14th August, 2022
Governor Samuel Ortom said he is ready to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague to answer charges filed against him by Miyetti Allah.
Alhaji Saleh Alhassan, the secretary-general of Miyetti Allah had contacted the ICC to lodge a complaint against the governor.
The governor was accused of seizing 25,000 cows, and arresting and holding more than 4,000 herders.
In response to the accusations, Ortom said, “Tell Miyetti Allah and all of its leadership that I am ready to meet them in court, anywhere”.
The governor said he ensured enforcement of the anti-open grazing law in his capacity as the state’s governor.
According to Ortom, the law was passed in good faith and “remains beneficial to both farmers and herders.”
“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.”