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Gov. Ortom to FG: Show more concern to human lives than welfare of cows

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has advised the Federal Government to be more concerned about human lives than welfare of cows.

The governor was reacting to a recent statement credited to the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd).

Dambazau recently reportedly said it was impossible to stop the unregulated movement of cattle across Nigerian borders and within the country because, according to him, “Nigeria is a signatory to ECOWAS Protocol on free movement.”

In a press statement, on Friday, by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Terver Akase, Governor Ortom described the statement credited to the minister as ‘strange’.

“While we do not intend to join issues with the Federal Government on the feasibility of re-establishing cattle routes or its planned ‘implementation of the ECOWAS protocol,’ we will not fail to state that in Benue state, the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 has provided the needed solution to herders/farmers crisis.

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“It is important to emphasise that the Benue State law does not stop the movement of cattle or other livestock. The law only prohibits open grazing of livestock.

“This provision holds that livestock can be moved from place to place within Benue State but only by vehicles. “The Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State also makes precise provisions on ranching in place of open grazing. The procedure for establishing a ranch is equally stated in the law.

“We wonder why the president and his lieutenants are hell-bent on ensuring that cattle routes are established across the country in the 21st Century when developed nations have long embraced ranching.

“Even if gazetted routes were still in existence, the global best practice of ranching would have necessitated de-gazetting of such routes in Benue as the current population of the state had made the ancient practice of animal husbandry untenable.”

Governor Ortom further argued that ECOWAS protocol permits free movement of human beings but not free movement of cattle and other livestock.

“It certainly does not include the indiscriminate movement of livestock across national boundaries nor does it include the indiscriminate movement of armed gangs masquerading as herdsmen.

“Provisions for quarantine services for livestock and prohibition of movement with arms as well as regulations that apply to human beings must therefore be enforced for improved security in the country.

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“We wish to restate that Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law has come to stay and no amount of blackmail or intimidation can make the state government to repeal or suspend the law,” the governor stated.

Meanwhile, a former minister of interior, Comrade Abba Moro, has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of bringing pains to Nigerians instead of its promised change.

Comrade Moro, the current PDP senatorial candidate for Benue South senatorial district, on Tuesday, January 15, said the APC promised Nigerians change but ended up bringing pains and hardship to the people.

The former minister made the comment during the inauguration of his ward-to-ward campaign in Otukpo Local Government Area of the state.