August 14, (THEWILL) – On Saturday, Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, promised to appear at the International Criminal Court (ICC), at the Hague, to answer charges on the 25,000 cows his administration allegedly seized from the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.
Ortom stated this in a release by his special assistant on media, Nathaniel Ikyur.
Miyetti Allah, through its secretary general, Alhaji Saleh Alhassan, claimed to have approached ICC at The Hague to file charges against Governor Ortom, who allegedly seized 25,000 cows, as well as the arrest and detention of over 4,000 herders.
Ortom expressed his readiness to meet them at ICC, saying, “Tell Miyetti Allah and all its leadership that I am ready to meet them in court, anywhere.”
According to him, as the governor of the state, he was executing a law enacted in the state. He said the law was enacted in good faith and “it remains a win-win for the herders and farmers.
“Unfortunately, what we see is that the terrorists come with the sole intention to take over our ancestral lands and not to graze”, he said.
The governor said the passage of the law was part of measures to end the invasion by the armed Fulani herdsmen and halt farmers/herders’ clashes in the state.
He said, “The implementation of the law banning open grazing of cattle in the state is irrevocable. Let those who are threatening to take me to court understand that every law is meant to be obeyed.
“For the avoidance of doubts, Benue people agreed for the law to be implemented. We are, therefore, enforcing the law.
“And anybody willing to do business in the state must abide by the law. I have done what is right and legitimate to protect my people from further killings. That is what constitutional democracy demands.
“Instead of Miyetti Allah directing their members who wish to live and do business in Benue State to abide by the law, they have continued to sponsor acts of terror against Benue people, killing and destroying properties worth billions of naira.
“As we speak, over two million of our Benue people live as refugees in IDP camps.
“It is laughable to say that Benue State officials of the Livestock Guards go into Taraba or Nasarawa States to impound cattle. We know the boundaries between Benue and other states.
“As such, our officials do not go outside of the state boundaries to make any arrests of herds of cattle that violate our laws.”