By Nicholas Dechi
Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue has advised anybody calling for repeal of Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law to desist forthwith as the law had come to stay.
Ortom gave the advice during a new conference on Thursday in Makurdi.
“The individuals and groups pushing for the repeal of the law ought to know that they are wasting their time.
“The law has come to stay. Anyone who wants to rear animals in Benue should be prepared to do so in ranches and according to the provisions of the law.
“We will not be distracted by the avalanche of smear and hate campaigns against us. I have the mandate of my people and I will protect their interests till the day I leave office as governor,” Ortom said.
He lamented that because of the enactment of the law, he had become a target for elimination.
“Since 2017 when we enacted the law, I have escaped seven assassination attempts. Those behind the evil plots have not hidden their motive.
“They have made me an enemy for choosing to stand with my people and defending their rights to life and freedom,” he said.
He said that 52 personalities of Fulani extraction, led by the former Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, signed a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari against him.
He lamented that the group levelled all manner of accusations against him in a desperate attempt to set him up for hatred, vilification and attacks.
“The group which refused to give itself a name, accused me of being responsible for the recent killing of some pastoralists at Akwanaja, Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State via a bomb attack.
“They tried to link the Benue State Livestock Guards with the killings, claiming that the pastoralists were bombed on their way from Benue to Nasarawa after they had retrieved their cattle.
“The group maliciously accused me of carrying out genocide against pastoralists. Sanusi did not stop at that.
“He made a video in Hausa in which he maligned me and called on all Fulanis to consider me as their enemy,” the governor said. (NAN)