A cross section of Benue residents have applauded the anti-open grazing and kidnapping bills recently passed into law by Governor Ortom led administration.
The two executive bills signed into law by Governor Ortom recently were; adoption, hostage taking, kidnapping, secret cult and similar offences as well as open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law, 2017.
To make the laws more efficient and effective are the stringent penalties attached to them which, according to residents of the state, are ‘capable of nipping in the bud, the serial killings occasioned by herdsmen invasion as well as the recent increase in kidnap cases across the state.’
The anti-open grazing law provides that anyone who engages in open grazing in Benue State and on conviction will now be liable to five years imprisonment, the law provides for monetary compensation in case of any damage to a property and imprisonment of two years of the livestock owner or manager in case of injury to any person in the state.
“Where such contravention causes the death of any person within the state, the owner or manager of such livestock shall be guilty of an offense of culpable homicide punishable under the penal code law”.
It also provides that anyone who engages in cattle rustling shall be liable on conviction for imprisonment for a term not less than three years or payment of one hundred thousand naira per animal or both.
In the case of kidnapping, anyone whose house is used for unlawful detention and kidnapping if found guilty is liable to death sentence, detonation of explosive instrument within the state will now attract five years imprisonment while anyone found to be a member of secret cult is liable to 10 years jail term without an option of fine.
The law also stated that whoever is found guilty of hostage taking and found guilty would earn 10 years jail term while any act of terrorism attracts punishment of 14 years.
Also, whoever permits his premises to be used for hostage taking, such property will be forfeited to the government, also any threat to the person on kidnapping is liable to seven years jail term.
The new law also stipulates that any public office holder who sponsors kidnapping and found liable will be removed from office and risks three years in jail, it also added that anyone in possession of illegal firearms in the state will and upon conviction be jailed for three years while whoever aids cultism is also liable to three years jail term.
Applauding the anti-open grazing law, Benue socio-cultural groups which cut across the ethnic groups made up of Benue; Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum, and Omi NyIgede, praised the gallant move of Governor Samuel Ortom for signing the bill into law.
The sociocultural groups led by their leaders; Edward Ujege, Adoya Amale and Ode Enyin, President Generals Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny’ Igede respectively in a joint interactive session with newsmen described the law as the only way to halt killings and restore peace in the state and they explained that the anti-grazing law provided succor for both the herders and farmers in the state.