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Protesters seek enforcement of Benue’s anti-open grazing law

The people of Gwer West LGA of Benue State have staged a protest ON the Makurdi-Naka road to demand en-forcement of the state’s anti-open grazing…

The people of Gwer West LGA of Benue State have staged a protest ON the Makurdi-Naka road to demand en-forcement of the state’s anti-open grazing law following the killing of 28 people in some communities in the Gyaru-wa axis by armed men on Sunday night.

During the protest, Mbapuun Fabian, who is the Secretary of Gyaruwa Forum (GAF), said that villagers in farming communities of Gwer West LGA were gruesomely murdered.

A former Chairman of Gwer West, Francis Ayagah, called on the federal government to ensure the safety of his people as he noted that the renewed insecurity in the area was occasioned by the failure of the Governor Hyacinth Alia administration to enforce the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State.

Ayagah expressed worry that the non-implementation of the grazing law had allowed herders to move freely with their cows and arms which they used to attack villagers.

Another protester, Titus Numzua, who hails from Segev/Yegev Council Ward where all the attacks occurred, said that the influx of herdsmen in the area had complicated the security situation of many communities.

He also called on the federal government to ensure the safety of the people, and particularly called on Governor Alia to provide logistical support to security agencies, the Benue State Livestock Guards and the Community Vol-unteer Guards to ensure peace returned to the area.

Meanwhile, the Senator representing Benue North West, Titus Zam, while sympathising with the victims, con-demned the attacks which led to the death of many people, including women, children and the elderly.

In a statement signed by his Personal Assistant (PA) on Media, Terungwa Nunde, Zam prayed to God to continue to protect his people, and called on Governor Alia to come to their aid.

Similarly, the Member representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency, Arc. Asema Achado, condemned the murder of his constituents and called on the state government to enforce the law prohibiting open grazing and also ensure the perpetrators of the dastardly act were brought to book.

It would be recalled that the state government assured in March, this year of implementing the grazing law at the expiration of a two-week ultimatum handed to herders who flocked the state with their animals to vacate.

It was gathered that the delay in the implementation was, however, due to the transfer of the Force Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia, who headed the security network saddled with the responsibility to enforce the law.

 

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