By Jimin Geoffrey
Christians and Muslims in Benue State today staged a joint peaceful solidarity march to the Benue People’s House, Makurdi in support of the Anti-Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law recently enacted by the Benue State Government.
Addressing the two groups Governor Ortom commended them for what he described as the civil and peaceful nature of their demonstration of support assuring that the law had come to stay.
He said due diligence was followed in the enactment of the law with public hearings conducted across the state where even members of the Miyetti Allah were given the opportunity to make inputs.
The Governor challenged anyone with a better solution to herders and farmers clashes other than ranching to bring it up, stressing that it was regrettable for some people to sit in Abuja and begin to mobilize against a law that was meant to protect lives and property in Benue State.
He explained that the law also stipulates stiff penalties against cattle rustling which was in the interest of herdsmen, adding that it also covers all livestock and not only cattle.
He promised to deliver the letter given to him by the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in the state to forward to the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo for further necessary action.
Earlier in his address, CAN President, Benue State chapter, Rev. Akpen Leva, said they came to express solidarity with the Governor for initiating a law which would end mindless killings and invasion of Benue land by militant Fulani herdsmen.
He urged the full implementation of the law and arrest of leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore for declare war on the state and threatening to mobilize rebellion against law and order in the state.
Also speaking, Chief Imam of Izalla Mosque, Gboko, Alhaji Bala Ibrahim, said Muslims were part of Benue and would always support any move aimed at securing the lives and property of Benue citizens.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as “CAN says open grazing in Benue State is now a crime, the law must be respected by all,” “security agents must arrest and interrogate the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore over their contempt and resentment of anti-open grazing law, ” “Anti-Open Grazing law has come to stay in Benue State and it must be respected by all” and “Christian Council of Nigeria, CCN, supports anti-open grazing law, says enough of blood shed” among others.
Rev Akpen Leva presented a letter to Governor Ortom for onward presentation to Nigeria’s acting President, Professor Osinbajo for necessary action.