Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has decried the incessant bloodshed in the state following the recurring herdsmen attacks on farmers.
He spoke yesterday at St. Bernard Primary School, Ugwu-Okpoga, Okpokwu Local Government Area, at the burial of 26 victims of herdsmen attacks in Omusu and Okana communities.
Ortom reiterated his call on security agencies to arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, whom he said were the sponsors of the attacks, following the statements credited to them.
The governor also reiterated that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law had come to stay, noting that there was no land for open grazing and crop farming to go on concurrently.
He assured the people that his administration would continue to respond swiftly to security challenges, adding that data was being gathered for compensation plans.
Deputy Governor Benson Abouno; Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly James Okefe; Rev. Fr. John Attah (who represented Bishop Apochi), among others, thanked Ortom for his support to the bereaved families. They also pledged their support for the ranching law.
In his sermon, state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. Akpen Leva prayed God to grant the governor and the people the strength to overcome the menace.
The government has directed its Ministry of Finance to appoint a registered auctioneer to auction livestock confiscated in violation of the Anti-Open Grazing Law 2017.
The Commissioner for Information, Lawrence Onoja, briefed reporters after the state Executive Council meeting yesterday.
Onoja said the animals were confiscated from their owners for violating the subsisting law against open grazing, adding that they were given till March 19 to pay stipulated fines to the Ministry of Agriculture to claim their animals or risk them to auctioning as from March 20.
The council approved the release of N261 million as counterpart fund for International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) programme, and also approved the constitution of the state Debt Management Committee.