Ortom signs anti-open grazing, kidnapping bills into law
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom yesterday assented to two laws earlier passed by the Benue State House of Assembly, to end herdsmen and farmers crisis and to stop kidnapping, abduction and cultism among other criminal activities.
The laws are; A Law to Prohibit Open Grazing and Rearing of Livestock and provide for the Establishment of Ranches and Livestock Administration, Regulation and Control and for Other Matters Connected Therewith, 2017 and “A (bill for a law to make provision for the prohibition of) Law for Prohibition of Abduction, Hostage Taking, Kidnapping, Secret Cult and Similar Activities in the state and for Purposes connected therewith, 2017.
Performing the ceremony at the Stakeholders meeting held at the Benue People’s House Makurdi, governor Ortom, said the two law are intended to put a stop to criminal activities in the state and bring about peace to create a good atmosphere for investors to invest in the state.
Part of the penalties of the law for prohibition of kidnapping, abduction cultism and hostage taking among others as read by the governor, says ‘Anyone who kidnap, abduct, or unlawfully detain another person, if convicted small be sentenced to death.
He also said any persons who willfully allow his premises or one has control over to be used in keeping persons taken hostage shall be liable to death in conviction.
According the governor, the law also prevent the voluntary hostage for the purpose of demanding Ransome, fraud or with the intention to compel another person to do or refrain from doing an act, or who engages in cultism shall, if found guilty, such a person shall be liable to ten (10) years imprisonment without an option of fine.
He noted that the Anti- open grazing law will will put an end to the herdsmen/farmers crisis and will allow for better way of animal husbandry.
“With the signing of the anti- open grazing bill, we are not saying Fulani people should leave Benue, but they can stay and ranch their cattle.” The law does not apply only to Fulani people but even indigenes who keep livestock must have to ranch their animals also,” he noted.
He said the law provided that any person found moving livestock on foot within or across urban centre, rural settlements or any part of the state commits an offence and is liable to, for the first offender, N500, 000 fine or one year imprisonment or both and for the second offender, N1 million fine or three years imprisonment or both.
The law also provides 3 or 5 years imprisonment or N100K and N500K fine for those who rustle cattle and those who rustle cattle and Maine or injured respectively.