Samuel Ortom, Benue governor, says the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has accepted to adopt cattle ranching as a solution to the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the state.
The state passed the anti-grazing law in May 2017 and it took effect in November.
The law, among other things, prohibits the movement of livestock on foot within the state.
Since its implementation, it has generated controversy among the parties involved. Miyetti Allah had rejected the law, describing it as a time bomb.
But Ortom, in an interview with Vanguard, said MACBAN has finally accepted it.
“I think that, in Benue, we are winning because Miyetti Allah and MACABAN have accepted that ranching remains the best option to rear cattle,” Ortom said.
“And we commend them and we will work with them to see how our law can wear human face to ensure that we have a win-win for all.
“The 20 million cattle in Nigeria cannot cope with open grazing…So, we must adopt global best practices and modern ways of animal husbandry. This will go a long way in helping us.”
Asked if there has been any improvement in the security situation in the state since President Muhammadu Buhari visited, Ortom said some arrests have been made.
“Well, there have some killings in flash points by these militia groups but security men are doing their best and some arrests have been made by them,” he said.
“I believe we will overcome at the end of the day. If not for the presence of security men, the situation would have really been worse than what we have today.”
Commenting on the statement by Theophilus Danjuma, ex-army chief, who asked Nigerians to defend themselves against killers, Ortom said he was misinterpreted.
He said self-defence does not necessarily have to involve the use of arms.
“I am not sure that if you listened to him very well. It is a misrepresentation of what the former minister said,” he said.
“He did not tell anybody to take up arms. He only said that people should defend themselves. You can use a stick to disarm someone. Of course, you know that self-preservation is the first law of nature.
“You can’t just wait in your house and allow someone to come and kill you. You can resist the person, but you don’t necessarily need to have arms and I think that that was what the former army chief and defence minister was saying, that there is need for people to rise to defend themselves but not necessarily using weapons that are banned.
“Security matters should not be left in the hands of security men, it requires every one of us to put heads together and be courageous to be able to surmount it.”