The Benue State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Michael Gusa, yesterday insisted that the new anti-open grazing law did not violate the country’s constitution.
He made the clarification yesterday in an interview in Makurdi, the state capital, saying those who are opposed to the law were the Fulani herdsmen and others not resident in the state.
He added such people were either ignorant of the provisions of the law or deliberately out to ferment trouble.
Gusa said contrary to insinuations, the law prohibiting open grazing does not in any way violate the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.
He explained that the law only restricts the movement of livestock and not human beings, stressing that the herdsmen in Benue are comfortable with it.
“The law prohibiting the open grazing of livestock is not targeted at any tribe. Many of the herdsmen who want to remain in the state had complied with the law.
“Since the implementation of the law, no Fulani man living in the state has complained, except those in Abuja and other states. When Zamfara State enacted the Sharia law, those who could not live in conformity with it, left the state,” he said.
He pointed out that the herdsmen must live in peace with the farmers or seek alternative abodes, if they cannot restrain their cows from destroying crops.
He said prior to the enactment of the law, the herdsmen killed many people in the state and forced others to relocate to safer areas to avoid invasion.
The attorney general stressed that the law is in the best interest of the state and the country, adding that it would reduce skirmishes between the farmers and herdsmen.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Logo Local Council Area, Richard Nyajo, has raised the alarm of an attack on farmers and raping of women by suspected herdsmen.
He told The Guardian yesterday in Makurdi, that the marauding herdsmen attacked not less than six settlements, resulting in the death of one person while several others sustained varying degree of injuries.
According to him, a middle-aged woman was raped on Monday when suspected herdsmen attacked Tsekaefir community, adding that five persons have been hospitalised at Ayilamo settlement area.
He urged the governor to order the deployment of soldiers in the area. When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Moses Yamu, said he was yet to be briefed on the development.