Open grazing law: MACBAN fueling hatred-Otorm’s spokesman

Chief Press Secretary to Benue state governor, Tever Akase has described secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Baba Usman Ngelzarma, as among those fuelling bitter emotions and hatred among pastoralists to embark on killing spree of farmers in Benue state and other parts of the country.

The MACBAN national secretary had during an interview on Channels Television referred as failure, the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue state.

But reacting, Sunday in a statement, Akase said it is on record that the secretary and other officials of the group visited Benue state in 2017 and after a meeting with Governor Samuel Ortom, addressed the media where they pledged support for the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.

He said on that occasion, Ngelzarma who spoke on behalf of the delegation, admitted that with their deeper knowledge of the law during their visit to Benue, it was obvious to MACBAN that the legislation was indeed not targeted at Fulani or any other group.

He said their only appeal was for extension of the November 2017 deadline given for the commencement of implementation and enforcement of the law.

“That the Miyetti Allah mouthpiece now goes to national television to kick against the same law they once described as ‘a win-win for all’ only proves that he is a merchant of crisis and one of those bent on truncating the peace building process in Benue and other states of the federation.

“Miyetti Allah’s anger towards Governor Ortom is well understood.
We expected the MACBAN national secretary and his group to feel frustrated after the governor refused to accept their offer to betray his people and repeal the law in order to attract personal favours from their sponsors.

“Miyetti Allah ought to know that Benue’s law on open grazing has recorded tremendous success since it was enacted.

“Many people who own livestock in the state have ranched their animals, while over 400 law breakers have been arrested with some already tried by competent courts and convicted.

“The utterances of Miyetti Allah confirmed what Governor Ortom has been saying all along that they are responsible for the killing of Benue people.

“Miyetti Allah members are sacred cows who are not only untouchable but who enjoy the protection and patronage of their sponsors, otherwise, they should have since been proscribed and their members put behind bars.”