George Okoh in Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has told cattle owners in the state to ensure that their animals are properly ranched to avoid open grazing or be ready to face sanctions as stipulated by law.
The governor gave the warning yesterday when he sighted a herd of cattle roaming the streets at Iniongun road, Wadata area of Makurdi as he inspected the areas ravaged by flood.
He directed Livestock Guards to immediately impound the animals and take them to the Quarantine Unit, noting that by provisions of the ranching law, the cattle would be auctioned if the owner fails to pay the requisite fines after seven days.
Ortom said the law does not accord preferences to any individual or group, whether or not they are Benue indigenes.
He stated that herders who refuse to keep their livestock in ranches would be prosecuted in accordance with provisions of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017.
He called on Benue people to volunteer information regarding open grazing of animals to Livestock Guards, saying officers and men of the agency could not be everywhere.
The governor also lamented the failure of previous administration to dredge the River Benue which he revealed was the main cause of the flooding in the state, saying the dredging of the River remained the only permanent solution to halt the incessant flooding experienced in the state.
Ortom also decried the release of water from the Lagdo dam in Cameroon, noting that this was responsible for the flood that has displaced thousands of people as well as caused humanitarian problem in parts of the state.
“As you can see, many people have been displaced with nowhere to go. Many houses and properties have been destroyed. We have no option than to open camps to house the displaced persons,” Ortom said.