Ortom confirms herdsmen attack on his convoy

The Benue governor quickly linked the attack to a law that was adopted in 2018 against nomadic grazing.

• March 20, 2021
Benue State governor Samuel Ortom
Benue State governor Samuel Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom on Saturday said herdsmen attacked him on his farm near Tyo-mu, along Makurdi-Gboko Highway.

Mr Ortom said during a press briefing at the Benue Peoples House in Makurdi shortly after the attack that he was inspecting the farm when herders ambushed him and his security personnel, opening heavy fire.

The governor quickly linked the attack to the anti-open grazing policy of the state, saying a law that was adopted in 2018 against nomadic grazing will not be repealed because it has been popular amongst residents.

Last month, authorities in Benue impounded 210 cows from Fulani herders who had violated the state Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of 2017. The cattle were later released after owners reportedly paid N5 million in fines.

A spokesman for the police in Benue did not immediately return a request seeking comments from the Gazette about the attack on Saturday afternoon. The Buhari administration has expressed its opposition to Benue’s anti-open grazing law, saying it could be replicated across the country and further expand a wedge of mutual suspicion between northern herders and southern communities.

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