Military To Clampdown On Violators Of Benue Grazing Law 

Benue State

The military has vowed to clamp down on herdsmen who are violating the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranch Establishment Law. 

The Force Commander of the military spike operation, codenamed Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia, sounded the warning Wednesday during a media briefing by the Benue State Security Council in Makurdi. 

Gen. Igbinomwanhia explained that the action became necessary after the expiration of the two-week ultimatum issued to armed and non-armed herdsmen operating in the state, which expired two days ago. 

He said, “The Governor and members of the Security Council gave that leverage to herders who are grazing openly and those of them illegally bearing arms to withdraw from the state. 

“A seven-man committee was set up by the Council and was mandated to find out modalities for the implementation of the kinetic aspect if they fail to withdraw. 

“While the committee was sitting, we received a lot of reports from our people that lots of compliance has been made in respect of the withdrawal of the herders, especially those grazing openly and those bearing illegal arms. 

“But that notwithstanding, the state government has decided to have this briefing to note that the grace period for the non-kinetic approach elapsed yesterday. And I am assuring you that the security agencies, OPWS, and other security agencies operating within the state will implement the full directive of the state. 

“While this ultimatum was on, OPWS also conducted clearance operations in a place like Kwande Local Government Area, LGA, because some specific criminals invaded that local government and were causing mayhem. OPWS has brought normalcy to that local government. 

“For those who refuse to abide by the ultimatum and are still grazing openly, they must know that the 14 days are over. Anyone who refuses to abide by the law, whatever meets him or her, they call for it.” 

Earlier, the Deputy Governor, Dr Sam Ode, informed that the committee set up to review the disengagement and withdrawal of armed herdsmen from the state, headed by Gen. Igbinomwanhia, had submitted its report. 

He said the committee noted that over the last two weeks, there has been a peaceful withdrawal of some herdsmen, especially after the security agencies carried out some peaceful operations to ensure their withdrawal. 

He pointed out that the law was not targeting anyone, stressing, “But if you contravene the law, no matter who you are, your status, or where you come from, the full weight of the law will be brought to bear heavily on you.” 

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