The Benue State government today impounded 105 cows and four sheep that were reported grazing openly within the vicinity of Akawe Torkula College of Advanced and Professional Studies, Markudi along with the herder, Mr Kunje Saija who was arrested for flouting the Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law of the state.
The Commandant of the Benue Livestock Guards, Mr Linus Zaki, told IPN that the herdsman will be prosecuted in accordance to the provisions of the Grazing Law, while the cattle will be in the possession of the state government for seven days and thereafter released to the owner if the required fines are paid or auctioned off if the fines are not paid.
Why it matters: It is a concrete sign that the Government of Ortom recognises the fact that the herdsmen issue is a winning one for it. Thus it must do whatever it has to do to keep it on the front burner in the countdown to the election. It also knows that its foe Miyetti Allah is bound to turn this into a cause celebre. Ortom wins whenever there is a spat between him and the Miyetti Allah. The Benue people hates Miyetti Allah more than they hate Ortom.
The Big Picture: It sends a message to the Federal Government that Benue is ready to enforce its laws, however, in the short term, it may make Benue susceptible to attacks from the militia arm of the herdsmen operation and therefore Ortom must take further measure to protect the people.