By Tseaa Armstrong
Benue State Government has raised alarm over renewed influx of armed herdsmen with large herds of cattle into parts of the state.
The State Deputy Governor, Engineer Benson Abounu made this known in a press briefing today. He said 376 cows and six herdsmen were apprehended in Kaseyo, Guma Local Government Area of the state, stressing that the herders were being investigated by the authorities.
Abounu said,: ‘the declaration by the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule about regrouping of Boko Haram insurgents at the boundary between Benue and Nasarawa states has uncovered mass presence of cattle along River Benue in Agatu and Gwer West Local Government Areas’.
He stated that security checks revealed the invasion of armed herdsmen with AK47 riffles and large herds of cattle on the brink of River Benue on the Nasarawa State bank.
‘In keeping with the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state, the cows were kept at the quarantine centre in the state and would be released to the owners after fulfilling the necessary conditions’, he added.
The Deputy Governor noted that Benue as one of the federating units of Nigeria is governed by laws, one of which is the one prohibiting open grazing being enforced effectively with the primary aim of ending conflicts between herders and farmers.
Engr. Abounu called livestock farmers to acquire land in the state through lease for their businesses. ‘Benue is not in anyway contemplating abrogating the law for any reason’, he reiterated.